Friday, April 24, 2009

Gwinnett Launces Healthy Lifestyle Program

Gwinnett County’s Health and Human Services Division is producing a new television program that engages, informs and entertains its viewers, Growing in Gwinnett. The show includes interactive segments that incorporate exercise, cooking and an interview, and is the first program of its kind on TVgwinnett, the County’s government access cable television station.

Producer Melanie Miller says, “Growing in Gwinnett is unique because it truly represents diversity in Gwinnett County as the show’s talent is made up of people from Hispanic, Caucasian, African-American and Asian descent.”

The show is hosted by Adrienne Noble, who also serves as information and referral specialist in Health and Human Services. Noble conducts interviews with experts on a particular topic related to the show’s theme.

The program also features Virginia Watson, a nationally-certified personal trainer and deputy fire marshal. Watson leads the exercise segment of the show, which provides helpful fitness techniques to viewers. The cooking segment is conducted by Inés Beltrán, family and consumer sciences agent with the County’s Extension Service, who serves up healthy meals and offers information about good nutrition.

The show’s tag line—Celebrating, Educating and Inspiring—is the goal for everyone involved in presenting timely topics that concern both younger and older generations of people through Growing in Gwinnett. A new episode focusing on various topics such as volunteerism, finances and education will air each month on TVgwinnett.

Gwinnett cable customers can access TVgwinnett on cable channel 23 or 25, depending on the cable provider. TVgwinnett programming is also available streaming and on demand at www.tvgwinnett.com, where viewers will also find a program guide.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gwinnett Commissioners to Accept Stimulus Funds

Work will begin soon on several “shovel-ready” transportation projects in Gwinnett after commissioners on Tuesday took actions required to receive about $38 million in federal stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

One project will extend McGinnis Ferry Road from its current end at Satellite Boulevard over I-85 and across Old Peachtree Road to a new junction with Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road. The bridge over I-85 has been designed to be long enough and wide enough to accommodate potential future ramps accessing the interstate. The project will also extend North Brook Parkway to Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, completing a four-lane road parallel to I-85 that begins as Shackleford Road at Beaver Ruin Road.

Another project will build a new, four-lane bridge on Gravel Springs Road (State Route 324) over I-85 near Mall of Georgia. The County recently completed road widening there from SR 20 to SR124. The project will also relocate Camp Branch Road and Morgan Road away from I-85 to improve access to and from SR 324 at both roads. Similar to the McGinnis Ferry Road project, the SR 324 design includes a bridge over I-85 that will accommodate potential future ramps to allow interstate access.

The Board’s actions on the McGinnis Ferry Road project included approval of condemnation proceedings for 25 parcels of land. Along with approximately 50 other parcels the County is currently purchasing, this action allows the County to certify to the Georgia DOT that all of the land needed to build the project has been obtained. Additionally, an agreement with Jackson Electric Membership Cooperative will allow them to proceed with moving their facilities as needed.

Commissioners approved a separate agreement with the state transportation department to allow the County to complete right-of-way acquisition for the SR 324 project and agreed to condemnation proceedings for 10 parcels and a purchase and sale agreement for another parcel. These actions, together with the acquisition of 18 other parcels of land, will allow the County to certify that all of the land needed to construct the project has been obtained.

The Board also approved work resulting from a value engineering study of the SR 324 project from its designer, Gresham Smith Associates. The $55,000 in design changes is expected to reduce construction costs by about $550,000.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New County Bank will Exchange Environmental Mitigation Credit

When construction projects encroach on protected waterways or wetlands, federal laws require mitigation by either making environmental improvements nearby or buying credits from other projects that have already done so. Gwinnett County will soon be exchanging those credits through its own mitigation bank, recently approved by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

The County’s stormwater management division routinely restores eroded streambanks to protect water quality as required by state regulations. Now Gwinnett County will be able to use its own credits from those projects to offset the environmental damage of new road building or other construction projects. “Instead of buying these credits on the commercial market as we’ve had to do in the past, we will now be able to buy them from ourselves, keep the money in Gwinnett and use it for more stormwater projects,” explained Board of Commissioners Chairman Charles Bannister.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday adopted a formal policy for mitigation bank operations and delegated its management to County Administrator Jock Connell. Excess credits can also be sold to developers and others for non-County projects at the prevailing commercial rate.
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Gwinett to Undertake Solid Waste Study

What to do about solid waste collection and disposal was back on the Gwinnett County commission’s agenda again on Tuesday.

