Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful honored in competition

LAWRENCEVILLE - Keep America Beautiful Inc. has announced the winners of the second-annual Graffiti Hurts National Award competition. Topping the list is Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful in the category of communities greater than 100,000.

Other winners were the City of Riverbank, Riverbank, Calif., communities less than 100,000 population and Just 4 Kids, Key West, Fla.

To address an 81 percent increase in the number of graffiti tags in 2000, Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful launched a comprehensive graffiti prevention program. Since then, the community has witnessed a consistent decrease in graffiti each year, with an 18 percent decrease in square feet tagged in 2005. That same year, volunteers and inmate labor removed graffiti from 971 sites.

Graffiti Hurts was developed in 1997 through a partnership between Keep America Beautiful, the nation's largest nonprofit education and community improvement organization, and The Sherwin-Williams Co.

Entrants in the competition represented the best of local governments, police departments, nonprofit volunteer organizations, and other groups dedicated to eradicating graffiti vandalism. Winning programs receive a cash award, a plaque, and local and national recognition.

For more information about Graffiti Hurts and its resources to help communities prevent graffiti, visit www.graffitihurts.org or contact graffitihurts@kab.org.

Snellville DDA closes sale of police property

SNELLVILLE - Jimmy Norton, chairman of the Snellville Downtown Development Authority, has announced the closing of the old Snellville Police Department property.

"The DDA exists to serve the city and we are excited to announce the $1.4 million sale of the underutilized city property and the pending $10 million office development by Martin Communities," Norton said.

Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer added, "After three unsuccessful attempts to surplus this property through the public auction process, Jimmy Norton and the DDA secured for the city a buyer within 32 days at a price greater than any previous offer.

"The creation and revitalization of Snellville's Town Center is advancing at a spectacular pace because of the cooperative effort and strong support of our partners such as the Downtown Development Authority."

"The development of this parcel removes an underutilized eyesore from Snellville, provides immediate and continuing resources to the city that are better invested in other endeavors, and generates jobs, opportunities, and additional interest in downtown Snellville and Highway 78," Norton said.

Retired educator wins national award

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Retiree Ralph Greene has received the AARP-NRTA With Our Youth 2005 Dedication Award for Outstanding Community Service.

In 2004, Greene was named the senior of the year by the Gwinnett Council for Seniors for his contributions to the community.

For the past three years he and his wife, Pat, have worked with Chief Assistant Solicitor Rosanna Szabo of the Gwinnett County Solicitor's Office and the Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association with the Hands Are Not for Hitting program to teach students ages 6 to 9 conflict resolution skills. The Greenes oversee the development of new scripts, activity books and various supplemental materials to spotlight individual students.

Greene also handcrafts a variety of items such as birdhouses, boxes and dulcimers that he donates to groups such as the Friends of the Library and the Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association to raise funds. Scholarships for deserving students and teachers of Gwinnett to further their education is just one of the uses of those funds.

Greene maintains Web sites for the Georgia Retired Educators Association www.grea.biz, Gwinnett County Retired Educators Association www.gcrea.com and the Hands Are Not for Hitting www.gcrea.com/handsarenotforhitting.

Gwinnett Gab appears in the Thursday and Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.