MARCH 2024: (GREEN) Our Town Gwinnett/Walton Monthly Magazine

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GWINNETT Our Town Grayson Dacula Lawrenceville Snellville Loganville Gwinnett/Walton Community & Family Magazine MARCH 2024
Hospital, see story on page 5.
Up Close with Brookwood Animal
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March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 3 678-861-8693 Scan Me TRANSPORT
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On the Cover:

Brookwood Animal Hospital: Finding Care for Your Furry Family Members

Pet owners know that giving their furriest family members the best care is essential. But how do you choose the right veterinarian? Finding a vet who knows animals is key, but it isn’t the only thing that matters. You need a vet who truly values you and your pets and is committed to giving your dogs, cats, and everything in between all the care they need, from vaccines to belly rubs.

That’s why so many pet owners in Snellville and the surrounding area are turning to Brookwood Animal Hospital. Led by Dr. Jenny Reesman, the team at Brookwood Animal Hospital is all about keeping your pets healthy, happy, and ready to keep you company for years to come.

Dr. Reesman, a Gwinnett native, has known since she was a child that she wanted to work with animals. While attending Brookwood High School, she had the opportunity to work with Dr. Yeomans, who owned Brookwood Animal Hospital at the time. Through this experience, Dr. Reesman truly saw all aspects of what it meant to provide vet care and gained an invaluable understanding of both the highs and lows of caring for animals.

Driven by her love for these furry friends and a desire to increase her knowledge in the veterinary field, Dr. Reesman pursued a career as a vet and, four-anda-half years ago, bought Brookwood Animal Hospital, the same place she had earned so much experience as a high school student.

“I’m the ‘other’ family doctor,” said Dr. Reesman of her role in a pet owner’s life. “I love what I do, and part of my job is to educate each client on the best ways they can care for their animals.”

For instance, Dr. Reesman is passionate about providing preventative care for each of her patients, in addition to offering education to her human clients on why preventative care matters so much. Dental checkups, heartworm medication, regular vaccinations – these are just a few of the topics that Dr. Reesman

and her team often find themselves speaking about to clients to convey the urgency of how important these steps are for the health of the pet and the family as a whole.

Dr. Reesman has also observed that the practice sees fewer cats come in for preventative care. While many cats live indoors only and can often seem low-maintenance when it comes to health, Dr. Reesman urges all cat owners to make – and keep – regular checkups for their feline friends to ensure that any issues are caught quickly and addressed as soon as possible.

In addition to providing excellent medical care for your pet, Dr. Reesman and her team also value creating genuine relationships with each client and getting to know both you and your pets.

“I grew up in this area, and I love being part of the same community that my business is in,” said Dr. Reesman. “Gwinnett County has grown so much, but our office really strives to keep that small-town feel and grow and maintain personal relationships with each of our clients. I treasure each one of those relationships.”

Dr. Reesman’s love for her hometown is also evident in the way she gives back to the community. As a former student of Brookwood High School, Dr. Reesman and her practice work to give back to local schools, especially female athletes at

Continued on page 8

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 5
3050 Amwiler Road Suite 200-C Atlanta, GA 30360 167 Lee Street Jefferson, GA 30549 CIVIL • CRIMINAL ESTATE PLANNING & WILLS 404-228-2629 Email:

Our Town

Gwinnett/Walton Community & Family Magazine

— An EndResultz Media Company

Our Town Gwinnett is published and direct mailed to select homes in the Gwinnett/Walton 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.


Dr. Ryan T. Sauers

Creative Director

Elsie Olson


Catherine L. Osornio



Emil Powella

Holly Cooks Cover Story Feature Writer

Kristen Eleveld

Feature Writers

Victoria R. Crosby

Tana Poncsak

Traci Sanders

Contributing Writers

Bill Crane

James D. Elliott

Terie Hansen

Tanisha Turner

Pam Walker

5 On the Cover: Brookwood Animal Hospital: Finding Care for Your Furry Family Members

7 From the Publisher: Ryan’s Remarks

8 Learning Lessons: How to Bring Out the Natural Scientist in Your Baby or Toddler

9 Legal Talk: Don’t Lose by Default!

11 Boosting Business in Gwinnett with Jon Lockin

11 Beyond the Ribbon Provides for Support through Cancer Treatment and Beyond

12 Experience Snellville: Catching Up with Snellville Tourism & Trade

13 Catch up on Wedding Trends with Vecoma at the Yellow River

14 County Spotlight: Growth in Gwinnett

14 Quiet…A Word for Your Day

14 Spring Gardening Tips

15 Key Steps to Healthy Aging

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

17 Travel Tales: Are You Ready?

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

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Photography Distribution Coordinator

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 ( 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

Brookwood High School.

