SEPT 2020 (BLUE) Our Town Gwinnett Monthly Magazine for Gwinnett/NE DeKalb

Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2020 Gwinnett/NE DeKalb Community & Family Magazine


Lawrenceville Snellville Lilburn Stone Mountain Tucker

Up Close with Gwinnett Orthodontics, see story on page 5

12 17 19 21

Community Spotlight: Everyone Deserves a Good Landing SportsTalk: Relentless is Parkview High’s Pursuit Business RadioX: Raising the Voices of the Business Community Forever Young: 100 Years and Counting

The Village Corner

German Restaurant, Bakery & Tavern We are a full-service bakery, restaurant, and tavern specializing in German cuisine.

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At the dental office of John W. Simmons, IV, we are committed to providing you with the high comprehensive dental care, focused on improving both the function and beauty of your smile. A patient care and comfort are our primary concerns. We are proud to run a practice that treats ea kind, gentle, and caring manner, just like family. We offer a full range of the latest cosmetic a procedures that concentrate on ensuring long-lasting, brilliant results you will love, and others

Cosmetic Dentistry The cosmetic procedures we offer can dramatically enhance the appearance of your smile. We offer a wide selection of procedures that can correct almost any dental imperfection.

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Compassionate Dentistry Our superior services can recapture the health, functionality, and youthful appearance of your natural smile. Our practice focuses on providing Before After long-lasting results and promoting overall dental health. Hexcellent e a lt H y • B e a u t i f u l • i n s p i r e d PAGE 2



2381-B Main Street E Dr. John Simmons and Dr. Snellville, Robert French combine a blend of Georgia 30 experience, wisdom and fresh new knowledge to affordably serve

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John W. Simmons, IV, DMD, PC Robert J. French, DDS

Office Monday 9:00am30078 - 7:00pm Tuesday 7:00am 2381-B Main Street EastHours: • Snellville, Georgia Wednesday 7:00am - 6:00pm Thursday 7:00am - 2: 770-985-2437 • Dr. John W. Simmons, IV

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Our Town Gwinnett




Our Town Gwinnett

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Our Town Gwinnett

On the Cover: The Team That Makes You Smile: Welcome to Gwinnett Orthodontics By Kristen Eleveld Choosing an orthodontist to correct your smile for a lifetime is an important decision. You need the right combination of an excellent team, the latest technology, and a genuine relationship between the doctors, staff, and patient. Fortunately for Gwinnett residents, you can find all these things right in Lilburn, at Gwinnett Orthodontics. In 1997, Dr. Janice Wilmot started her own orthodontic practice. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Medical College of Georgia, and Emory, Dr. Wilmot realized that she wanted to not only serve patients, but create an environment where everyone felt she cared for them beyond just their teeth. It is this patient-first mentality that drives the atmosphere of everyone who works at Gwinnett Orthodontics to make “Smiles Blossom.” “We become part of our patients’ families,” said Dr. Wilmot. “They tell us about the activities they are involved in, update us on their families and schoolwork – it’s a very warm and friendly environment here.” While the practice has had to make some changes to comply with CDC guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the best way to describe Gwinnett Orthodontics is a place where you can have fun while seeing the orthodontist. Whether it is the decorations they put around the building, or the celebrations they have for patients who are done with braces, every patient in this practice knows that they matter to Dr. Wilmot and her team. In fact, the practice has become so popular within the

community that they recently added another orthodontist, Dr. Haylee Humes, who joined the Gwinnett Orthodontics team in February of 2020 after completing her orthodontic specialty residency program. Dr. Humes attended the University of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia. Like Dr. Wilmot, Dr. Humes is a Board-certified orthodontist, and they both strive to provide the best care and smiles possible. She fits right in with the rest of the group because Dr. Humes is genuinely excited about seeing each of her patients. “We really do love our patients, and we care about each of them a lot!” said Dr. Humes. “It’s fun to run into them out in the community and get a chance to say hello.” Being part of the community is a high priority for Gwinnett Orthodontics. Kids in local Lilburn schools had the chance to see a special dental health presentation by Drs. Wilmot and Humes, as they taught kids about why taking care of their teeth is so important. They even brought their mascot, a dog puppet named Pop Tart, who has become a much-beloved part of the presentation. “I want to educate kids about taking care of their teeth for a lifetime,” Dr. Wilmot said. The office also offers educational opportunities to high school students. They have hosted over a dozen high school interns who are interested in pursuing dentistry or other health care fields. Dr. Wilmot enjoys educating and mentoring these young students as they learn about what makes her field so interesting. When they are not giving presentations at schools, the

Celebrating 20+ Years Years Of Making Smiles Blossom!

Gwinnett Orthodontics team can be found at an annual breast cancer walk to raise funds for breast cancer research. Though they are not sure if the walk is happening in 2020, they still work to raise funds in the office. For instance, for patients who choose to get pink colors on their braces, the office makes a donation to the research cause. Continued on page 9




l a u t Vir nsult o C A m


“Where “Where Smiles Smiles Blossom” Blossom”

Janice J. Wilmot DMD • MS • PC Gwinnett Orthodontics Janice J. Wilmot DMD • MS • PC ORTHODONTIC SPECIALIST ORTHODONTIC SPECIALIST


Includes a digital panoramic x-ray and photographs. A $190 value


• • •


Janice J. Wilmot DMD, MS Haylee N. Humes DMD 956 Killian Hill Road Suite D Lilburn, GA 30047

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Gwinnett’s premier event destination for 23 years!