Commissioners officially extended the current system by renewing the residential and commercial solid-waste collection agreements with all 22 current haulers from May 1 through Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, there will be a new, six-month study of the issues that have tied up in court a proposed new system that was to have taken effect in January. The highest-scoring of three responders to the County’s request for proposals, R.W. Beck, Inc., whose Atlanta office is located at Colony Square, was awarded a contract in the amount of $131,467. They will study the history and current status of solid waste collection in Gwinnett, benchmark the County against its peers and analyze the business issues and possible options before seeking public input to help develop a new plan.

R.W. Beck, Inc. is an engineering-based management consulting company founded in Nebraska in 1942. It is now headquartered in Seattle with 24 regional offices. The firm has dealt with solid-waste management since the 1970s.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Companies Rally Again to Accept This Year's "Challenge"

A big draw for those looking to have fun and compete in both mentally and physically challenging activities, the Gwinnett Parks Foundation Corporate Challenge has attracted some of the top companies in Gwinnett over the past 10 years, raising more than $160,000 toward recreation scholarships. Returning teams so far this year include Agco, Auto Owners Insurance, Brand Mortgage Group, Cisco, Gwinnett County Government employees, Gwinnett County Police, Gwinnett Daily Post and WIKA, with commitments from many more teams.

This year the Challenge has been changed up a little to allow smaller companies and organizations to enter. “Some companies were unable to compete in all 12 activities and really wanted to be involved, so we created other levels that just include 3-4 activities with a lower entry fee,” said John Register, the Team Liaison for the Challenge. Now offered are the Corporate Cup (which allows team entry into all activities), the Leisure Cup, Team Cup, and Grand Slam Cup. A Gwinnett Corporate Challenge 5K Run will be held Sept. 19 and is open to all ages.

The Challenge runs from June through September and includes competitions in basketball, billiards, bowling, disc golf, golf, kickball, laser tag, sand volleyball, table tennis, tennis, trivia game night and a 5K Run.

“Teams really love to go for the gold each year,” said Peggy Levengood, President of the Gwinnett Parks Foundation. “They have a lot of fun competing against one another, while at the same time knowing they are helping to raise money for a great cause. We always welcome new companies and we have a few companies that combine together to form one team and companies where the employees pool their money together to pay the team entry fee. Once they get started they catch ‘going for the gold’ fever too!” Monies raised from the Gwinnett Parks Foundation Corporate Challenge allow children and senior citizens an opportunity to participate in summer camps, swim lessons and other recreation classes who may not have been financially able to do so.

Those wanting to find out how they too can become involved in the Challenge are invited to attend an informational Jump-Start Kickoff Meeting on Tues., April 28 at 6 p.m. at Rhodes Jordan Park Community Recreation Center, 100 E. Crogan St. in Lawrenceville. An early-bird special for the Corporate Cup level runs through April 30, giving companies $100 off the entry fee. The final sign-up date for all cup levels is May 20. For more information visit www.gwinnettparks.com or call John Register at 770-822-5454.
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RE/MAX Around Atlanta Collects Supplies for Gwinnett Families

Items accepted in Duluth office through May 31st

RE/MAX Around Atlanta joins Northeast Atlanta Metro Association of Realtors (NAMAR) members in five Gwinnett County real estate offices to collect food, infant clothing and funds for the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry and Joseph’s Storehouse Clothes Closet.

Part of NAMAR’s “Come Forward to Give Back” initiative, the collection is ongoing through May 31, 2009. Volunteers may drop food, infant clothing or monetary donations at:
• RE/MAX Around Atlanta, 2280 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth;
• Coldwell Banker, 1970 Main Street E #D, Snellville;
• Keller Williams – 2170 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth;
• Metro Brokers – 3330 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth; or
• Prudential – 1551 Janmar Road, Snellville.

“We understand that the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry served more than 1,100 families in January alone, which is more than twice the number they served in January of 2007,” says Sharon Dover, co-broker/owner of RE/MAX Around Atlanta. “They distribute more than 40,000 cans of food each month, and they provide limited financial assistance for utilities, prescriptions and emergency housing.”

The Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry, Inc. is an ecumenical organization sponsored and operated by an alliance of area churches, combining the resources of church members to meet the emergency needs of people in the community. For more information on the Ministry, visit www.LawrencevilleCo-op.org or call 770-339-7887.