“As soon as I had something to give back, I knew I wanted it to go to Brookwood,” said Dr. Reesman. “I want to encourage young girls to build their confidence and become strong women who can reach their goals.”

Dr. Reesman also donates to the Robotics programs at Brookwood High School and Five Forks Middle School. This is a cause especially important to her, as each of her three children participate in Robotics teams through their schools. Dr. Reesman is hoping to promote and support STEAM opportunities for students through the donations her practice gives each year.

If you are looking for a veterinary practice that will love your pet like their own, develop a meaningful relationship with you as a client, and is run by the best vet team in Snellville, look no further. You’ve found it all at Brookwood Animal Hospital. Give them a call at (770) 979-0089 to find out why this vet will truly care for your pet as part of the family.

More information at

Learning Lessons: How to Bring Out the Natural Scientist in Your Baby or Toddler

The early years of a child’s life are consumed by a desire to explore and experiment with objects. Well-known developmental psychologist Jean Piaget fittingly called young children “natural scientists” because of this inclination. By tapping into children’s tendency to explore and discover, parents, teachers, and other adults in children’s lives can actually help nurture and extend their learning.

From the moment babies enter the world, their curiosity sparks a need to observe and classify objects and actions. Their brains actually change as a result of the new things they learn. As children continue to grow and explore, new discoveries help them enrich, modify, reorganize – and sometimes replace – their initial theories with quite different ideas. This type of hands-on learning explains why a child may scrutinize a new object in an effort to figure out how it works, or experiment with sound and movement as she learns how to use her body to communicate.

“Children need safe environments where they can experiment freely and take risks without the fear of being told, ‘That’s not how you’re supposed to do that,’” says Tanisha Turner, Franchise Owner of Primrose School at Sugarloaf Parkway. “When we support children’s natural tendency to try things out, we are cheering them on to discover and tackle new challenges creatively. This is an important step in helping them build determination and confidence in their own abilities.” Adults can encourage infants and toddlers to explore and learn in simple and fun ways. Primrose recommends the following activities to bring out the natural scientist in young children:

• Give your baby colorful, safe objects that he can examine by looking, feeling, tasting, and smelling.

• Talk to your baby, providing a play-by-play of everything he does. This commentary helps babies organize and understand what’s around them.

• Fill a large shallow bowl with water and provide your infant with simple scooping tools for endless exploration and fun. You can do this in the bathtub as well.

• Fill a large bowl or shallow tub with dry beans, rice, or sand. Your child will enjoy sifting this material through his fingers, picking it up, and pouring it out. Be sure to keep a close eye on your little one to make sure he doesn’t try to eat any of it. Some dried beans can be a choking hazard for children.

• Make “cloud dough” with flour and cooking oil (8 parts flour to 1 part oil). It feels powdery like flour one moment and then moldable like damp sand the next. It’s easy to make and the unique texture will amuse your child to no end. Learning through play and exploration allows young children to investigate topics that interest them in more depth. And, offering safe and supportive environments for little ones to explore in helps them develop into well-rounded, creative learners. Create opportunities for your child to experiment with new objects, textures, or other phenomena on a regular basis. The crib, playroom, bathtub, and backyard are all excellent laboratories for young children!

Tanisha Turner is the Owner of Primrose School at Sugarloaf Parkway. More information at or call 770-513-0066.

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Animal Hospital Continued
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Legal Talk: Don’t Lose by Default!

I was sitting in a metro Atlanta county court about a week before Christmas of 2023. As the judge was calling cases, I noticed that nearly half were in default, which is a bad place to be. A case enters default when the person being sued, called the defendant, does not file an Answer on time or if their Answer fails to comply with applicable laws and court rules.

An Answer in a civil case is a formal response to the plaintiff’s complaint. When you are sued, you have a limited amount of time to file your Answer. That time limit can be as short as seven days. While there are other requirements when filing your Answer, meeting the filing deadline is a must to avoid default. If your case enters default, you may face some rather harsh consequences, including having a judgment

entered against you.

Having a default judgment entered basically means that the court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. You can suffer a default judgment even if you could have won the case.