Our Town Gwinnett/NE DeKalb Community & Family Magazine

Publisher/Owner Ryan T. Sauers Creative Director Elsie Olson

Editor Catherine L. Osornio Photography Gena Ford Photography Distribution Coordinator DeeDee Chapman

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Feature Writers K. Coats Kristen Eleveld Ron Lambros Amy Ney Emily Rubin Traci Sanders Beth Volpert Johansen

Contributing Writers Bill Crane Rev. Rodrigo Cruz Terie Hansen Jasper Watkins III

— An EndResultZ Media & Communications firm Our Town Gwinnett is published and direct mailed to select homes in the Gwinnett /NE DeKalb area. Opinions expressed by the writers and staff are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher. Our Town Gwinnett reserves the right to edit and/or reject any editorial or advertising content. Our Town Gwinnett is not responsible for errors in advertising beyond the cost of the space or for the validity of claims made by advertisers. Entire contents copyright 2020 by Our Town Gwinnett. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden in any media without written permission from the publisher.

Stay Connected! @OurTownGwinnett @OurTownGwinnett @OurTownGwinnett

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IN THIS ISSUE 5 On the Cover: The Team That Makes You Smile: Welcome to

Gwinnett Orthodontics 7 From the Publisher: One Man’s Opinion 9 Op-Ed: Up Close with Gwinnett County District 3 10 Chaplain’s Corner: Overwhelmed with Digital Learning? 11 Crane’s Corner: It’s in the Mail 12 Community Spotlight: Everyone Deserves a Good Landing 13 School Supplies and a Lesson in Hope 14 A “Hole” Lot of Fun 15 More Than the 3 Rs 17 SportsTalk: Relentless is Parkview High’s Pursuit 19 Business RadioX: Raising the Voices of the Business Community 20 Pet Perch: Who Advocates for Your Dog, You or Your Dog? 21 Forever Young: 100 Years and Counting

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From the Publisher:

1988 - 2020

One Man’s Opinion

5440 Webb Pkwy., Lilburn, GA 30047

By Ryan T. Sauers


Eddie’s Automotive Service


Hey there, Our Town Gwinnett Community. I appreciate all of you so very much. Also, I want to thank each of you for being a unique and special person. We are all created in God’s image and desire to have relationships with other people. I may not know all of you, but your feedback and encouragement to me is greatly appreciated. And it helps me in writing these columns and other things I do. Iron sharpens iron. So, let me share some things on my mind in September 2020. Let me encourage you all to the consider the time we are living in. It is tough. Unprecedented. Lonely. Frustrating. Confusing. Overwhelming. Unknown, and much more. Quite frankly, there are no real words that are good enough to encompass or describe 2020 – and things keep changing. We are living history that will be studied for years. In such an environment where we are isolated a lot more than we are used to, we often turn to social media to interact and express ourselves. There is nothing wrong with these tools and I use most of them. However, social media can be toxic. These amazing tools of communication can create great division and can seemingly push our buttons and/or push us over the edge. So, if what we post divides people, puts people down, or is not encouraging in nature, then maybe we should think twice before posting. Right? I hope we can give each other the benefit of the doubt, and love more, listen better, judge less, care more, smile, and be patient. We all need to be loved and told it is all going to be okay. IT WILL. This too SHALL pass. Trust me, I do not profess to have mastered all these things, and I work on them each day. Also, realize there are a lot of real and raw emotions we have in us due to this time. This is normal. Let us seek to help each other and not judge each other. Despite all we are facing, we will get there. But we can only do so “shoulder to shoulder” Continued on page 15

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5329 Five Forks Trickum Lilburn, GA 30047 (770) 931-8333 Phone “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

In 1999 I experienced unemployment, divorce and being a single mom of a young child all at the same time. And I will forever be grateful for places like the Lilburn Co-op that helped me fill in the gaps. I tell you my story so you know that when you help, in whatever way you can you will know that you are helping a neighbor in our community.

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We are blessed. Blessed with a roof over our heads and food on the table. We have clean drinking water and we sleep safely at night. But, for many that seemed to change overnight this year. So I’m asking, If you can please help, or if you need help, like I did, give them a call.

Thank you Lilburn Co-op. May God Bless your pantry with overflowing supplies!

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fresh start program The Sheridan at Hobe Sound has a waitlist that is growing every day! People are eager to get settled into our community and have services at their fingertips. Mindful of the economic impact of the past several months, we are offering unprecedented pricing and incentives.

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Op-Ed: Up Close with Gwinnett County District 3

