The Daily Post gives a thumbs up to Gwinnett citizens who have stood apart this week.

Sobering statistics prompt discussion

We give a thumbs up this week to Gwinnett United in Drug Education who hosted a town hall meeting to open dialogue on how to prevent teen drinking.

According to statistics, more than half of Gwinnett's high school students report drinking while 25 percent report binge drinking in the past 30 days.

The statistics come from a survey conducted by the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services.

The event featured four guest panelists who shared how alcohol touched their lives and answered questions posed by the audience.

The panelists included Taylor Strange, a 21-year-old recovering alcoholic; Cathy Price, a recovering alcoholic with a teen who had a drinking problem; Phyllis Miller, a Gwinnett County Superior Court judge; and Deb Battle, trauma program manager at Gwinnett Medical Center.

We give GUIDE a thumbs up for opening the talk on this issue and support the group as they form future initiatives to combat the problem.

New chief in town

A 30-year veteran of the Gwinnett County Fire Department was named its chief Thursday.

Steve Rolader, who joined the department as an entry-level firefighter in 1976 and over the years was promoted to assistant chief, has been the acting fire chief since former Chief Jack McElfish was forced to resign in February.

Rolader takes the reins of a department given a black eye in February when news surfaced 30 public and private schools had missed annual fire inspections. The county has a policy of inspecting schools every year, but some of the schools had not been checked for fire hazards since 2000. Other schools had been overlooked since 2003.

We believe Rolader is a good match for the task at hand and feel he, in his interim capacity, proved up to the challenge.

Problems at the fire marshal's office, which falls under the umbrella of Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services, were swiftly handled after Rolader took over - the fire marshal and a captain in the department resigned and an inspector retired. A new fire marshal, department veteran Ed Knopick, was named three weeks later.

"While we definitely had some situations that we felt like needed to be addressed, the level of service we provide has never been compromised," Rolader said. "Like with any business, you encounter situations you need to take action on. I think we continue to be recognized as a premier service."

Rolader said his vision for the department is to make customer service a No. 1 priority.