The only way to avoid default is by filing your Answer on time and according to the law and rules of the court. However, there are times where you may be able to get out of default in a case, including filing an Answer shortly after the deadline and you having a good reason for not answering in time. Ultimately, if you do not file an Answer on time, it is up to the judge to allow you to file late and come out of default.

If you are being sued, besides choosing the right attorney, you need to make sure you file your Answer in a timely manner and in accordance with the law. Please feel free to contact us and see how we can help.

James Elliott is an Associate Attorney at the law firm of Weinstein & Black. More information at or call (404) 228-2629.

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 9
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Boosting Business in Gwinnett with Jon Lockin

Comedian Jon Lockin is the founder of Road Comics of America, a community of over 1,700 comedians from all across the United States who support one another. He also founded Comedy Carousel where he helps local businesses increase revenue by booking comedy shows in their establishments.

Jon got his start as a comedian in Denver, but decided to take his show on the road and ended up falling in love with New Orleans, where he stayed for a few years using the marketing and business skills he acquired during his college career at Georgia Southern. He helped a company called Mississippi River Bottom get set up and grow their platform by producing several successful comedy shows in their venue.

But how did a comedian go from headlining comedy shows to becoming a marketing and business growth consultant for companies?

Jon had been in the comedy business for a while and had made some great connections with club owners, DJs, fellow comedians, and other key players in the entertainment industry. He even created his own open mic night during his time in Denver.

As Jon gained more behind-the-scenes experience in these productions, he realized just how corrupt the industry was and that comedians were getting the short end of the stick.

“Comedy is a very cut-throat business,” he said. “Many clubs operate on cannibalism, in my opinion, which creates a lot of jealousy over gigs, unfortunately.”

These club owners will tout the chance for “exposure” to amateur comics and pay them little to nothing for their time. Meanwhile, the club is profiting from the extra people who show up to the comedy shows and purchase alcohol and food. The comedians see little to none of that profit.

“In fact,” Jon said, “in that romanticized view of ‘exposure,’ club owners film the comedians’ performances and then try to charge them $20 for a copy of their own show!” Jon laughed as he shared, “I suffer from something called Oppositional Defiance Disorder. I don’t like authority.”

He wanted to buck the system and help performers book more gigs that paid real money for their time. He began researching everything he could about how to promote gigs in person and on social media, connect with club owners to book gigs, and provide an enjoyable experience that people would be willing to purchase tickets for.

Beyond the Ribbon Provides for Support through Cancer Treatment and Beyond

A cancer diagnosis can affect more than a patient’s health. It can also affect a patient’s mental well-being, finances, family, and many other areas of life. No one knows this better than Bobbie Menneg.

As a twelve-year breast cancer survivor, Bobbie understands firsthand what it means to hear those dreaded words, “You have cancer,” and all that follows. Once done with treatments, Bobbie volunteered with several existing and big named organizations. And although they are all great organizations, she realized something was missing. Through her volunteer work, she noticed just how huge the need for helping those with cancer really is.

Inside the Road Comics of America community, Jon also created resources such as Hitting the Highway chat, where members can share upcoming gig information and set up collaborations or offer recommendations, such as where to stay during an out-of-town gig.

Road Dog Roundup is a program where comedians can ride-share for companionship or to bounce ideas and jokes off one another on the way to gigs.

Venue Hit List is a resource Jon provides to the members of his community that outlines cities with high concentrations of live music venues. “We currently have approximately 400 venues that span sixteen major US cities,” Jon explained. All the members of Road Comics of America have access to this.

Crash Pads and Couch Surfers is a community of comedians who provide lodging accommodations for fellow comics on the road.

In addition to boosting careers for his fellow comedians, Jon helps small businesses – such as those in Gwinnett County – boost revenue.

Jon visits local business owners to see if their venues could accommodate a decent-sized production. If so, he leaves his portfolio with the business owner or schedules a meeting to discuss how he could help them increase revenue by allowing Jon to book a show there. He casts the vision of how a comedy show can allow the business to increase its ROI (Return On Investment) by showing them models of previous shows he has produced.

“I work for what’s called ‘a guarantee,’ meaning the business owner guarantees a minimum of the fee we agree on, and any revenue above and beyond that, that derives from a show – such as proceeds from food and alcohol – goes to the business owner,” Jon said.