Welcome to Gwinnett Orthodontics Continued from page 5

By Jasper Watkins III What is a commissioner responsible for? What does a commissioner do for us here in Gwinnett County, and why is that important to you? My website provides my background and qualifications, which brings us to the general election on November 3rd. Gwinnett needs diverse leadership at the table – representation that includes experienced leadership, smart decision making, and someone who can rally our communities, municipalities, and local businesses during and after this pandemic to work together towards economic recovery and a healthy future. We are at a pivotal point in determining how we want to move forward; it is about the “collective us.” We can make the difference together here in Gwinnett County. We are neither victims nor sheep, and we have a choice of how we progress as Gwinnett County citizens. “Let’s choose Progress together,” and put Gwinnett First. I see the explosive growth in District 3 – extensive approval of housing initiatives, infrastructure, and business expansions, whether they are needed or not. I have attended council meetings where I have witnessed homeowners and concerned citizens voicing their opinions to both the Gwinnett County Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners on all the traffic congestion and school overcrowding, only to have approvals/non- approvals moved down the calendar for an up and down vote where the scheduling for public engagement is not made easy. We can do better folks, and we will. I can help move Gwinnett forward. My goals are to address infrastructure expansion (water, sewage, traffic), and transportation infrastructure (roads, traffic flow, transit service improvements). This will be done with transparency (having access to your commissioner, counsels/committees and open forums, and the establishment of a communications portal for feedback and response). I want to provide some answers as to what the powers and responsibilities of a county commissioner are: • Build and maintain roads, bridges • Plan, review, prepare, and decide on the annual budget for the county • Provide for the protection of the general health and welfare of county residents • Build and maintain stormwater and sewage systems • Promote economic and industrial development • Undertake comprehensive planning, zoning, and development controls • Provide emergency management (sheriff, law enforcement, fire response) As I close, I do want to take a moment to recognize a major achievement for the board under the leadership of Chairwoman Nash. The Gwinnett Development Authority and Board of Commissioners recently approved up to $70 million to build a research center to be located near Dacula that will position District 3 and the County to become a critical player Continued on page 16

You may also notice something else when you walk in the doors. They are very comfortable with the latest technology for orthodontic care. Whether it is minimizing teeth impressions through the use of scanners, and the use of aligners, like Invisalign, to straighten the teeth, every member of this team embraces technology trends so they can offer the best to their patients. They even have an option for virtual appointments where you can send pictures of your teeth from your phone to a secure link to receive advice and help from someone on staff. The chairside assistants are also certified by the State of Georgia in orthodontics, meaning that any staff member who helps you is prepared to give you the best care available. If you have been looking for an orthodontist, your search is over. Gwinnett Orthodontics will be your first and last stop. They see children starting at age seven to adults of all ages! Find out how Drs. Wilmot and Humes and their team can give you the smile you have always wanted. More information at

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• Phone consult prior to photo session • Outdoor or Indoor Social Distancing Photo Session • Ask about our NEW Contemporary Classic themed Photo Session

Providing Quality and Convenient Medical Care. We are an online urgent care providing services right from the comfort of your home. All visits are via video conference.

Our Services: • • • • • •

• Pink Eye • Skin Rash Sinus infection Tooth ache (Dental infection) • UTI • Mild Vaginal Discharge Common cold • STD exposure (Prophylactive Sore throat Treatment) Minor Cough • Muscle aches and pain Allergies Medication Refill (Please have your prescription bottle available) We will not refill Narcotics or Psychoactive medications

Call 706-705-2621 to schedule your appointments

#EquipToThrive In today's world, it can be difficult to help our children fully become who God has created them to be. Providence Christian Academy comes alongside you to provide innovative programs and attentive staff that will help equip them for life's challenges. Come and discover how we can help your family move from surviving to thriving.


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Chaplain’s Corner: Overwhelmed with Digital Learning? By Rev. Dr. Rodrigo Cruz I do not remember exactly which day of the week it was; somehow all days look and feel the same. But that morning as I walked into the dining room where two of five kids were digital learning, I heard Ben (age 5 years) and Gabe (age 8) having a disagreement about something. After a lot of yelling, I heard Gabe scream at Ben, “I just had enough of you,” and walked away. To be honest, while it was a little bit funny though not the best way to react, Ben’s behavior was simply a microcosm of what many of us are feeling. The more I have conversations with people during this pandemic season, the more I realize people are getting weary about it. In a lot of cases, they have had enough – enough of the stress because of the unknown, enough of financial struggles, enough of isolation that is leading to depression, enough of friends and family members getting sick, enough of anxiety with digital learning, and the list goes on and on. I really wish I could tell you that I can make it all go away, but I cannot do that. But what I can do is give you some words that can help you keep pressing on during this season of life. These are four simple steps that my wife and I tell ourselves every day during this digital learning season. We did not come up with them, we got them from a Bible story in the Old Testament from a prophet named Elijah. (See 1 Kings 19). As you are overwhelmed with life and digital learning, let me encourage you to do the following: 1. Do not run yourself into the ground. Take a moment to stop and breathe and be still. Maybe it’s time to stop running for a little bit; time to shift from a sprint and realize that we are in a marathon. 2. Do not shut people out. I tell my congregation repeatedly that life is hard enough to do it alone, that life is better together. Don’t shut people out of your life in these moments of Continued on page 14

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

Green Financial Resources, LLC These uncertain times may be impacting your finances in a variety of new ways. With 30 years of experience helping people in the good times and the bad, we can help you with financial guidance for whatever situations you are facing at this time. We remain open for telephone contact, and are here to help.

Call 770.931.1414 to schedule a no-cost telephone consultation to discuss your investment accounts, retirement plan, job change, small business concerns, and more! Special No-Cost ZOOM Class - Medicare Supplement Seminar

For those age 65+, this session will help you analyze the many Medicare combinations available to narrow your choices and find the best options for your situation. Wednesday, August 26 1:00-3:00pm via Zoom. Simply call 770.931.1414 to sign up.

