House committee approves study of lake level increase

Political Notebook

A House committee is weighing in on the side of Lake Lanier homeowners.

The Natural Resources and Environment panel approved a resolution last week asking Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to study the cost and effects of raising the lake level by 2 feet.

The Lake Lanier Association sent a letter to the Army Corps recently suggesting that the agency raise the level of the lake from 1,071 feet above sea level to 1,073 feet, a move that would increase the available water supply by 25 million gallons.

According to language in the resolution, raising the lake level to help sustain metro Atlanta's rapidly growing population would be faster and less expensive than building additional reservoirs.

Before voting on the resolution, sponsored by Rep. John Heard, R-Lawrenceville, the committee expanded its scope by amending it to apply to all of the lakes the Corps manages along the Chattahoochee and Savannah rivers.

Besides the water supply benefits, Heard said raising the lake levels would make for better fishing. He said the federal lakes are the focus of Gov. Sonny Perdue's new Go Fish Georgia initiative, which calls for building new boat ramps to attract fishing tournaments.

"That's where they're taking the ramps,'' he said.

The resolution now goes to the full House.

Local woman honored

A legislator honored a local woman under the Gold Dome last week.

Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, has introduced a resolution honoring Onnie Lucille Johnson, who died Jan. 7 at the age of 86.

Johnson was born in Gwinnett County in 1920. She spent her youth picking cotton in Gwinnett County and graduated from Mechanicsville School. She worked for the Avon Company for 25 years.

According to a press release, Johnson was a member of the South Gwinnett Baptist Church in Snellville and considered it an honor to be called "the old lady of the church."

"Ms. Johnson was a member of the Greatest Generation, enduring both the Great Depression and World War II," Unterman said. "She was a faithful Christian who lived her life honestly, decently, frugally and simply, and she exuded a quiet strength in her twilight years."

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Staff Writer Dave Williams contributed to this report.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.