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NOVEMBER 2019 Gwinnett/Walton Community & Family Magazine


Grayson Dacula Loganville Lawrenceville

Up Close with M.C. Twinklin’s, see story on page 5.

9 10 12 18

To Remember is to Honor: Gwinnett Co. Veterans Memorial Museum Meet Michelle Green: Grayson High’s Teacher of the Year Catching Up with Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson of Lawrenceville Getting Schooled: McConnell Middle Students to Contact Outer Space

Celebrating each life

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Celebrating each life like no other. Celebrating each life like no other. Celebrating each life like no other. Celebrating each life like no other. No two No of two us are A memorial service should of alike. us are A alike. memorial service should No two ofalike. us are A memorial service should reflect that. Whether your family is in need of immediate reflect that. Whether your family is in need of immediate No two of us are alike. A memorial service should reflect that. Whether your family is in need of immediate service or service interested in planning ahead, you can rely on or service interested in planning ahead, you can rely on reflect that. Whether your family is in need of or interested in planning ahead, you can rely on immediate ®Memorial ® professionals your Dignity professionals to interested help youtocreate a tocreate yourMemorial Dignity help you a create ® professionals service or in planning ahead, you can your Dignity Memorial help you a rely on unique and meaningful send-off. ® unique and meaningful send-off. your Dignity Memorial unique and meaningful send-off. professionals to help you create a unique and meaningful send-off.



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On the Cover: Merry and Bright: How M.C. Twinklin’s is Bringing Us the Christmas Cheer We Crave By Kristen Eleveld The end of the year is coming up fast, and the holiday spirit is starting to hang in the air. If you’re already dreaming of the perfect Christmas tree and decorations, a local store is ready to help you make your dreams a reality. M.C. Twinklin’s is ready and waiting for you in Lilburn – but you should only check it out if you love excellent service, customized ornaments, and a holiday wonderland that is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. Leading her team of merry elves is Cheryl Gaston, who first opened the store with her brother-in-law Mike in 1982. Since 1994, Cheryl has been running the show and creating new Christmas experiences for every holiday season. “I love Christmas, even with all the hustle and bustle,” said Cheryl of what she enjoys about her job. “It brings out the happy and the hope in people.” When you walk into M.C. Twinklin’s, you can expect nothing less than a true Christmas wonderland, complete with decorated trees, custom decoration designs, and a team full of helpful elves, ready to offer ideas to complete your home’s festive atmosphere. Cheryl’s background in design has inspired her to create hundreds of different decoration design themes that run from classic to colorful and everything in between. “It is a great challenge every year to change the environment in our store,” Cheryl said. “I love the opportunity to help others with their design challenges, as well.” Changing the environment has been a theme for M.C. Twinklin’s in 2019 as they recently completed renovations to the inside of the store. The shop now boasts sixteen fully deco-

rated trees that also offer design ideas for your own Christmas tree. But what hasn’t changed is the team’s dedication to helping everyone find the right look to celebrate the holiday season. You can even schedule a design consultation with one of the elf designers. Many customers at M.C. Twinklin’s bring photos of their current home design that help the store elves blend their holiday décor and their everyday décor into one seamless, aesthetically pleasing environment. Trying to find out why your pre-lit tree won’t light up? Head to the store to get some professional elf help as they work with you to diagnose the problem and offer a solution. Of course, you can’t start any design without an essential first ingredient – a Christmas tree. “We are the sole supplier of NeumanTree in the Atlanta market, a product I believe is the finest Christmas tree in the industry,” said Cheryl. “It is a pleasure to sell such a fine product from such a responsible vendor.” How do Cheryl and her team create so many amazing Christmas options for their customers? It’s all about the off season. Cheryl spends much of the year planning, designing, and buying for the coming season. She even visits architectural treasures all over the world to discover design inspiration and new color combinations. It is Cheryl’s goal to offer people a lot of high-quality options that don’t just repeat year after year. And once the season begins, the store is busy! The elves are already knee-deep in ribbon, ornaments, and all types of decorations as they begin filling custom orders and creating new design ideas for their shop. But it’s all worth it, as long as they can keep helping people find what they need. Cheryl said it best: “I enjoy anyone who loves Christmas,

“Dr. Simmons is proud to offer Botox and Dermal Fillers. Call the office to schedule your consulta and our customers love Christmas!” So if you’re looking for some holiday inspiration, a new ornament for your tree, or some amazing decorations to get you into the Christmas mood, head to M.C. Twinklin’s in Lilburn to get the full Christmas experience. You may not know what you want when you arrive, but Cheryl and her team will have you set for the season by the time you leave. More information at

isJohn honored to beIV, we are committed to providing you with the high AtDr. the Simmons dental office of W. Simmons, comprehensive dental care, focused on both the function and beauty of your smile. A one of only nine dentists improving in patient care and comfort are our primary concerns. We are proud to run a practice that treats ea Georgia to have passed the kind, gentle, and caring manner, just like family. We offer a full range of the latest cosmetic a rigorous required to long-lasting, earn procedures thattesting concentrate on ensuring brilliant results you will love, and others

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Our Town Gwinnett/Walton Community & Family Magazine

Publisher/Owner Ryan T. Sauers Creative Director Elsie Olson

Editor Catherine L. Osornio Cover Photographer Marcie Reif Photography

Drs. Vic Koehler, Beau Upshaw and Stewart Helton

770-466-0474 3238 KRISAM CREEK DR. • LOGANVILLE, GA 30052 Member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry ADA,GDA, Hinman Dental Society


We want you to feel good about your visit. We place your concerns and needs above our own and focus everything on your well-being, happiness and comfort.


Christmas is Here! Pre-Lighted Trees Wreaths & Garlands Byer’s Choice Carolers Annalee Elves & Dolls Fontanini Nativities Mark Roberts Fairies & Elves

M.C. Twinklin’s


“Atlanta’s Unique Christmas Store” 2178 McDaniels Bridge Ct. ll Lilburn, GA 30047 770-972-7237 ll PAGE 6

— An EndResultZ Media & Communications firm 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 2019 by Our Town Gwinnett. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without written permission from the publisher.