Successful Retirement Strategies (SRS) October 20 & 27

October 22 & 29

Two Tuesdays - 6:15-9:15pm Two Thursdays - 6:15-9:15pm Gwinnett Tech - Alpharetta Campus Gwinnett Tech - Sugarloaf Campus $99 for you and a guest $99 for you and a guest

Registration: SRS will be found under the Hobbies & Personal Enrichment section. Questions about registration? Call the Continuing Education Dept. at 678.226.6739.3

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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Crane’s Corner: It’s in the Mail

Day School Sessions

Two 4-hour sessions: morning 8-12 | afternoon 1-5

By Bill Crane “To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” said US Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in testimony before the US House of Representatives. When was the last time you sent someone a hand-written letter or mailed birthday or Christmas cards to friends and family? How much of your own mail stream at home is comprised of bills and junk mail? During this pandemic how much shopping have you done online? The US Postal Service (USPS) delivers billions of letters, parcels, and bulk and commercial classes of mail annually to almost every household and commercial business address, as well as millions of P.O. boxes across the country. Our USPS has a 9-member board that appoints the US Postmaster General, who, behind the president of the United States, is currently our second highest-paid civil servant. The USPS employs roughly 497,000, making it larger than the US Army and the Veterans Administration, the second-largest agency attached to our federal government. Over the past decade, thousands of blue mailboxes across the country have been removed and retired in an effort that began during the Obama Administration. Most parcels will not fit into those mailboxes, and as first-class mail volume has declined, the costs of maintaining and servicing those boxes each day have been static. Yet despite their removal, the USPS still daily moves nearly 500-million items each day. A long-range USPS plan, which long pre-dates Postmaster LeJoy’s tenure (which began in June 2020 during the pandemic), called for removing roughly 10 percent of aging, larger sorting machines (671 across the country). California was slated for the largest number of machines scheduled for retirement (59), followed by Florida (59), Texas (58), New York (52), and Ohio (34). Only Alaska was spared from the current sorter de-commissioning list. This number of machines targeted for removal during 2020 – if functioning at full capacity – could handle roughly 21.4 million pieces of paper mail per day, again against a total of nearly half a billion pieces of mail being handled each day. What do those sorters do? • Facer-canceler systems add barcodes to incoming mail to allow for tracking and to expedite mail moving from end to end • Barcode sorters separate labeled mail by ZIP code, and then sub-sort into a delivery sequence by route carrier • Flat sorting and sequencing machines handle larger and out-sized flat mail pieces, but these machines are more prone to jamming and under-performing, and many mail handlers say they are unreliable and simply prefer sorting these flats by hand Absentee and mail-in ballots are both first-class mail. An absentee ballot requires a “request” for that ballot, via mail, email, phone, or online request to their state or local election office. This demonstrates that the ballot is going to a registered voter. Five states currently (Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah, and Washington state) handle almost ALL balloting by mail-in voting, meaning that a ballot is automatically mailed, at every election, to every registered voter for casting. Earlier this year, the USPS warned that it may be difficult, with the surge of absentee and mail-in voting, for the post office to guarantee timely delivery of ALL ballots when it does not control nor is even aware of all the ballot receipt deadlines in each state (which vary). California, as one example, will tabulate ballots delivered up to one week following an election. But even if all 350 million Americans cast their ballots by mail and secured a postmark before election day, and mailed those ballots the week of the election, the vast majority of those ballots will all be delivered in time for tabulation. But the USPS does NOT otherwise guarantee a time frame for the delivery of first-class mail; it only holds a priority, with Express and Priority Mail already in line ahead of it. However, in this age of manufactured crises, and this president also often being his own worst enemy – or at least his thumbs – removing aging postal sorters has become a Constitutional crisis. Vote early, in person if you can, and assist your friends and family members who cannot do so with voting by absentee or mail, and dropping their ballot in the mail, or in an elections office drop box at least the week prior to Tuesday, November 3, 2020, and our USPS will handle the rest. And ZIP code, not machine sorters, moves the mail. Crane is the senior political analyst with WSB Radio and TV and owns the full-service communications consulting firm, CSI Crane. More information at

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1. Open Your Phone’s Camera 2. Hover over QR Code

Community Spotlight: Everyone Deserves a Good Landing

3. Click the Link that Drops Down

By Traci Sanders

This is it! We need you! Vote early for November 3rd. Elect

Jasper Watkins III Commissioner District 3 Gwinnett County (Auburn, Braselton, Centerville, Dacula, Grayson, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Loganville, Mountain Park & Snellville)

Decisive, Determined, Dependable Military Decorated Registered Pharmacist & Licensed Nuclear Pharmacist Gwinnett Rotary & Chamber of Commerce VFW Post 5255 & American Legion Post 232 Medical Reserve Corps GEM I’m Jasper Watkins III, a decorated military veteran, civic leader, and a 14-year resident of Gwinnett County. I need your support to win on November 3rd. I’m committed and excited to become the next County Commissioner of District 3, Gwinnett County. Throughout my 25 years of military service and 15 years of private sector experience, I have devoted my life’s work to serving my community and defending our nation’s principals. My goal is to unite us with a sensible platform that restores economic security for the middle class, invests in workforce development, creating good-paying jobs, building a clean energy economy, and removes barriers to business opportunities to jump-start our economy post-pandemic. Moreover, I will address our everyday concerns about the safety of our neighborhoods, protecting our voting rights, justice reform, transportation infrastructure investments, smart mixed-use development, fiscal accountability, and diversity with inclusivity. In less than two years, Gwinnett County will have more than 1.5 million residents!