Sometimes, for an extra financial boost, he’ll ask the business owner if he can handle all the ticket sales and promotions for the show, from which he keeps the proceeds.

“It all depends on how the business owner wants to structure it,” Jon added. “They can be as involved as they choose, but I handle the digital billboards, the video marketing and editing, booking and compensating the comedians, creating the signage, and the setup and breakdown of equipment.”

As the youngest child in his family, Jon is a natural problem solver who also enjoys helping and entertaining people. He saw a problem in the entertainment space and created a solution – upward mobility that helps comedians earn fair wages for their work and businesses grow their customer base through the integration of live shows.

More information at

go through are lifechanging,” Bobbie says. “There’s more to it than just being a cancer survivor.”

“It’s very hard to find help, and the majority of the time, they will only help with rent and utilities,” Bobbie says. “Going through treatment, there’s a whole lot more to it. There are prescriptions, copays, rides to your treatment, cell phone bills, auto insurance…” And to add to these expenses, some patients aren’t able to work. This is why she started the nonprofit called Beyond the Ribbon Inc. The meaning behind the name Beyond the Ribbon is more about after the treatments. What happens then? “A cancer diagnosis and the treatments you

As a survivor herself, Bobbie knows how hard a person fights when given a cancer diagnosis, and she also understands that their life changes with the diagnosis as well. “Learning how to live with it makes life easier,” she says. And it’s through Beyond the Ribbon that she can be there for them and offer help and support as cancer patients go through their journey.

Beyond the Ribbon Inc is a nonprofit organization with a mission to advocate for support and resources that go beyond a cancer diagnosis and to educate, inspire hope, cultivate awareness, and empower individuals throughout their journey and beyond.

The organization provides help in tangible ways when patients need it most. Through the organization, Bobbie works directly with the social workers at the hospitals and the infusion centers, so she knows the patients need help. And being a small organization, she has the unique ability to provide the help they need relatively quickly. “They send me a copy of their bill, and I go online and pay it,” she says. “That’s very helpful to them.” To the patient and family, it can bring some much-needed relief during what’s already a very stressful time.

Bobbie is very hands on when it comes to helping those who are fighting

Continued on page 17

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 11

Experience Snellville: Catching Up with Snellville Tourism & Trade

It’s no secret that the city of Snellville has become one of the top cities in Gwinnett, evolving into a community that allows its residents and neighbors to experience a wide variety of events, restaurants, family activities, businesses, and historical education. These opportunities have been made available as a result of the combined efforts of many local restaurants and businesses, the Snellville Historical Society, and Experience Snellville, the city’s tourism and trade organization. But even with this impressive array of opportunities made available to all who are interested, the team behind Experience Snellville isn’t slowing down any time soon.

Known as Snellville Tourism & Trade Association (STAT) from inception in 2010 to 2021, STAT rebranded in 2021, changing its name to Experience Snellville as a way to promote the experience in all things Snellville. The mission of Experience Snellville is to promote business, tourism, and events in the city.

Executive Director Kelly McAloon says, “Now, in our fourteenth year, we have not only brought a sense of community to Snellville, but have created a destination that people visit from near and far. Snellville is a melting pot of cultures, rich in tradition that brings a magical experience to the community as well as the visitor.”

Kelly, who serves alongside the Experience Snellville Board of Directors – seen on the cover from left to right: Melvin Everson, Traci Leath, Vice President Kurt Schulz, President Don Britt, Alice Snipes, Administrative Assistant Jessica Manis, Treasurer Stephanie McDonald, Deborah

Continued on page 17

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Catch up on Wedding Trends with Vecoma at the Yellow River

Gwinnett County’s own Vecoma at the Yellow River has enjoyed many years earning its reputation as a premier wedding venue, with countless awards and accolades stacking up high as each year passes. While the success of this incredible venue can be attributed to the combination of many factors, including the top-notch team at its helm, one way this venue stands out above the rest is in its commitment to staying on top of popular wedding trends, and advising its clients accordingly.

Co-owner Caroline Tucker works with her team to take note of growing wedding trends and finds new ways to incorporate them into their clients’ weddings. Not only does this add a fun twist on some favorite traditions, but it gives every ceremony that unique feel that each couple brings to the table.

couple have also become a new tradition, which makes toasting the newlyweds even more exciting. Drinks like the Apple Cider Margarita, made from silver tequila, triple sec, and cinnamon sugar rum, make up the delicious new combos that clients of Vecoma have gotten to try. And, of course, the small details matter – your drink might be garnished with an apple slice or you may taste a hint of pineapple juice as you sip.