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Feature Writers Pearl Aidoo K. Coats Kristen Eleveld Kim Hill Ron Lambros Amy Ney Traci Sanders Beth Volpert Johansen

Contributing Writers Jane Bishop Terie Hansen Tanisha Turner

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IN THIS ISSUE 5 On the Cover: Merry and Bright: How M.C. Twinklin’s is Bringing Us the Christmas Cheer We Crave

7 8 9 9 9 10 12 13 13 14 18 19 20

From the Publisher: One Man’s Opinion Get Your Gobble On: Fun Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in 2019! Learning Lessons: Simple Guidelines for Choosing Child-Appropriate Technology Communication Matters: Communicate to Connect To Remember is to Honor: Gwinnett County Veterans Memorial Museum Meet Michelle Green: Grayson High School TOTY Catching Up with Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson of Lawrenceville Takin’ It to the Streets: StreetWise Georgia One on One with Maiden Candyland Gwinnett County Spotlight: Community Based Mentoring Program Getting Schooled: McConnell Middle Students to Contact Outer Space An Angel Among Us: Meet Jill Butcher Pet Perch: Top Tips for Responsible Dog Ownership

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Our Town Gwinnett

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The to d are w

From the Publisher:

CELEBRATE TOGETHER set sail in luxury

and ever


on a River Cruise

One Man’s Opinion By Ryan T. Sauers




to th

In today’s world family time is at a premium. Both parent ever Vaca are often in the work force. Kids are active in sports, club start and activities. Teens have after-school jobs and busy socia

iver cruising is a relaxing and hassle-free way

sampling of what each city has to offer from an insider’s

to unpack once, settle into your ship life and sail

perspective. Discover Holland during tulip season, strollCon

calendars and everyone is glued to their cell phone.

At the same time, baby boomers (and plus) are healthier Vaca As we inch closer to Thanksgiving, I am thankful for family, away to multiple destinations. In many ways river cruising throughand Europe’s famous Christmas markets,and experience your wealthier than previous generations they value friends, and community among many other things. This love of family CELEBRATE TRAVEL and family. is the way countries were meant toTOGETHER be seen because you MULTIGENERATIONAL France’stravel majestic wine region, or embark on a wildlife and community is one reason I enjoy publishing two monthly magadirections doing completely activities, In today’s world family time is at a premium. zines dedicated to these topics. can immerse yourself in authentic experiences in some safari cruise through Africa. different Reconnecting through is a wonderful or nothing at all. At the end oftravel the day, families way to keep Both parents are often in the workforce. I believe there is much more “good” going on in the world than is of the mostKids beautiful regions of the clubs world.and activities. family ties strong and maintain relationships can meet at mealtimes and catch up on the across generation are active in sports, ever reported. If you are a regular reader of my column, you may be thinking that I say this a lot. Historically, rivers were the best way to travel between day’s events. Teens have after-school jobs and busy social For young children and grandparents, spending time togethe You are right. We all need to remind ourselves of the good that exists – yet is often overlooked River cruises have fewer as a result tend communities, and and this is where the offered true enchantment calendars andpassengers everyone and is glued to their cellto fosters their special relationship, which can The variety of food menu items andfocus on fun – throughout our community, country, and world. Moreover, many of us see our (nearly 2020) phone. At the same time, baby boomers (and the attention to dietary needs is staggering. be more regionally inspired than ocean cruises. The vessels of river cruising lies. Rivers are thehistory heartbeat of the region, and learning about family and each other. world as falling apart and completely divided. plus) are healthier and wealthier than previous In addition, most cruise ships are wheelchair The mainstream media reports sensationalism to gain our attention. If that is all I knew, I might can procuregenerations a delightful sampling localtravel produce, weaving through the major cities and the scenic rural and they of value and cheese, family. accessibleCruising and equipped with the elevators and allows togetherness as well as independence. think there weren’t any good, loving, reasonable, and caring people left. But, there are more amazseafood and meat for onboard meals. Sommeliers may areas with picturesque small towns, castles and farmland 24/7 medical staff. This provides peace of mind Reconnecting through travel is a wonderful With the multitude of on-board recreational options and ing people out there than we can ever do stories on. It never ceases to amaze me how many people for everyone, no matter the age. way to keep familyto ties strong and maintain offer wine tastings, in addition tasting dinners or events between them. Thiskids’ is an experience any other, age-specific clubs, everyone unlike can happily go off in are doing great things to serve others and make our world a better place. relationships across generations. For young It’s important to find a cruise package that many directions doing completely different activities, with local wines. and it’s something you can truly savor on a river cruise. or The people I know desire peace, love, and a better world for their children and grandchildren. children and grandparents, spending time will appeal to the majority of family members, nothing at all. At the end of the day, families can meet together fosters their special relationship, which and remain The Our Town Gwinnett community is simply a microcosm of all that is happening around the within everyone’s budget. Speak at mealtimes catch up on onship, fun and about family ® ® the day’s events. When you can stepfocus off the mostlearning river cruise lines offer country. We all have our unique opinions, beliefs, and values. As I have said before, UNTIE (comtoThere an Expidia CruiseShipCenters Vacation are many riverand cruise options for you to choose and each other. ing undone) and UNITE (coming together) are not that different in “word appearance,” butatsoleast onehistory Consultant who can help you feel inspired and free shore excursion in each city. Led by local from, speak to your local Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® The variety of food and menu items offered and the attentio Cruising allows togetherness as well as start planning a family vacation of a lifetime! different in meaning. So, let us celebrate our uniqueness and let it make us stronger. guides, youindependence. can enjoy walking or visits toofcastles, dietary needsto is staggering. In addition, mostdream cruise ship VacationtoConsultants help you plan your next Withtours the multitude on-board Contact I challenge us all to be thankful in the weeks ahead. We have so much to be proud of in our comyour Expedia CruiseShipCenters are wheelchair accessible and equipped with recreational options and age-specific kids’ markets and museums, all of which offer an authentic river cruise start planning your next elevator munity. We have super families, great schools, top businesses, wonderful parks, loving churches, Vacation Consultant clubs, everyone can happily go off in many and 24/7 today! medical staff. This provides peace of mind for family adventure giving nonprofits, etc. Again, our diversity and uniqueness are things we must ALWAYS embrace. everyone, no matter the age. Remember, we all need encouragement and are eager to hear a kind word. People need to laugh (470) 282 0227 and want to smile. So, let’s all work hard to take a deep breath, relax, and make another person’s It’s important to find a cruise package that will appeal day amazing. 3157 Sugarloaf Parkway,, Lawrenceville to the majority of family members, and remain within A community is strengthened one person and one day at a time. Let us each do our part. I everyone’s budget. Speak to an Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® wish you and your family a wonderful and blessed November and Thanksgiving. And, as always, Vacation Consultant who can help you feel inspired and thanks for continuing with me on the journey of my town, your town, OUR TOWN! start planning a family vacation of a lifetime!