Now is the time to decide to protect our future quality of life by creating an upward cycle of prosperity for the 21st Century. Committee to Elect Jasper Watkins III 1911 Grayson Highway, Ste.8-233, Grayson, GA 30017



Anyone who has ever been affected by addiction of any kind knows how lonely the journey to recovery can be. Thankfully, there are programs like Good Landing Recovery to ease the pain on that path. I recently spoke to Trey Lewis, the founder and CEO of Good Landing Recovery, based out of Dacula, who shared with me that he, too, was an addict at one point in his life and fully understands the loneliness and feeling of isolation involved on the path to recovery. Lewis served as an active member of the US Air Force and attended Mercer University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Safety Leadership. When Lewis developed an addiction to drugs and alcohol, he spent years going through ten different programs, but finally found freedom from the addiction through spiritual recovery when he was saved in Christ at age twenty-five. Lewis served as a minister for many years, which played a huge part in him founding the faith-based program Good Landing Recovery in 2017 to share his story of transformation and to offer real and lasting results through spiritual redemption to inspire others on their path of addiction. The goal is to not only allow the participants to come out healed from their addiction, but also to be empowered to lead a purpose-filled life to inspire others. Good Landing Recovery is staffed by thirty professionals including seven therapists, two nurse practitioners, worship leaders, a professional psychiatrist, and a host of others trained to offer spiritual guidance and practical strategies to overcome addiction and to help participants go from tragedy to triumph. Volunteers are welcomed as well to offer more community support throughout the process. The program is strongly community-based and encourages group support through fun outings and adventures that strengthen relationships, though medical and psychological services are available as needed as well. The core program is structured to last for ninety days, with recovery residence and out-patient care available, but is flexible to extend or be shortened if necessary, and follow-up care plans are in place to help clients stay on track and feel supported. Good Landing Recovery is licensed by the Department of Community Health and is CARF, GARR, and NARR certified. Men and women from all walks of life travel from Continued on page 18

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School Supplies and a Lesson in Hope By K. Coats As the school year began to crank up in August, I told my kids that I was going to go and get their school supplies one Saturday morning. My daughter looked at me funny and said, “But Mom, why? We’re digital.” I thought about telling her that there would be items she would probably need regardless. I thought about explaining that there was a sale. I thought about several answers. But in the end, I gave her the one I had given myself. I told her, “I’m going to get school supplies because I have hope. I know that we’ll be back in the building at some point, and I want you to be ready.” Now things have shifted since that conversation, but in some ways the outlook remains. It is a similar answer I gave to one of my high school senior students last spring. He had written in his journal how he did not see the point of all the schoolwork because we were all in quarantine. I told him I understood his view and respected it, but I also pointed out that life will go on for most of us at some point when quarantine is over. We focus on that point, however distant, and we continue with the seemingly pointless because it helps us remember that there will be an end to this pandemic. It has not come as soon as we had thought, and right now the end is not readily visible. But it is there. And if we remember it is there and work towards that goal, we have something to hold on to. This is not the end, but there will be an end. Continued on page 18


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stress and isolation. Look for those who may be in a similar situation and let them be there for you. 3. Do not focus on the negative. I am not suggesting that your struggles and challenges are not real, but I want to encourage you that as overwhelming as your situation may be, you need to keep an eye on any upsides in the situation. There is grace in every situation, and while it may be hard to see it, it is there, trust me. 4. Do not forget God. I strongly believe that God is near all of us, regardless of our circumstances. Sometimes it may not feel like it, somedays we may not even believe it, but God is near. So do not forget to seek God. He is eager to listen and eager to engage in your life and walk this journey with you. I am not implying that if you follow these four steps your life will be happily ever after. But I do believe that if you take this approach, your life will be more manageable. Rodrigo Cruz is the Lead Pastor of The Nett Church. More information at

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On Thursday nights this fall, backyard bagtossers in the Lilburn area have a new way to test their fortitude against their neighbors, even during a pandemic. Popular on college campuses and at local watering holes, cornhole is played by teams attempting to toss bean bags through openings carved in wooden boards spaced 27 feet apart. A century-old pastime, cornhole’s current surge in popularity can be directly tied to televised matches appearing nationally on ESPN this summer. The professional American Cornhole League has continued to hold competitions, including a world championship, while other sports have had to pause. Old Town Lilburn restaurants Agavero Cantina Parkside and 1910 Public House have partnered with Cornhole ATL to bring Lilburn’s first Cornhole League to City Park. “We had ten teams and about thirty-five players participate this summer, and we are hoping to double that this fall,” explained Brian Burchik, Community Development Administrator for the City of Lilburn. For an entry fee of $47, teams of two players will be assured seven weeks of matches and a league shirt. Games are scored to 21, and matchups are best of 3 games at one match-up per week at their skill-level. “Our 7-week leagues include a season-ending tournament with a championship trophy and other prizes,” Burchik said. “The qualifying teams from each location will be eligible to compete in the larger State Championship Cornament with a chance to win additional prizes and get your team name on The Cup!” Players are organized into four skill-sets: Beginner can hit the board 1-2 times per 4 bags; Intermediate players can hit the board consistently and a few in the hole; Intermediate+ are high level Intermediate players, but unsure if they are Advanced, and; Advanced players will have all four bags are on the board or in the hole. “During COVID, there have been a lot of different online options for recreation programs,” said Burchik. “This is one of those things that we’re able to do and be socially distant.” Robert and Wendy Lynch of Lilburn signed up to play this fall with their friends. “Robert and I joined the cornhole league because we think it will be a fun competition in an environment of normalcy,” Wendy explained. “We appreciate the league providing this opportunity for camaraderie that people need during this time.” Players are outdoors and spread apart, and sanitizing stations are available. Players and spectators should wear masks and personal beanbags are available for purchase. “I like it because it truly is a game anyone can play,” Burchik said. “I’ve been beat by little kids. I have been run over by people much older than me. The park is a great location and fun for the entire family.” There is room for the family to come cheer on their favorite player. Also, the restaurants Continued on page 16