Some traditions don’t change, and Caroline and the team at Vecoma are on board with that, too! Photo booths, which have long been synonymous with weddings, have made a resurgence at many ceremonies in the last few years. Not only is a photo booth a lot of fun, it guarantees you and your guests will have some memories to share for years to come.

As always, the team at Vecoma at the Yellow River wants to make these trends fit your taste – and, of course, your budget. Fortunately, Caroline and her team have become experts at helping you discover a vision that is unique to you and your partner without blowing past your bottom line.

“We’re seeing a lot of wedding parties where brides have ‘men of honor’ and grooms have groomswomen,” said Caroline. “We have also seen a lot of ‘flower dudes’ instead of flower girls!”

Some of these trends, like the adorable flower dudes, must be seen to be fully appreciated. Luckily, Vecoma has some fabulous footage on their Instagram and TikTok for everyone to enjoy – and to take note of for their own future ceremony. Just look for the @vecomaweddings account to follow!

Another fun trend that Caroline and her team have seen is all about standing out from a crowd – a concept that Vecoma at the Yellow River has certainly mastered. Bridesmaids will wear different colors for their dresses, for instance, allowing each bridesmaid to wear the color that best suits her as well as adding a fun twist to the overall color scheme. Specialty drinks that are unique to the

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Vecoma is active on their website and their social media, displaying photos of recent weddings, decorating ideas, and planning tips, which will provide you plenty of inspiration as you work to plan your own ceremony. Every wedding is a unique, tailored experience at Vecoma at the Yellow River, so the only thing stopping you is your own imagination. Let your ideas run wild and give Vecoma at the Yellow River a call to find out how they can turn your plans into that perfect ceremony.

While Vecoma is known for its beautiful location and knowledgeable staff that makes it ideal for weddings, the venue runs the gamut when it comes to celebrations or events. Corporate meetings, milestone birthdays – if you have a reason to celebrate, Vecoma can help. Last year they worked with a client to plan a 100th birthday celebration, with another 100th birthday celebration on the books for a client in 2024. So even if you don’t need to plan a wedding, Vecoma can still make your celebration one to remember. Just head to their website or give them a call at (770) 972-6540 to ask how they can turn your event into a memory that will last a lifetime.

More information at, Instagram and TikTok: @vecomaweddings

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 13

County Spotlight: Growth in Gwinnett

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners acted on several initiatives during their January 16, 2024 meeting. Here’s a recap of what they approved: Singleton Park will support active lifestyles

Commissioners gave the green light to build Singleton Park and Greenway in unincorporated Norcross. The new 1.58-acre park will meet the community’s diverse needs and preferences with recreational and accessibility features including open leisure spaces, a playground, multi-modal trail, shade structures and a Ride Gwinnett stop. F.S. Scarborough, LLC, was awarded the $6.3 million contract. Project funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, a Governor’s Office grant, SPLOST, and a CARES Act Community Development Block Grant. Hurricane Shoals Road scores eco-friendly paving upgrade

Sustainable materials will be used to pave Hurricane Shoals Road with the help of a $250,000 Solid Waste Trust Fund grant. This state fund supports sustainability efforts by local governments, including repaving projects that incorporate recycled tires into asphalt. The result is durable roadways that also have the benefit of reducing solid waste. To date, the Department of Transportation has used the tire rubber mixture to repave more than eleven miles of roadway in Gwinnett.

Water Resources wins Green Infrastructure Challenge

The Department of Water Resources won the Ferguson Waterworks Green Infrastructure Challenge for local governments. The award consists of materials valued at $50,000 plus in-kind technical support for the design and installation of watershed improvements in two highly visible areas of the Water Resources Central Facility. The project will reduce existing surface drainage issues, improve water quality, and provide educational opportunities to visitors and employees.

Sewer projects expand capacity

Commissioners approved two gravity sewer contracts to JDS, Incorporated. The first is a $6.8 million project to install a gravity sewer interceptor and sewer force main that will connect the Little Suwanee Creek pump station currently under construction to the Rock Springs interceptor. The force main and gravity sewer will carry wastewater from the new pump station, providing capacity for development along Buford Drive in northern Gwinnett County and diverting existing flows from the downstream sewer interceptor that is nearing capacity.