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Learning Lessons: Four Simple Guidelines for Choosing Child-Appropriate Technology & Media By Tanisha Turner

Get Your Gobble On: Fun Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in 2019! By Kristen Eleveld Thanksgiving traditions are always fun. Whether you gather with family to enjoy a meal, or finally get out the Christmas tree you have been waiting to unbox, there are all sorts of fun and time-tested ways to get into the holiday spirit. But if you’re looking for something new to add to this year’s festivities, check out some of the events taking place for Thanksgiving in Gwinnett! Keller Williams Realty North Gwinnett Thanksgiving Lunch The best tasting meals are those you don’t have to prepare yourself, and Keller Williams Realty North Gwinnett has you covered for all the Turkey Day essentials a couple of weeks early. They are already cooking up a delicious menu for their annual Thanksgiving lunch, which will take place on November 14th at Buford First United Methodist Church. You can enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving treat and also take the opportunity to meet some new members of your community. It’s all free – and, even better, you can register to help out at the lunch by bringing a dish to share. Many hands make light work, so consider joining your neighbors at this amazing lunch! Register at 5th Annual Gwinnett Gobble Wobble If you’re trying to think of a way to hit that dessert table a couple of extra times during your Thanksgiving festivities, we might have a solution for you. Sign up for the Gwinnett Gobble Wobble to get your heart rate up (and your dessert calories down) as you run a 5K with other members of the Gwinnett Community! You can try to beat a personal record or just run for fun Continued on page 10


Children today are growing up surrounded by technology and screens. While experts have long recommended strict control over young children’s media consumption, keeping children completely separated from technology can sometimes feel like an impossible challenge. Plus, we also must consider the fact that using technology is now required to successfully navigate our tech-savvy society. This juxtaposition leaves many parents wondering how their children should interact with technology so it is helpful, not hurtful, to their development. The National Association for the Education of Young Children and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now report that some technology use is okay for young children, and when used correctly, can even extend learning and prepare children for future success. To have peace of mind about the technology and media their children are interacting with, parents can use the following guidelines: 1. Do research beforehand. You likely put a lot of thought into selecting a pediatrician or purchasing a car seat, and you should do the same when choosing technology or media for your child. Seek out reviews from other parents, use resources from the Center on Media and Child Health, or test products yourself before giving them to your little one. 2. Determine whether it’s age-appropriate. Whether it’s a mobile app or a storybook, always consider if the technology or media content was designed to stimulate learning for your child’s age group. For example, videos featuring songs with simple, repetitive lyrics are great for toddlers, as the repetitive lyrics aid in memorization skills. 3. Consider the message. All technology and media teach your child something, so ensure whatever media your child is exposed to shares a message or lesson you want them to learn. Continued on page 14

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Communication Matters: Communicate to Connect By Jane Bishop “Everyone communicates, few connect.” - John C. Maxwell How is that possible? Experts have found that people are bombarded with over 35,000 messages per day (that is, not text messages)! So how is it that few connect? Communicating is sharing and/ or exchanging information. Leadership expert John C. Maxwell states, “Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” Pause and ponder that for a moment. How we connect with others greatly determines how effective/influential we are. Sharing and exchanging information is critical for understanding and aligning with expectations for job performance and closing gaps. Research has identified how communication is undervalued. In 2018 the morning news and talk program, Squawk Box, found “communication as the number one skills gap across major cities in the United States.” LinkedIn posted an article on January 3, 2019 about hard skills and soft skills and noted results of a survey where “57% of leaders say soft skills are more important than hard skills.” Add to that reports trending noting the lack of employee engagement in many businesses. So why is it significant for information and ideas to be exchanged to connect with people? The basic desire of people is to be valued and understood. Successful entrepreneurs, businesses, and/or organizations have discovered how to up level their influence by understanding and taking action steps to connect with their audience. Communicating to connect requires listening and asking questions to learn what is important to the customer/client (their agenda), and to identify a connection point. People take action for their reasons, not yours. To up level your influence, practice these self-check-ins: 1. KNOW YOURSELF 2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE 3. KNOW THE CLIMATE/CONTEXT 4. VALUE THE OTHER PERSON Continued on page 17

To Remember is to Honor: Gwinnett County Veterans Memorial Museum By Ron Lambros When I went to visit the Gwinnett County Veterans Memorial Museum, located on the first floor of the Old Historic Gwinnett Courthouse in downtown Lawrenceville, I was greeted by the broad smiles and firm handshakes of the soldiers who proudly shared their names and the branch of the military they served in. Many were combat veterans, a few in more than one war, and all were volunteers. “The idea to display the personal items of those who served in all wars the United States had fought was initially developed in 1988 by members of American Legion Post 232 of Snellville, GA,” said Jim Ruiz, one of more than twenty volunteer staff associates at the museum. “Their vision was to display more than just an assortment of impersonal war materials. They wanted to establish a place to honor the veterans from Gwinnett County that includes all branches of the Armed Forces. That is why our motto is ‘To Remember is to Honor.’” Continued on page 21

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Get Your Gobble On Continued from page 8

Meet Michelle Green: Grayson High School TOTY

along the gorgeous trails of Little Mulberry Park in Dacula. There will be games, prizes, and lots of fun activities for your whole family to enjoy. All you have to do is sign up at The organization also asks that everyone bring a canned or non-perishable food item to donate to local co-ops and food pantries. Get out there and wobble ‘til you drop! History of Thanksgiving Are you trying to find a fun and interesting way for your family to learn more about why we celebrate Thanksgiving? Head to the Duluth Branch of the Gwinnett County Public Library on November 26th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. You and your family will have the chance to learn some fascinating history about what Thanksgiving means, along with some interesting historical content about the very first Thanksgiving. This event is open to people of all ages, and is a great way to remember what it is we’re thankful for this season. You don’t have to register – just go to if you need directions to the library. From all of us at Our Town Gwinnett Magazine to each of you, we wish you a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

By K. Coats

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Gwinnett Business RadioX has been amplifying the voice of business since 2012. We are thrilled to be a 2019 Gwinnett Small Business Award Winner! We share unscriptedorganic conversations that foster relationship-building moments in an energizing environment. In pursuit of our mission, Gwinnett Business RadioX has interviewed more than 2,500 local business leaders. We pride ourselves on providing a platform to the underserved markets that uniquely doubles as a masterful prospecting and thought leadership tool. We enhance exposure by creating an engaging opportunity combined with evergreen digital continent creation. This helps small businesses gain clients, give them visibility in the marketplace, and allow them to tell their story. Cheers to many more years of success to our clients, prospects and friends. We are your proud #CommunityPartners Follow us on Facebook