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By Ron Lambros School has begun in Gwinnett County, but even before it began, a great debate had ensued by almost everyone across the nation, our state, and our county: digital learning or in-class education? Now, I have no dog in this hunt – well, maybe I do. While my two children graduated from high school in 2000 and 2001, four of my six grandchildren are in elementary school. So like everyone else, I have an opinion and a perspective on the good and the bad of both methods. I am well aware that feelings run deep in both camps, and there are many who are far more educated to make an impassioned case for each method of educating our children. But I’d like to join the crowd, grab a megaphone, and state my case. COVID-19 has tossed our entire way of doing anything into a blender. We’re in uncharted waters, making decisions on the fly almost daily. And when that happens, people either agree or disagree – strongly – with each decision, especially when it comes to our children and their well-being. The results? Protests, honking horns, frustration, and the feeling that nothing will ever be the same again. Putting politics aside, my main concern has been for my grandchildren and all the children currently enrolled in every educational system throughout the country who are forced to learn digitally. I know in many ways it is the only safe way of educating during a pandemic, but I grieve for each one of them who are losing out on one of the fundamental elements of growing up – relationships. We’re all aware of the 3 Rs of education: reading, writing, and arithmetic. But we need to add relationships to the mix. If we don’t, the damage could affect our children for generations to come. Face it, our children spend far too much time on electronic devices as it is. With their smartphones, iPads, and computers, they’ve forgotten how to communicate and socially interact with others who are just as wrapped up with theirs. They are dependent on these devices to maintain their perception of normalcy. It is how they define their world. Now, to make these devices the very avenue for their education makes them even more vulnerable to the ill-effects that may follow. When I think back to being in school, I remember the teaching, the homework, the tests, and the structure of it all. But the thing I remember most fondly are the friends who were right there with me, the relationships that were forged, and the education that was gained by social interaction, that taught me more about life than a book ever could. It is sad to think that our children will miss out on most of this due to all that is happening in our schools today. I loved to read and write, and arithmetic and history were my favorite subjects. But I also loved my buddies that I spent seven hours a day with who taught me what real friends do, and share, and make possible when you just have fun. No smartphone, iPad, or computer can replace that. It is far too special. I earnestly pray for those in authority who are making the tough calls when it comes to our kids and their education. I know whatever they decide, they will not please everyone. But I’d like to think that each of them will take just a moment and remember the relationships, the friendships, they had when they were children in school, and remember just how special and important they really were in their growing-up years. If they do, maybe they will make the right decisions for all our children everywhere. It will be the best thing they can ever do. More information at

One Man’s Opinion Continued from page 7 and “side by side.” We must remain UNITED and not become UNTIED. Finally, we must be extra careful if we are posting when we are frustrated, overwhelmed, sad, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, etc. So, to all my family, friends, colleagues, and to this community, you are the best. We can do this, we will do this, we will prevail – and we will prevail together! Keep Pushing Forward. I wish all of you the best, and thank you for continuing with me on the journey of my town, your town, OUR TOWN!

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Op-Ed Continued from page 9 in the medicine, agricultural, and environmental industries, providing new and leading-edge scientific discoveries. Having worked and collaborated with members of research parks and the scientific community, I see this as just one of many new and exciting economic development opportunities that will keep Gwinnett the Preferred Place to Live. Thanks, and I appreciate your vote! More information at

A “Hole” Lot of Fun Continued from page 14 are serving food and beverages, and patrons can carry adult beverages within the boundaries of Lilburn City Park. “Lilburn City Park has proven to be the perfect spot for Cornhole, and we have a hard time believing there is a better location in the state of Georgia for these fun events,” Burchik added. “We look forward to seeing everyone there.” More information at


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SportsTalk: Relentless is Parkview High’s Pursuit By Amy Ney “Relentless” is the word of the year at Parkview High School. Nick Gast, Parkview’s Athletic Director, shared, “Our coaches came up with our word, and I think it’s so great for this year. It reminds me that you do not have to love the hard work. You just must crave the end result so much that the work becomes irrelevant. We have been thrown a lot of curveballs this year, but we will relentlessly pursue our goals.” Parkview athletic teams began conditioning and having practices in June, following strict CDC guidelines. “I am proud of our coaches,” Gast said. “They have done a remarkable job with protocols and keeping players and coaches safe.” And even though the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has pushed back opening season games for football and cheer competitions, Gast is excited about this fall. “We have gone to completely cash-free ticketing,” he explained. “Spectators will need to purchase tickets at the website or in person with a credit card. This will also allow us to limit the capacity set by the GHSA.” The website also offers student season tickets, which helps prevent loss and theft of tickets. “This digital ticket option will be great, all the way around.” Gast also noted that masks are mandatory inside all Gwinnett County Facilities and highly recommended outdoors. Coach Jenell Godfree’s volleyball team made it to the second-round playoffs last year in her inaugural season. “We will pick up where we left off,” said Gast, excited about this year’s prospects. Already, off to a great start, the team is 10-5, in their division. They will celebrate their seniors on September 8th, including Godfree’s daughter, Jordan, a starting Continued on page 22

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School Supplies and a Lesson in Hope Continued from page 13

various parts of the country to be part of this program. Most insurance plans are accepted, and customers are offered a range of affordable, customized services. Twenty-five percent of revenue goes back into non-profits and ministries in the area. Lewis also hosts a weekly podcast on Wednesdays at 7 a.m. Eastern called The Comeback: From Addiction to Redemption, where he spotlights guests who offer insight into addiction and recovery, along with other various empowering topics. The podcast is an extension of the company’s mission statement: Your comeback starts here. We build champions. When I asked Lewis what he would love for people to know about Good Landing Recovery, he replied, “Christian Faith-based recovery is more effective than any other type. God is still in the business of saving lives. No one is too far gone to be reached and set free.” It certainly sounds like Trey Lewis has proven this statement to be true, since Good Landing Recovery is now the largest stand-alone, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient program in the Atlanta area, faith-based or not. More information at