Joseph’s Storehouse Clothes Closet is a Christian Outreach Ministry of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, which was created by Minister Joyce Dennison in 1999 to provide clothing and encouragement at no cost to all in need. For more information, call Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Lawrenceville at 770-962-1910.

About RE/MAX Around Atlanta:
The benefits of being with RE/MAX Around Atlanta are endless. The RE/MAX Around Atlanta School of Real Estate, accredited by the Georgia Real Estate Commission, offers RE/MAX Around Atlanta agents free three hour accredited courses each month to meet ongoing continuing education requirements. Additionally, the RE/MAX Around Atlanta New Agent Success Program is certified for 25 hour post-licensing continuing education requirements.

RE/MAX Around Atlanta, the 7th largest real estate company in Atlanta, helps people meet their goals, whether they are buying their first home, investing in commercial property, selling a home or launching a real estate career. RE/MAX Around Atlanta is successful because of its team of highly trained agents dedicated to maintaining high standards with a commitment to attaining the very best for their customers. For more information, visit www.AroundAtlantaPartners.com or call 770-495-3500.
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Sunday, April 12, 2009

State Sanctions Lifted During City/County Service Negotiations

Late Thursday afternoon, Gwinnett County received an order from the judge presiding over the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process between Gwinnett County and Gwinnett’s cities over the Service Delivery Strategy. The order lifted state sanctions against these local governments while in mediation. The current 10-year strategy, as set forth in state legislation that became effective in 1999, expired Feb. 28. Missing the deadline for a new 10-year strategy with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs placed Gwinnett and each of its cities in an “unqualified status.” The sanctions resulting from the unqualified status could have resulted in the loss of state administered financial assistance, grants, loans or permits to Gwinnett County and Gwinnett’s cities.

Superior Court Judge David E. Barrett, chief judge of the Enotah Judicial Circuit signed the order holding sanctions in abeyance during the mediation process. “The judge’s action allows us to work towards a long-term and equitable service delivery solution for every resident in Gwinnett County without the cities or county losing much needed immediate funding and state permitting” said Jock Connell.

A March 3 order holding sanctions in abeyance during the mediation process was opposed by attorneys representing Gwinnett’s cities because it was not signed by the out-of-circuit judge assigned to the case and it was vacated. “Because this new order was signed by the out-of-circuit judge presiding over the ADR process, we expect this order to remain in place through mediation,” said Commission Chairman Charles Bannister. “Holding the sanctions in abeyance is allowed under Georgia law and the judge’s ruling is a win for all sides during these challenging economic times.”

The process will now move forward without the specter of unqualified status clouding the service delivery issues. The mediation process will begin at 10am on April 22 in the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center auditorium with a meeting between the governing bodies of each Gwinnett city and the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Peachtree Corners Tag Office Relocation Complete and Open for Business

With the relocation of the Peachtree Corners tag office complete, the Gwinnett County Department of Motor Vehicles opened the new office for business on Tuesday, March 31, 2009. Ms. Kathy Brooks, who has been a Peachtree Corners customer for 19 years, was the first customer for the new location. She was presented with a special certificate of appreciation and a gift basket.

The new office includes eight frontline customer service work stations, a handicapped-accessible work station and a customer service desk all in a spacious 4,000 square foot facility. A grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting will be held on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 at 3:30pm. The office is located in the Market Place Shopping Center on 6135 Peachtree Parkway, Suite 201B in Norcross.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Gwinnett Appoints New CFO

Aaron J. Bovos has been appointed financial services director and chief financial officer for Gwinnett County Government. Bovos served as the county's budget director in 2007.

“I’m pleased with the depth of experience Aaron brings to the table,” said County Administrator Jock Connell. “His background in all aspects of municipal government management – specifically his emphasis on delivering efficient and effective services relating to finance – makes him a good match for the organization.”

Bovos earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Frederick Taylor University in Moraga, Ca., and is a certified treasury professional and certified government finance manager. He is leaving his current post as deputy city manager of the City of Roswell to take this position. Bovos was born and raised in the state of Washington and relocated to Georgia in 1999 to take a job as finance director with the City of Alpharetta. He currently resides in Atlanta.

Bovos will report directly to Deputy County Administrator/Chief Operating Officer Mike Comer and will guide all areas of financial services including accounting, budget, treasury, risk management, purchasing, tax assessor and economic analysis. His start date will be April 27.
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