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Fine arts teachers are a different breed of educator, and high school fine arts teachers are a whole other level. They build relationships across four years of high school, see students grow up in ways other subjects often don’t, and their program can live or die by their handling. When done well and with passion, it’s a beautiful feeling. The long hours and intense practices often go unnoticed by peers, but this year Grayson High School changed all that. Michelle Green, a chorus teacher, was awarded the 2019-20 Grayson High School Teacher of the Year (TOTY) honor. A product of Gwinnett County Public Schools, Green graduated from South Gwinnett High School in 2005. She went on to get her undergrad in Choral Music Education from Georgia State University and her Masters of Choral Music Education from West Georgia. This is her tenth year of teaching, and all of her career has been at Grayson High School. Choral programs live and die according to their directors. For Green the current Grayson High School choral program is a testament to her hard work over the last decade. “When I first started my career,” she explains, “I came into a program of sixty students. My beginning women’s choir had eight girls. My beginning level now has forty-five in one class. I only had four boys in choir when I first started, and now I have so many boys that they need their own class. I have thirtysix in Men’s Choir. My program is sitting at around 170 total enrolled.” So at just under a 300% increase, it’s safe to say that Green has made her mark! Going to see a choral performance is a treat, especially if they are Green’s students. But what is easy to underestimate is the amount of time those single performances involve. The huge amount of focus both in class and after school go beyond the average school day. It is closer to that of a sports coach – except that chorus does not have an off season. In her speech, Green claims, “Winning TOTY is a win for the Fine Arts because it makes me feel like Fine Arts is being viewed more than just an elective. It tells me that other people value the educational experience that we are offering these children. Our children learn more than just how to read music in our classrooms. They are learning valuable lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Music is something that you can carry with you no matter where life takes you. Once it is in your heart, it will never leave you.” For Green, her inspiration comes from her own high school chorus teacher. She gives credit to James Williams, choral director at Dacula High School who “inspired me to become a high school choral director. His passion, musicality, and his innate ability to connect with us students through the music changed my life. I will be forever grateful for the positive impact he had on my life.” And she pays that impact forward as she does the same for her own students. When asked what advice she would give to others considering music as a profession, education or otherwise, Green says, “Music is a ton of work and requires dedication and perseverance. To make it in any part of the music business you must stay true to yourself, be kind, and always follow through in everything that you say and do.” In regards to music education, she claims, “A healthy music program needs students who are excited about singing and are ready to share their Continued on page 17

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Our Town Gwinnett

Our Town Gwinnett

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Catching Up with Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson of Lawrenceville

six days a week for six weeks before the election,” recalls Johnson. “On election day, he stood out on the corner with a sign ‘Vote for Judy Johnson.’ Once I was elected, he understood that my city By Beth Volpert-Johansen responsibilities would come first.” Having strong faith and strong values Her bright, genuine smile and unwavering eye contact are often the has allowed Johnson to seek out a clear first two characteristics one might notice right away when meeting path for growth in the community. She Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson of Lawrenceville. She might remind you has been a champion to many and is of a favorite teacher – a reasonable first impression since her first years known for her ability to find common in the world of work were spent in serving the students of her alma ground in the decisions facing a vibrant mater, Central Gwinnett High School, where she was the favorite of community. Her desire to leave a legacy many and received Teacher of the Year in 1990. that will continue to support the people of it hercomes hometown a driving force heritroof being When toisfinding the behind perfect When comes t As far as being a favorite, the same could be said of her community. easily accessible. Whether it is at a BBQ, concert, play, festival, small jazz event, fundraiser, or for your home we have a HUGE selection for your home w The city for which she has served on both city council and then as parade, Johnson is visible, her smile and gracious always a part of her toolset. When it comes to finding the perfect rooftomanner When it comes finding the perfect roof mayor has seen tremendous change. Lawrenceville, Georgia is, after “I willwe be a have citizen enjoying the events with a dimmer spotlight,” says Johnson of of from, her upcoming ofhome brands colors to choose so and co brands your home a for HUGE selection your weand have a HUGE selection all, the county seat. And as the county seat, much is expected of the city and her public for servants. retirement. “For the citizens, I want to be remembered as a mayor who had an open door at her we can make your house look perfect. All we can Mayor since 2010, Judy Jordan Johnson has guided her hometown from a place to doofofficial brandsoffice andforcolors tocome choose socolors ofin, brands and to choose from, so anyone to withfrom, or without an appointment, and one who showed up atmake any yo business into a thriving community filled with new residents, new businesses, performance venof our roofs come with one of the best event to say ‘the City of Lawrenceville’ is represented. To the employees, I want to be remembered of our roofs com we can make your house we look perfect. can make All your house look perfect. All ues, and a town green that draws a variety of talent all designed to bring people together. as a mayor who knew that the employees were the ones who made the city great.” warranties in thetoindustry we use warranties in the “There has always been a sense of community, but as our community has diversified, the of sense our roofsAnd come with one of best ourthe come theand best that humility ofof service isroofs also what drew with others one her of in order to seek guidance as a of community has changed,” says Johnson. “Many do not know their neighbors as has warranties been the above standard roofing materials. above standard woman in local politics.warranties As partwe of the Lipstick Johnson is part an unofficial group of in the industry and use in theLeaders, industry and weofuse case in the past. Social media has changed our sense of community in that we can find news officials who find answers to some of the hardest questions facing female public servants. “Judy is above roofing above standard roofing materials. about our neighbors without talking with them.” Finding those neighbors was just the first step. standard one of those ladies whomaterials. you can count on for solid, honest advice every single time,” says Grayson Planning for and providing a place to gather was the next step. “I have tried to incorporate a ‘sense mayor, Allison Wilkerson. “She always answers her phone and has this gentle, life-long educator of place’ in our community,” Johnson says, “where people can come together to eat together, enjoy manner of helping you find your own way.” events, and grow friendships.” Adds Wilkerson, “When we meet as the Lipstick Leaders, each of the local female members Certified Professionals Certified Professionals Historically, the idea of service to the community was deeply ingrained in Johnson. Her father, –mayors of Snellville, Auburn, Duluth, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Berkeley Lake, and our outgoing Rhodes Jordan also served the city of Lawrenceville as mayor and council forto several terms as When County Charlotte – often findneed a perspective When it comes your home you need a itChairwoman comes to yourNash home you a on leadership not always availCertified Professionals Certified well as the State of Georgia. “My father’s example of publicProfessionals service was the path,” says Johnson. able at a conference or traditional service organization meeting.” “The When wisdom ofitthe words ofto Jesus Christ throughyou the Bible has to my is guide. I have beenneed company that fully insured and company that is fully insured and certified comes your home need abeen Asacertified the newest member of the Lipstick Leaders, Mayor Barbara Bender of Snellville finds the When it comes your home you blessed to have parents who had a strong faith and were parents who demonstrated their faith in group to be inspiring and the work of Mayor Johnson to be a fine example to her own service. before you letinsured anyoneand put certified your hard earned before you let anyone put ayour earned company that is fully insured and certified company that is fully the community.” “Judy Jordan Johnson’s career – from teacherhard and a coach to mayor – has been that of a sort In addition to having had a strong upbringing, Johnson has also enjoyed the support of a lovof cheerleader,” says Bender. “She is sweet, supportive, and positive home atanyone risk. at Perimeter Roofing weHere at Perimeter Roofing we in everything she does. It is at risk. before you let anyone put hard earned before you let putme your hardhome earned ing husband, Allan Johnson. “My husband has your been my best supporter. He Here helped campaign inspiring to be around her.” the we experts and trainedhave roofing thatand trained roofing techs that Continued on page 16 thetechs experts home at risk. Here at Perimeter have Roofing