It does seem easy to forget that small point, though, doesn’t it? Our initial thoughts on how long this would last vary from a couple of weeks to maybe a couple of months. And that imaginary deadline, that goal, kept on changing until we quit really looking. Author Albert Camus once wrote, “After a while you could get used to anything,” and I think we have gotten used to not knowing. But that is vastly different than not hoping. I hope that we will safely be able to return to life as we knew it. I hope my kids’ school can open safely where we are all confident. So I will continue to teach, albeit digitally, and my kids will continue to learn, also digitally, but I will go and buy school supplies because I know one day we will get this virus to a point where life can go on outside of quarantine. We will be able to pick up and move forward. We will not be picking up where we left off, of course, but maybe if we remember there will eventually be an end, we can pick up at a better spot than where we were. So, get the school supplies and do not forget to look ahead and remember there will be an end – however distant it may seem.

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In the best of times and in the worst of times, one thing is true for all business owners: they need an outlet to let their voice be heard. While each business addresses this need in its own way, there are several Gwinnett businesses that have taken advantage of one of the best resources in town to get their message to the commu(678) 314-6068 nity. It might not be what you think it is – unless, of course you were thinking of Business RadioX. For the last eight years, the Gwinnett location of Business RadioX has made it their mission to give local businesses a platform for their voice and thoughts, along with the opportunity to let the community know why their business makes a difference for Gwinnett. While the word “radio” is in the company name, it is more accurate to think of this business as a podcast producer and content creator for business leaders, available for anyone to listen to at his or her convenience. DECEMBER “The internet is changing the landscape of broadcasting,” said Mike Sammond, who owns COUPON the Gwinnett studio and comes from a long career in the broadcasting industry. “Most people are listening in their cars, or while exercising, or even at work.” It is true that this form of broadcasting, while newer to many, is certainly effective, because it is literally always accessible. Whether you are listening through iTunes or pulling up a 66these MaincomStreet Lilburn at City Park 66 Main Street podcast on your Spotify app, there are dozens of ways for people to hear what Purchase of $25 Hours: Tues-Thur 12–8PM • Fri & Sat 12–9PM • Sunday 12–8PM at City munity leaders have to say. Lilburn Park or more. Mike and his team, including Director of Marketing/Business Development Amanda Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-9 • ClosedperMonday One Coupon table. 314-6068 Pearch, have eschewed(678) the traditional sales methods of cold calls and knocking on doors for Cannot be combined a much more refreshing approach to finding businesses who want to create a podcast. with other offers Continued on page 22 Expires 12/31/19

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Forever Young: 100 Years and Counting By Ron Lambros “Only look back to see how far you’ve come.” – Winnie the Pooh Walk down the halls of Benton House of Grayson, and you will soon find the smiles and laughter of Ms. Agnes Wansley, a four-year resident of the assisted living facility. You will quickly realize that she is no ordinary lady. She is unique in so many ways, including the fact that she has beaten the odds and is about to become one of the less than 2% of the United States population and celebrate her 100th birthday. That’s a century of living and a treasure-trove of memories. Agnes was born on September 9, 1920, just a couple of years after World War I ended, and the very same year that women were given the right to vote. She would grow up in the throes of the Great Depression, live through several more wars, survive numerous epidemics and pandemics, and manage to fill her heart and mind with the precious memories that overcame numerous trials and adversity. “I consider myself a native Georgian,” she proudly says. “I grew up in Jessup, worked and got married in Savannah, raised my family in Clarkston, and lived in Stone Mountain and Loganville, before moving to my current residence in Grayson.” And in-between Jessup and Grayson, she’s packed in a lot of living! “Growing up during the Great Depression, we were poor, but we never went hungry,” she says. “We lived in a two-room house that we shared with another family. My mother and father sort of spoiled me. We had no money and very few toys, so we played hopscotch, marbles, jump rope, roller skated and shared a bicycle from time to time. We didn’t have a lot, but we made the most of it and had a good time.” Agnes loved music and loved to dance. Glenn Miller was one of her favorites, and she loved to dance to the popular music of the day, songs like “Tennessee Waltz,” “As Time Goes By,” “Moonlight Serenade,” and “Chattanooga Choo-Choo.” She started dancing when she was nine and never quit. “I could dance all night with any man or boy who could keep up,” she jokingly admits. Dances like the Jitterbug, Swing, Boogie-Woogie, and others kept her happily occupied as she grew up, and eventually led her to meet her future husband, Neal Wansley, an all-state end in football from Lincolnton, Georgia. Neal had enlisted in the Navy at the onset of World War II and was stationed in Savannah, where they met. “We were both attending an Soldiers’ Social Services of Savannah dance on the base,” she says. “On a bet, he made a date with me and, like they say, the rest is history.” Neal won the bet and won a bride in the process. “We raised two children, have three grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren. I am immensely proud of my family.” Thinking back over the past 100 years, Agnes looks at her life as a true blessing. “Compared to today,” she says, “I grew up in a good time. The world today is not in a good place. Everyone is mean, bad, and unkind to one another. There is too much fighting and killing going on and it makes me sad.” She thinks back to kinder, gentler times of going to movies on Saturday and watching the serials, dancing to the jukebox at Snooky’s Drug Store, and watching American Bandstand on television. “I do really hope that the world will wake up and smell the roses and change their ways to those of goodness, kindness, and respect. I include that wish in my nightly prayers.” Agnes’ faith has always been a constant in her life. “I have a deep faith in God and believe that it is His plan to keep me on this earth for this length of time,” she says. “I love my church and Sunday School class, and have really missed attending due to the virus. My church is my second family. And I pray every night, asking for God’s help and to bless my family and friends. I know that my time on this earth is short, but I believe that because of my belief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, I will make it to Heaven.” Of course, the question begged to be asked, “To what do you attribute your longevity?” I thought she would surely say it was because she never smoked, never drank, never did drugs; or that she stayed active and busy, traveling abroad or being actively involved at the Benton House; or that modern inventions and technologies have made it possible. Her answer? “Burnt toast,” she laughingly says. “I have two pieces of burnt toast most mornings for breakfast. If it isn’t black, I send it back for more toasting. My children say I’ve lived so long because of the charcoal in my body that filters out the bad stuff!” Whatever it is and whatever she’s done, on September 9th, Agnes will officially join the ranks of a Centenarian. She is a living testimony of the expression that “it’s not the years in the life that matter; it’s the life in the years.” Happy Birthday, Ms. Agnes! Something tells me you will blow out all 100 candles in a single breath! More information at