The second project is a $21.5 million investment that will expand the Wolf Creek interceptor, upgrading two miles of gravity sewer along the Chattahoochee River from Simpsonwood Park to Jones Bridge Park in Peachtree Corners. The current 20-inch diameter sewer is nearing capacity and will be increased to a 36-inch diameter pipe to accommodate future development in western Gwinnett County.

More information at

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…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” (

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.

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

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. 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.

If you’re looking to add some color to your garden, consider planting some

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.

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Key Steps to Healthy Aging

As you age, your health needs change. Staying on top of senior wellness activities is important, but it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Creating a list of health and wellness to-do’s can help you stay organized, so you look and feel your best.

“Aging well is living well, and it all starts with a combination of activities that can improve our mental and physical well-being,” says Dr. Scott Kaiser, chief executive officer of Determined Health and a physician specializing in geriatric medicine. “Although health and wellness may seem to get increasingly complicated with age, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. A few simple – and fun – steps can keep us on the healthy aging path. By taking a proactive approach and prioritizing health, seniors can live their best life.”

Kaiser shares a simple senior-health checklist to help keep you or a loved one focused on wellness:

1) Annual physical: Everyone’s health is different. Even if you see specialists for certain conditions, it’s typically recommended to get an annual physical with your primary physician. This is an opportunity for important health screenings that may include tests to evaluate blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, bone density, and more. It’s also a good time for you to ask any questions and discuss concerns.

2) Vaccinations: Staying current on recommended vaccinations can help you stay healthy and limit the spread of disease. When cold and flu season arrives, be sure to ask your doctor about getting an influenza vaccine. The risk of severe illness from COVID also increases with age. COVID vaccines are safe and effective in preventing severe illness and you can help protect yourself and the people around you by getting vaccinated.

3) Physical activity: All seniors eligible for Medicare benefits through a Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or group retiree plan may be eligi-

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 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.

ble to join SilverSneakers at no additional cost and have access to live and on-demand virtual workouts, including nearly 2,000 activities and classes per week in a variety of lengths and formats.

4) Social connection: Maintaining friendships and connecting with others is an important component to supporting physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Set up coffee with friends. Join community groups. Check out social engagement opportunities through programs that feature working out with a group of peers to build friendships and community.

5) Mental health: Although prioritizing mental health is now more widely accepted, it still can be a challenge for older adults to admit they need help. Talk with your doctor about how you feel and about mental health concerns you may have. There are many ways to help with a variety of mental health concerns, including mindfulness techniques to reduce anxiety, seeing a therapist, and taking medication.

6) Mental enrichment: Cognitive decline can occur as you age, so it’s important to be proactive to help support brain health through mental stimulation. Read books. Join a weekly game group. Check out GetSetUp, new for SilverSneakers members in participating health plans. This program provides an online learning platform designed for seniors with a wide range of live video classes – over 2,000 hours per week on more than 1,800 topics – to support mental enrichment.

7) Nutrition: What you eat fuels your body and mind, so it’s important to pack your pantry and refrigerator with wholesome foods. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, beans, and low-fat dairy. Then explore recipes you can try to experience new flavors and keep mealtime exciting. If you need help or have strict dietary concerns, consider working with a nutritionist for additional guidance.

Doesn’t it feel good to check a few things off your list? For more ideas on how seniors can stay active and connected, visit (BPT)

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-million-acre 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

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 15
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Travel Tales: Are You Ready?

May of next year (2025) will be a big one for travelers, domestically and internationally. May 7th is the date that you will need a REAL ID from our US government, meaning that you will not be allowed on any form of domestic transportation in the US – plane, cruise ship, bus, or train – without this form of ID.

If you have a driver’s license, it must have a little star in the upper right-hand corner to be compliant. Otherwise, you will have to board with a passport or other legal form of ID. See this website for more info on that one: https://

On the same date, to go to Europe or any of the Schengen countries, you will need an ETAIS travel authorization. ETIAS stands for European Travel Informational and Authorization System, and you will need it to enter thirty countries in the Schengen area of Europe. See the countries involved in the photo above. The ETIAS document will cost (at this time) about $7.50 and will be valid for 3 years. Just be prepared, because if you don’t have it, you won’t be allowed on the plane when you go to check-in. application/

This is happening because not only our country, but also the world over is suffering from illegal immigration. These new forms of ID have been established as an effort to increase security.