home at risk. Here at Perimeter Roofing we have years of experience in the roofing have years of experience in the roofing busihaveit the experts techs that have roofing the experts and trained roofing techs thatbusiWhen comes to findingand the trained perfect for your home ness. are fully insured to work on ness. Weany aresize fully insured to work on any size have roof years of experience in the roofing busihave years ofWe experience in the roofing busiwe have a HUGE selection of project nosize matter how big or small. brands to choose no matter how big or small. ness. and Wecolors are fully insured to work on any ness. We are fully insured to work onproject any size from, so we can make your Perimeter Cares pays off project matter or small. project no matter how big or small. house lookno perfect. All of how our big unpaid lunch debt for roofs come with one of the best Roof Repair and Replacement Roof Repair and Replacement elementary school students. warranties in the industry and We have paid off over 60 we use above standard roofing Perimeter is Metro Atlanta’s Roofing Perimeter Roofing is Metro Atlanta’s Roofing Roof Repair and Replacement Roof Repair and Roofing Replacement schools and plan to take care materials. of all you elementary schools in expert. We have the Atlanta’s professionals toWe help youthe professionals to help expert. have Perimeter Roofing is Metro Atlanta’s Roofing Perimeter Roofing is Metro Roofing Certified Professionals the state of Georgia. When it comes your home repairs, replacements even insurance replacements or even insurance expert. We tohave the professionals helpthe you expert. with Wetohave professionals or towith helprepairs, you you need a company that is fully claims for storm damaged roofs. claims for storm damaged roofs. with repairs, replacements orrepairs, even insurance replacements or even insurance insured and certified before you with let anyone put your hard earned claims forHere storm damaged roofs. claims for storm damaged roofs. home at risk. at Perimeter Roofing we have the experts and trained roofing techs that have years of experience in the roofing business. We are fully insured to work on any size project no matter how big or small.

With crews all over, With crews all over, With crews all With over, crews all over, we are able to service we are able to service we are able to we service are to serviceALL of Georgia. ALLable of Georgia. Full Roof Replacement Perimeter Roofing is Metro ALL of Georgia. ALL of Georgia. Atlanta’s Roofing expert. We have the professionals to help you with replacements or even insurance claims for storm damaged roofs.

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Takin’ It to the Streets: StreetWise Georgia By Ron Lambros You have probably seen the building when you were waiting for a slow-moving train on Cedars Road in Lawrenceville. StreetWise is written boldly in red and white above the front door. The lettering is radical and reflects more of a feel of the X-Games than a ministry, but ministry is what StreetWise does and does very, very well. For over thirty-six years, StreetWise Georgia has offered “the necessary physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual tools, to help people stabilize their lives, improve their environment, and move out of a state of dependency, into a state of well-being and self-sufficiency,” said ministry founder and program director, Terry Powell. “We strive to be a one-step resource for families and individuals who are living in poverty.” The ministry began with a mission trip to Haiti. Experiencing the horrendous plight of this impoverished country first-hand, Terry Powell and his wife, Pat, began a puppet and clown ministry, traveling the country, entertaining, and ministering wherever they went. After their return, however, they continued to see the same poverty right here in the United States. That’s when they knew they had to do something. Both soon left successful careers with Fortune 500 companies and went into full-time ministry. Fueled by the unmistakable call of God on their lives, the Powells bought a bus and began ministering in the gang-infested, crime-riddled government housing projects of Atlanta’s inner city. They not only survived for over twenty years, but they thrived and their ministry grew. As more and more of the housing projects were demolished, the Powells moved StreetWise to Gwinnett County, a melting-pot of nationalities and socioeconomic groups. And there it continues today. “Gwinnett County is being watched closely on a national level,” Terry Powell states. “If you throw together a pie chart of Gwinnett’s demographics – age, race, religion, etc. – right now, we Continued on page 20



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One on One with Maiden Candyland By Traci Sanders Do you remember playing the game Candy Land as a child? All the bright colors and whimsical elements made you smile when you saw them, and it was fun getting lost in a fantasy world for a while. Two local homeschooling moms, Candice and Amanda, recently found a way to bring that carefree spirit back to life in a fashion line they created. The brand is called Maiden Candyland. The female entrepreneurs chose this name for two reasons: 1) Candy is a shortened version of Candice – hence the name “Candyland,” which also signifies the whimsical nature of the brand and products; and, 2) Maiden is a play-on words for “made in” as well as a reference to strong women (made of iron). Continued on page 17

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Learning Lessons Continued from page 8 Interactive programming, like Sesame Street, is particularly helpful for sparking learning and development in young children. 4. Set screen time limits. The AAP recommends restricting all screen media aside from video chatting for children younger than 18 months and limiting children ages 2 to 5 to one hour of screen time per day. Also consider designating media-free times for your child, such as during dinner or while in the car, and prioritize time for free play, family meals, playing with friends, and sleep above screen time. Also, don’t forget to set a good example by limiting your own media use! By following these guidelines, parents can help ensure that their children interact with technology and media in ways that deepen learning and nurture healthy development. Tanisha Turner is Owner of Primrose School at Sugarloaf Parkway. More information at www.

