Lawyers set up disaster hotline

ATLANTA - The State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division, in conjunction with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Georgia Legal Services Program, has set up a disaster relief hotline to assist people affected by severe storms and flooding beginning Sept. 18.

Flood victims who reside in the impacted counties, including Gwinnett, and are unable to afford legal representation are encouraged to call the hotline at 1-866-584-8027.

Callers will receive assistance for issues such as landlord/tenant disputes, family law, consumer law, housing law, food stamps, Medicaid, unemployment benefits issues and identification replacement. Volunteer attorneys will return messages left at the toll free number. Callers may request a Spanish-speaking attorney to return their call.

Chattahoochee River reopens

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area announced that assessment teams have been surveying the trails, bridges and other improvements for damage from the recent rains and flooding. As a result, several land units have been reopened for visitor use.

Even though a unit may be open, visitors are encouraged to use extreme caution and obey area closures within the unit when visiting. Many trees are down on the trails. Trails in low-lying areas are extremely muddy and have been washed away at some locations. Several parking lots and boat ramps are still covered with mud.

Bowmans Island, Settles Bridge, Abbotts Bridge, Medlock Bridge Jones Bridge, Island Ford and Gold Branch units are open. Boat ramps, trails and parking lots in several other locations are closed.

The Chattahoochee River has reopened south of Holcomb Bridge. Because of bacteria levels, park officials advise visitors avoid contact with the water.

Braselton Rotary hosts 5K run

BRASELTON - The Braselton Rotary is hosting its inaugural Run the Vineyard 5K and Fun Run on Saturday at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort.

The Fun Run begins at 7:30 a.m., and the 5K Run/Walk begins at 8 a.m. Register online at www.runthevineyard.com. The cost is $20 for those who register in advance or $25 the day of the event. Families can register before the event for $45.

All proceeds go to Rotary service projects, including PolioPlus, Foster Children's Foundation, Gwinnett Children's Shelter, and Mill Creek High School scholarships and Interact club.

Suwanee's bond rating affirmed

SUWANEE - In a regular re-evaluation, Fitch Ratings has affirmed the city of Suwanee's general obligation bond rating at AA and defined the city's rating outlook as "stable."

Fitch Ratings' most recent review looked at Suwanee's outstanding general obligation bonds, obtained in 2002 to finance the community's award-winning open space initiative and 2006 to partially fund construction of the new City Hall.

In a news release, Fitch noted the city "historically budgets very conservatively" and that its current fund balance equals 73 percent of spending and is "very strong."

"Considering the state of the economy, we're very satisfied with Fitch's findings," Suwanee's Financial Services Director Amie Sakmar said. "We're pleased that one of the top rating agencies in the world has found Suwanee's debt management and conservative fiscal practices to be sound and appropriate. For a community of Suwanee's size, the AA rating is outstanding."

Quality of Life Unit renamed

LAWRENCEVILLE - Because of reorganizing, the Gwinnett County Police Department's Quality of Life Unit will now be called the Code Enforcement Unit.

Department officials said police are continuing to address quality of life concerns throughout the county.

Since the Quality of Life Unit was formalized in 2005, every officer in the department has received training on identifying and investigating quality of life issues in the community. The department still employs 13 full-time, nonsworn employees who will continue to receive and address citizen complaints.

Because of recent budgetary constraints, a decision was made to move the remaining code enforcement officers from the existing location to a precinct in Dacula.

Residents are encouraged to call the Police Department with their concerns at 770-338-4170, ext. 5765. Complaints can also be filed online at www.gwinnettcounty.com. Go to the Code Enforcement section of the Web site under Police.

Gwinnett Gab appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post. To submit an item to Gwinnett Gab, e-mail gab@gwinnettdailypost.com.