With illegal immigration, there is an increased threat of terrorism. Whether this will make a difference to those of us who are legitimate travelers is yet to be seen. The hope is that those arrivals (736 “bad actors” in 2023 just coming to the US) will be stopped before they get here. It doesn’t account for those coming across our frontiers from Mexico and Canada.

So be prepared if you are planning any travel, domestically or internationally, next year! I am sure that the issuing entities will be swamped with applications by January of 2025, so start early!

Pam Walker is a Virtuoso Travel Advisor and owner of Walker Adventures More information at

Experience Snellville

Continued from page 12

Jones, Executive Director Kelly McAloon, Richelle Brown, and Liz Jackson. Not pictured are Secretary Kathy Emanuel and Jared Eakins – was appointed by the mayor and city council in 2010 as one of the first five board members to serve on the newly created Snellville Tourism and Trade Association board. She served on the board as vice-president for two years before being asked to become the executive director in 2012. Kelly handles all the day-to-day business of the organization, creates and produces all the events, works with businesses in the community, and produces the Snellville Spirit magazine.

The team at Experience Snellville has a passion for not just making their community look great or hosting events that everyone will love – though they have accomplished both of these goals in spades – but to create a genuine community that fosters friendships, grows businesses, and allows its residents and visitors to be a true part of creating their community.

Another community favorite, headed up by Council Member Gretchen Schulz and STAT Board member Kurt Schulz, with assistance from Administrative Assistant Jessica Manis, is the award-winning Snellville Farmers Market, which takes place every first and third Saturday of each month at the Snellville City Hall parking lot from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Known for the wide variety of fresh produce, eggs, and meat, the market is also a favorite for those community members who are furry with four legs, as they can often find a treat to enjoy for themselves.

“Snellville is a melting pot of diversity and offers something for everyone,” says Kelly. “Beyond the events and Farmers’ Market lies the everyday charm that the city offers. With the second largest shopping area in Gwinnett County, you can pretty much find anything you need without leaving Snellville.”

Looking ahead, Snellville residents are particularly excited about The Grove, a development that will offer 50,000 square feet of retail, 288 multi-family luxury apartments, and a 25,000 square-foot, two floor Market Building with unique event space. Once completed in 2024, The Grove will be home to many favorite restaurants, like Parkside at the Grove, Great American Cookie Company, and Marble Slab Creamery.

In the meantime, residents can enjoy the newly-built Elizabeth H. Williams Library, a state-of-the-art library with a second-floor housing THRIVE/

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

Co-working which will serve as an Atlanta-based hybrid workspace. Or they might head over to Briscoe Park, which has become a favorite place to celebrate family reunions and a great place for sporting events or tournaments.

Whatever you decide to do in Snellville, there will be no shortage of opportunities. And you can even help make those opportunities happen by becoming a volunteer with Experience Snellville. As Kelly says, volunteers are the heart of the city, and interested residents or neighbors can visit experiencesnellville. com to find out more.

Whether you are hoping to learn some history by stopping by the Snellville Historical Society, enjoy the beautiful new library, or sample some of the best cuisine in the southeast, Snellville has everything you need. Head over today to be part of the experience of Snellville!

More information at

Beyond the Ribbon

Continued from page 11

against cancer – from helping pay bills to going to the store for a patient and picking up a few things they need. “It’s very personal,” Bobbie says. “I try very hard to meet everyone, but if I can’t meet them, we’ll talk on the phone. A lot of them are family to me now.” And if for any reason Bobbie isn’t available herself, she has volunteers who can step in and take on the task.

While some of the help Bobbie is able to provide through Beyond the Ribbon is financial, she stresses that one of her goals is to help those going through treatment as a connector – teaching them to be their own advocate and just being there for them. “It’s okay to need help,” she says. “And to have someone who has been through that journey and who understands that journey, is so impactful to them. It helps them to feel better and to be able to face another day.”

Beyond the Ribbon is not limited by gender or by the type of cancer diagnosis. In fact, Bobbie realizes finding help through organizations for some types of cancer can be difficult. As a connector, she knows the kind of cancer each person she helps has, and she tries to connect them with those who have or have had the same kind of cancer, so they can support one another.

More information at

March 2024 Our Town Gwinnett PAGE 17
PAGE 18 Become an Advertising Partner: Info@OurTown or 678-825-2049 Take action now to plan for your financial future. Call 770.931.1414 or visit 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 | 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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