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Gwinnett County Spotlight: Community Based Mentoring Program By Traci Sanders Gwinnett County is quickly becoming a hub for enriching experiences for adults and student citizens. One such example is the Gwinnett County Public Schools Community-Based Mentoring Program that was founded about ten years ago. It began with African-American boys, with a goal to connect caring adults in the community with students to provide guidance, encouragement, and support in becoming successful young adults. Recently, a new division of this program was added to support the Hispanic/Latino community after observing the low high school graduation statistics for this demographic. It’s called the Hispanic Mentoring Priority (HMP). As a first-generation immigrant who was blessed by the outpouring of love and support from her community, Nury Castillo Crawford, director of the HMP program, was recently named one of the fifty most influential Latinos in Georgia, out of more than 450 applicants. She shared why she is so passionate about this cause. “This honor is a reflection of the hard work and effort I put in to lead our Hispanic Mentoring Priority,” she said. “I promote, engage, and share our program’s vision, mission, and goals every time someone invites me into their space. I am proud to spread the word about the district’s commitment to and support of Latino students and families.” According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Georgia is the third lowest in the nation for Hispanic /Latino high school graduates. Between 2004 and 2013, Hispanic enrollment in Georgia’s public schools nearly doubled, rising from seven to thirteen percent, which was more than any other racial group according to a state study. Additional goals for this program are to recruit and train volunteer mentors who will provide support and enriching experiences for the students, as well as valuable resources for the parents. Some of the activities and resources include: educational field trips, Saturday life sessions, career fairs, summer camps, and individual and small group mentoring. Students from surrounding clusters are invited to participate, and the membership is free as part of the Gwinnett County Public School system. The board members of the program are always seeking new resources and opportunities to include in the support they provide for the students and parents. Flyers and other correspondences are being distributed throughout local churches and networking events, as well as being shared on social media, to locate more adult mentors for the program. Training and background checks are provided at no cost to volunteer mentors. If you have the time to spare, and a heart for today’s youth, consider becoming a volunteer mentor in this much-needed program. You could end up helping to shape our next president. More information at

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Mayor Johnson Continued from page 12 As an outgoing public servant, Nash had very kind words for her friend and colleague. “Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson’s love of Lawrenceville, Gwinnett’s County seat, comes through loudly and clearly,” says Nash. “This love of community drives her to seek the best for all of us. She leads with integrity and has accomplished so much. Yet she brings humility and a servant’s heart to all she does. It has been a pleasure to get to know her over the last several years, and I treasure our friendship.” Johnson remains committed to her city and to her county as evidenced by her running the last leg of the Gwinnett 200th Birthday Celebration torch run into the Gwinnett Arena in December of last year. From the earliest days hanging out at City Hall with her dad in his role as mayor, to working hard to foster connections between the county and the county seat, Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson not only carried the Gwinnett 200 torch, but she has kept right on carrying the torch for the city and county she loves. There is very little evidence to show that anything will change very much when she officially “retires” from service as mayor of Lawrenceville. If those who know her know anything at all, it will, no doubt, be a new beginning.

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Maiden Candyland Continued from page 13

Communication Matters Continued from page 9

The online store carries a wide variety of clothing and fashion accessories including backpacks, phone cases, and beachwear in specific themes, including the Georgia Bulldogs Dawg Days line and over 250 Halloween-themed items. Customers can purchase leggings, t-shirts, hoodies, dresses, and more in fun, unique prints in sizes 2T to 6X adults. All clothing items are customized, cut and sewn by hand, and then shipped directly to the customer within 7-10 business days. Working together in some capacity has been a dream of these two friends for many years, having both moved to Georgia from California. However, the Candyland brand was imagined and brought to fruition by these powerhouse women in a short span of a few months. Their goal was to find a way to share their artistic gifts with the world and become role models to teach their children about confidence, perseverance, and true self-expression. Through Facebook ads and the company website, Maiden Candyland successfully launched on Labor Day of 2019, and it’s already exploding. Candy is a mom of two girls, and the lead designer, the “makes the pretty things” element of the partnership. She hand draws the designs on her tablet in Photoshop, saves the designs as PNG files, and transfers them into Illustrator for the finishing touches. From there, she uploads the designs to the website and customers choose their favorites. Amanda, mom of five, has a background in education and marketing. She’s the make it happen piece to this well-oiled operation. She built the website and handles all the analytical and operational aspects of the business so Candy can focus on the designs. Amanda also negotiated the deals with the manufacturers, finding one that met the standards of their company: high-quality products that are affordable and made in the USA. Both women say their husbands are their biggest fans -- besides their children, of course, who happen to be modeling some of the clothing items on the website. It’s a family business, and everyone plays a part. This powerhouse duo has plans to expand their product line to offer many more options within the next few months. “Candy’s designs can be uploaded to pretty much any item,” Amanda said. “It’s all about self-expression here, wearing what makes you feel good about being you. Beauty and fashion comes in all sizes and styles.” These two ladies are definitely offering their own spin on fashion and female-centered business that is quickly becoming a welcome addition to our community. More information at

If you are wondering how these will up level your influence and connect with others, consider these suggestions to jumpstart your thinking: 1. Name tags and business cards: be sure text and images are legible to people who wear glasses. This includes size of text and color. 2. Retail businesses: Observe your customer and slow your speaking pace when you notice they are leaning in or looking confused. 3. Leaders: Ask each team member how you can position them to be successful. 4. Complete a listening assessment and learn how to strengthen your listening skills. Maxwell also states, “The ability to connect with others begins with understanding the value of people. They are inwardly asking: Do You care for me? Can you help me? Can I trust you?” More information at

Meet Michelle Green Continued from page 10 talents with others and use it as a way to reach out to the community.” And that outreach has paid off where Green’s students are concerned. Some highlights from her time at Grayson High School so far include her students meeting Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, singing at the Governor’s Mansion, singing the National Anthem at the Atlanta Braves game, and performing backup for the band Foreigner. With all of her hard work and dedication, Green understands that she isn’t alone in her program’s success. She has an outstanding support system behind her. “I would love to give a shout out to my amazing husband, Chris Green,” she says, “who is my rock and stands by me and loves the students just as much as I do. I love you so much! To my sweet daughter, Isabelle: You make me want to be a better teacher for my students. The love that I have for you comes out in my teaching because I want to be the kind of teacher that I would want you to have every day.” Grayson High School’s choral program is superb, and it is all thanks to Green and her hard work and dedication. Her honor as Teacher of the Year is, indeed, a win for fine arts, and Grayson High School is blessed to have her as well as a full lineup of absolutely stellar fine arts teachers: Robert Barnes, band; Kyle Lineberry, orchestra; Linn Zamora and Kevin Keen, visual arts; Amy Morrow, drama; and Xavier Lewis, dance. So here’s to Michelle Green and her fine arts crew! Congratulations on her award as Teacher of the Year. It is well deserved, and we all wish her and her students the best this year and always. More information at

Let us break bread together... The Mansions at Gwinnett Park Assisted Living & Memory Care cordially invites you and yours to a Thankful Open House. We'll break bread with neighbors new and old - feast on hot hors d'oeuvres and seasonal refreshments - and all honored guests will receive loaves of bread to show our gratitude for your attendance. We’ll also be giving a gift certificate to return to The Mansions for dinner when we open in 2020!