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named the 7-A Player of the Year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is the highestrated senior running back in Georgia and the No. 7 player at the position nationally, according to 247Sports. He torched Harrison Bailey’s Marietta squad for 197 rushing yards and two touchdowns in Parkview’s final game of the 2019 season. “Cody is a special player who will be really fun to watch this season,” Gast said. “The best thing about this year’s team is that we have so many weapons, on both sides of the ball, that it will be hard for opposing teams to key on any one area. It will be a balanced attack!” More information at

Relentless is Parkview High’s Pursuit Continued from page 17 setter/outside hitter. “The seniors this year are all standouts,” Gast added. Seniors include Meg Youngblood playing libero, Sarah Ramsey as setter, Tai Ragland as middle hitter, Audrey Noyseng as defensive specialist, and CC Halsey as the outside hitter. Godfree has high expectations about the season. The Cross-Country team is poised to do very well this year, especially under the continued leadership of coaches Mike Demarest and Richard King. The girls had the best time trials in years, and the boys’ team was also excellent. Gast predicts the cross-country team has excellent potential to place in the top at state. Demarest and King are excited about four specific runners: Emma Geaney, Abi Debebe, Jaimie Chen, and Haley Primm. Combined, they logged over 1,500 miles in summer training. The team has a few great candidates who have had solid opening performances, including, Abby Hall, Gracie Geaney, Zhari Maxineau and Catalina Giang. According to Demarest, Andrew Todd made a monster jump from last season after running more than 600 miles this summer. Caden Hall is battling back after a minor injury, and Antonio Valenti, who transferred from California, has stepped right in and is looking strong. Rounding out Parkview’s top seven male runners is Martin Robles, Jack Holcomb, and Xavier Turner. Demarest said, “We also have a good-looking freshman team, namely Gabe Mares.” The team had its first race of the season on August 22 where the Varsity Girls took 3rd and Varsity Boys took 6th. The JV squads took 3rd and 4th for girls, and 3rd and 5th in boys. Last year, Jessica Sinclair took the position as head coach for the Panthers. Gast expects her success will continue this season. The team reached the Elite Eight of the state playoffs and won the region championship. A lot of talent graduated last year, but this year will be especially exciting. “We have some great upperclassman this year,” said Gast, “as well as two talented freshman that will be playing varsity, Braelyn Queen and Olivia Kotowski.” The Corky Kell Classic is set to kick off the 2020 high school football season with the largest and most wide-ranging lineup in the event’s twenty-nine-year history. The game was relocated and moved back, but will span across four days for the first time. It will have nine separate venues showcasing a total of nine games, all on television. Parkview will then host its first game against Mountain View. This season looks to be exciting and prosperous for Parkview. The Panthers are currently ranked fourth in the state and running back, Cody Brown, who has scored 53 touchdowns, is projected to garner the majority of the offensive touches to start the 2020 season. Brown was

Voices of the Business Community Continued from page 19 “We believe in service-led leadership,” Mike said. “If we serve others, we know things will come together for us.” This attitude has created a solid rapport between Business RadioX and the business community, and word has quickly traveled that leveraging the services that Business RadioX offers can mean big things for your business. While the podcast is certainly the main event, so to speak, the team at Business RadioX offers even more services to help each client make the most of his or her opportunity to reach the community. “Think of us as an extension of your marketing team,” said Amanda, who has been in the sales and marketing industry for over a decade. “We will promote your podcast on your social media platforms as well as our own.” With over 40 million live listens, downloads, and on-demand plays across the Business RadioX network, it is easy to see what makes this partnership so beneficial for the companies that utilize its services. If you think a podcast is the right step for your company, but you’re not wild about the idea of being the host, Business RadioX will even host your podcast for you to help you get your message out. “We are here to amplify voices every day,” Amanda said. If you are ready to dive into the world of podcasts, Mike and Amanda and the rest of their team stand ready to help you. You can email Amanda at to find out what steps you need to take next to make this idea a reality for your business and have your voice amplified to the community. “We are pro-business,” Mike said, “and we want to share the good work your business is doing.” More information at

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