November 18th from 4 to 7 pm. Please RSVP your attendance to April Johnson at (770) 901-2477 or email

This is our favorite time of year at The Mansions. It's when we get to show our thanks for this new community, for the ability to be of service to others and to look ahead to the time we see new friends and family join us in their new home.

Won't you come and break bread with us? Our 55+ senior independent living campus has openings! Call (770) 871-3133 today for details.

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Getting Schooled: McConnell Middle Students to Contact Outer Space By Traci Sanders A handful of middle-grade students will be having an out-of-this-world experience in the spring of 2020. McConnell Middle School is now “in queue” to schedule an actual contact with an astronaut from the International Space Station (ISS), who will also be a licensed amateur radio operator. The school is one of only nine across the nation to have its proposal accepted for this program. The exact date and time of the scheduled contact has not yet been determined. Many factors must be taken into consideration: research scheduling on board the ISS, ensuring a licensed amateur radio operator is on the crew, aligning the ISS orbital path with the school schedule, and monitoring the weather conditions. The flyover is scheduled to last only about twelve to fifteen minutes. The signal transmits “line of sight,” much like any two-way radio/walkie-talkie, except much farther. North Fulton Amateur Radio League is providing the equipment, including the directional antenna on a thirtyfoot mast, which will track the ISS as it flies across the sky above the school (invisible to the eye during the daytime). The software will follow the flight path and adjust for the Doppler Effect in the radio signal. Approximately one dozen McConnell students will use the low-power radio transmission from the school cafeteria to communicate with the astronaut. Hundreds of other students will be gathered in the cafeteria for observation, and the rest of the student body will observe via closedcircuit TV in their classrooms. The chosen group will be given all of the “airtime” as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Retired McConnell science teacher, Jean Delashmit, put the wheels in motion for this event. She was previously a chemist in industrial and environmental labs. Delashmit taught physical science during her last five years before retirement. When switching from earth science to physical science, she was looking for a way to engage students in physics and chemistry. Martha Muir (W4MSA), a teacher at Mill Spring Academy, offered a weekend workshop about using Amateur Radio to teach middle school science, so Delashmit attended. Within the next year, Delashmit earned her amateur radio license (KM4FVO) from the Federal Communications Commission and joined with James Reeves (KF4AQO), who also taught physical science at McConnell, to form McConnell Amateur Radio Club. One of the club’s first goals was to have the McConnell students make direct radio contact with astronauts on the International Space Station. Since retiring, Delashmit volunteers with the radio club and the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) project. Wanda Rice (KN4SSJ), a physical science teacher at McConnell, is now the radio club sponsor. Kristin Fuqua, a 7th grade life science teacher, and James Greer, a 6th grade earth science teacher, are also on the ARISS team at school. Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society (GARS) has helped out with the radio club from its beginning, assisting the students in what is needed to become licensed. They and club parents have also donated all of the equipment, including antennas and the base station, as well as materials for students to build their own antennas. Ralph Pickwick, the education chairman of GARS, has been invaluable in building the radio club and especially in facilitating the application for ARISS this year.  Last March, the national ARISS committee submitted the following as part of their news release: “Each year, ARISS provides tens of thousands of students with learning opportunities about space technologies, communications, and much more through the exploration of Amateur Radio and space. The ARISS program connects students to astronauts on the ISS through a partnership between NASA, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, the American Radio Relay League, other Amateur Radio global organizations, and the worldwide space agencies. The program’s goal is to inspire students to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and in Amateur Radio.” Continued on page 21

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An Angel Among Us: Meet Jill Butcher By Traci Sanders When one hears the name Jill Butcher in Gwinnett or nearby counties, phrases such as, “Jill is amazing!” and “Oh, my goodness, she’s such a wonderful person,” will likely follow. Jill founded Summit Academy in 2007 as a means of offering enrichment courses such as drama, art, and music, as well as core classes to the home school community. The program is comprised of a group of home-educating parents and qualified instructors and offers a variety of classes for grades K-12 at affordable rates. Jill oversees all seven locations of Summit Academy in Gwinnett and several surrounding counties. In addition to overseeing the Summit programs, Jill is a mom of three and a pastor’s wife for Church at the Grove where she focuses on leadership training and caring for the local community in whatever capacity she can. She often delivers meals to local residents and has been known to help them locate funds to assist in their financial hardships and debts. Jill carries this same benevolent spirit over into Summit Academy by ensuring parents are fully informed about the programs, offering financial assistance with course costs when needed, and even turning folks away to help them find programs that are better suited for their needs. Sonya Weese, Jill’s administrative assistant stated, “She truly puts people first. She sees the good and bad in people, and still has a true heart for humankind.” Jill and her husband, Pastor Russ Butcher, along with their two youngest children and some church members went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic in July to share some leadership training and implement a Vacation Bible School program there. Jill was a huge resource during this trip because she speaks fluent Spanish and was able to create connections with the Dominican people. An educator, a caregiver, a leader, a philanthropist, a contributor to the community in multiple ways, Jill Butcher is definitely a woman to be acknowledged and celebrated. If you have a child who is homeschooled or participates in online school and you’re looking for educational or vocational support, Jill Butcher is one woman you want to contact! More information at or

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StreetWise Georgia Continued from page 13

Pet Perch: Top Tips for Responsible Dog Ownership

are what the rest of the nation will look like in 10-20 years. The county, as a whole, is focused on the issues of homelessness, food insecurity, transportation, and access to healthcare. How we’re solving those problems will be used as a model for the rest of the country.” So, what exactly is StreetWise doing to address these issues, and how can others learn and benefit from their ministries? “As a ministry, we make sure that everyone who comes through our doors hears the Gospel, but more importantly, experiences the love of Christ,” Powell said. “We express to every volunteer that it’s vital to treat everyone, client or peer, with respect and inclusivity. So regardless of race, age, gender identity, or religion, clients and volunteers alike will experience God’s love for them by loving like Christ.” In response to the question about what sets StreetWise apart, Powell said, “We’re unique in the fact that we are privately funded, allowing us to assist anyone without restriction or government red-tape. We offer our clients more than emergency/immediate assistance. We listen to their story and determine which of our programs or ministries will provide the greatest long-term solution for their given situation. If specialized attention is needed, we refer them to an organization that focuses on their particular need. All this is provided at no cost.” At the very heart of the ministry is their Client “Road Mapping” Program. When a client arrives at their facility, they’re assigned a trained “Navigator” who discusses their immediate needs, discovers what programs they may qualify for, and then creates a plan for them to return to a state of independence. If their immediate need is food, they’re provided with enough to stock their entire kitchen for 2-4 weeks, depending on the size of their household. If it’s clothing, they’re assigned a “personal shopper” who will help them shop free-of-charge in the ministry’s vast clothing room. This includes special clothing like professional business attire to help with job interviews, or unique clothing for school formals, proms, and graduations. Whatever the need, StreetWise has a positive approach to problem-solving. With all the success stories this incredible ministry can tell, there still remains a great challenge: funding. Even with the assistance of corporate partners and sponsors, the need is real. “The biggest challenge we’re facing right now is gaining monthly funding commitments in an everchanging society,” Powell explained. “Millennials and Gen Z now make up the majority of the nation’s workforce, and to gain their [financial] support, we have to adapt to their language and platform. We’re blessed to have staff and volunteers focused on facing that challenge every day.” We pray that this ministry continues to succeed in all its endeavors, and that funding comes. Thousands depend on its continued success and programs. More information at

By Terie Hansen When we think about responsible dog ownership, we think of providing food, shelter, veterinary care, and love. But being a responsible dog owner goes way beyond those minimum requirements. Ask yourself: How am I providing for my dog’s mental health and well-being? How am I and my dog impacting others? The environment? Check out these top tips for responsible dog ownership. 1. Can I Get a Walk, Walk? Regular exercise is a must for dogs to help keep them fit and healthy both physically and mentally. 2. Poop Patrol: This is a biggie. Picking up after your dog while on walks is the responsible thing to do. Dog poop carries disease and intestinal parasites. 3. Who Are You? Who, Who, Who, Who? : Properly ID your dog. Even if your dog is microchipped, a collar and tags are a must. 4. Escape from Alcatraz: Secure Your Yard. Dogs shouldn’t be left out in a yard unattended. They are dogs! They dig, jump, and get out typically out of boredom. 5. If You Like It, Then You Better Put a Leash On it: Unless your dog is fully trained and under 100% voice control, you should always have a leash on your dog while out walking in public areas, neighborhoods, parks, etc. 6. Animal Control: I’m talking Spay and Neuter people. 7. Baby, It’s Cold Outside (or Hot)! Leaving a dog outside in extreme weather is dangerous. Every year dogs die of heat exhaustion and hypothermia. 8. Stop, Drop, and Stay: Training, one of the most important aspects of responsible dog ownership, is a critical component of a happy, healthy, and safe dog. It can literally save a life. Dogs practicing bad behaviors are not at their happiest and are often nervous, anxious, or even dangerous. Responsible dog ownership is more than just food, shelter, and love. It’s about you, your dog, and those around you. Following these tips will have you and your dog living your best life. Complete article at Terie Hansen is Owner of Good Dog! Coaching & Pet Care. More information at

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Contact Outer Space Continued from page 18

To Remember is to Honor Continued from page 9 Jim continued, “The museum offers an extensive collection of personal military memorabilia, uniforms, regalia, photographs, models, and artifacts from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, and through current conflicts in the Middle East. Many of these exhibits enable visitors to see a more personal side of war, one that must be experienced first-hand to be truly appreciated. All museum exhibits are from veterans, or friends and families of veterans, and are either on loan on a long-term basis or donated outright to the museum for posterity.” On display in the various rooms are the actual uniforms of the men and women of Gwinnett County who faithfully served in our military, their medals, personal effects, photographs, and weapons. There was a corner display for a Medal of Honor recipient, an American flag that flew over Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and far too many reminders of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. According to Ruiz, since the American Civil War to the present-day Gulf War, over 700 souls from Gwinnett County died while serving their country. One display in particular was nothing less than fascinating. In the World War I room there is the actual uniform of a World War I German Cavalry Officer, with an accompanying large photograph of the young man. This officer was captured by the French Army, and later released after the Armistice in 1918. This same officer later served in the German Army during World War II, and, once again, was captured, but this time by American Forces in Germany. Many years later, the grandson of this very same German officer graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and is now a serving officer in the U.S. Army. “Only in America can this happen,” Jim proudly declared. “The grandson’s West Point cadet uniform is on display in our Gulf War room.” The cost of war is never cheap, and neither is properly running a museum to honor its veterans. “Admission to the museum is free,” Jim said. “The museum receives no taxpayer money whatsoever. It relies on the donations from museum visitors, the local business community, and private foundations, like the Whitcomb Family Foundation. We also conduct funding drives at local malls, community events, and large businesses, like Home Depot and Wal-Mart.” Everyone, both young and old alike, needs to visit this special place and experience Gwinnett County’s contribution to our peace and freedom as a nation. “To Remember is to Honor,” and deservedly so! More information at

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This outlines the purpose of the ARISS contact. The McConnell STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Committee saw this project as a means to engage the whole school in real-world research and current events. Throughout the year, McConnell students will be learning about space research, international cooperation, maintaining proper health in space, life of astronauts on the ISS, and the history and future of space exploration and research leading up to this event. In the physical science and earth science classes, students will be exposed to lessons on electromagnetic waves, radio transmission and wave interactions, Doppler Effect, electrical circuitry, orbital speed and paths, layers of the atmosphere, and many other related concepts. Amateur Radio is an excellent introduction to STEAM careers. In fact, there is usually at least one licensed radio operator on the ISS at any given time. While spring is usually a time of year when most kids are blankly staring off into space, one lucky group of kids at McConnell Middle School will actually be connecting with space. More information at

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More than 30 Years of Helping People with their Money Roger S. Green, MSFS, CFP® Green Financial Resources, LLC

With more than 30 years of experience helping people with their money through the tough times and the good times, and teaching retirement planning classes since 1997, Roger is highly qualified to assist with all of your financial and investment planning needs.

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Retirement planning classes offered at Gwinnett Technical college. Visit for upcoming class information. Investment Advisor Representative offering securities & advisory services through Cetera Advisors LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, Broker/Dealer, member FINRA, SIPC. Green Financial, Gwinnett Tech & 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 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. Office located at 3700 Crestwood Pkwy, Ste 140, Duluth, GA 30096.

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NOVEMBER 2019: (GREEN) Our Town Gwinnett/Walton Monthly Magazine  

Welcome to the NOV 2019 (GREEN) edition of Our Town Monthly Magazine for Gwinnett/Walton areas. #community #family #positive

NOVEMBER 2019: (GREEN) Our Town Gwinnett/Walton Monthly Magazine  

Welcome to the NOV 2019 (GREEN) edition of Our Town Monthly Magazine for Gwinnett/Walton areas. #community #family #positive