Friday, June 26, 2009

Two Community Events, One Fun Day for All

By: Lisa Slaton, Events Manager
The City of Lilburn and Lilburn Business Association will host activities September 12 that bring thousands of smiles to Lilburn City Park.
Snellville, Ga. (June 24, 2009) – Celebrate summer’s end Saturday, September 12 in Lilburn City Park with family-friendly fun during the day, followed by a Banks & Shane benefit concert on the lawn that evening. A complementary shuttle service will begin at 10:45 a.m. from designated free parking areas. Event proceeds benefit Dream House for Medically Fragile Children, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization devoted to children with very complex health issues. Event details, sponsorship packages, and more than 300 volunteer opportunities may be found at or by calling 770-717-7410.

The 1st Annual Main Street Fair takes place from 11 am. to 3 p.m., and will feature free health screenings, a children’s corner and a $5 per person carnival fun zone. See up close the R2B2 Motors monster truck and a fire engine, hang out with local sports team mascots, plus stroll through the Meet Your Neighbors Village showcasing area businesses and community organizations.

Following at 5 p.m., gates open for the 7th Annual Music-on-Main. Sponsors will enjoy premium reserved seating. General admission tickets are $10 each, available on-line or at the gate. Bring your own chairs, but no coolers are permitted in the park. Food and beverages will be sold during the event. From 5-8 p.m. concert-goers may bid on a great selection at this event’s Lilburn-famous silent auction, or purchase a $20 entry to the always-popular Heads’n’Tails game for a chance to win a Big Green Egg®. Banks & Shane will take the stage at 8 p.m., playing two 50-minute sets.

The City of Lilburn and the Lilburn Business Association are hosting this great celebration for the seventh year. “Music-on-Main has been a summer highlight since the first one in 2003,” commented Lilburn Mayor, Diana Preston. “This year’s event is sure to be one of the best, and our community is really looking forward to the Banks & Shane performance.” Also new this year is a VIP Reception, for Bronze-level and above Sponsors that will take place from 6-7 p.m. in the Lilburn City Hall Auditorium.

Emphasizing the valuable role the Lilburn and greater Gwinnett communities have played since 2001 to help build and sustain the now statewide Dream House organization, its Founder and CEO Laura Moore remarked, “Local non-profit organizations, like Dream House, are able to fulfill our missions during a tough economy because of incredible community involvement, individuals and business leaders actively engaged in advocacy efforts, and a collective willingness to collaborate.”

Lilburn Business Association President Thor Johnson echoed that sentiment. “As a business, your participation in Main Street Fair and Music-on-Main is your opportunity to champion a terrific organization and be recognized by your community for your support.”

Mrs. Moore is very excited and humbled by the response for this year’s two-part event format. “The two September 12th events are not just fund raisers that enable Georgia’s medically fragile children live to at home. Our wish is to also give back to the Lilburn and surrounding communities with a great day of fun that benefits everyone.”

About Dream House for Medically Fragile Children, Inc.
Based in Snellville, Ga., Dream House is a 501(c)3 children’s charity teaching families and communities how to help kids with very complex health issues live at home. Heroic medical efforts save sick and injured children, leaving some medically fragile – fully dependent upon medications, equipment and therapies. Visit for more details.
A critical first step for these children (biological, adopted or foster), and their families, is access to the innovative Dream House Family for Keeps™ Transition Care Program. This ground-breaking, hospital-to-home program is setting the standard for the home care of Georgia’s medically fragile children. Via Family for Keeps™, Dream House has served nearly 1,000 medically fragile children in 42 Georgia counties since 2001.
Named a Best in America Local Independent Charity, by the Independent Charities of America, Dream House supporters invest in a mission that uses 86 cents of every dollar donated to directly benefit medically fragile children and their families. Family for Keeps™ provides a pathway for Georgia’s medically fragile children to get out of institutional care into stable, single-family homes. For one-third the cost of housing these kids in hospitals or adult nursing homes, Family for Keeps™ is the resource that enables medically fragile children to have a home, a family and a future.

Georgia Gwinnett College achieves SACS accreditation

LAWRENCEVILLE – Georgia’s newest four-year public institution, Georgia Gwinnett College, received notification today from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) that the college has been granted its initial accreditation, less than three years after opening its doors to students. The decision, which came only a year after the college was granted candidacy toward accreditation last June, affirms Georgia Gwinnett’s continuing commitment to academic excellence, public accountability and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on accreditation standards established by SACS.

Accreditation, which often takes four to six years to achieve, is intended to assure constituents and the public of the quality and integrity of higher education institutions and programs, and to help those institutions and programs improve. These outcomes are verified through rigorous internal and external review processes during which the institution is evaluated against a common set of standards.

“No one thought we could get it done this fast, but we did it and we did it well” GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman said after he received the news from SACS representatives. “Earning accreditation – particularly this early on in the college’s existence – is testimony to the tremendous support we have received from the Board of Regents, the governor and lieutenant governor, the General Assembly, and the entire Gwinnett community. We also want to thank the great staff at SACS for all the assistance they provided during this entire process.”

“In just a few years, we have provided students access to an excellent college education because of dedicated and inspiring professors who are devoted to teaching and student development. Accreditation is a major accomplishment for the GGC team, and I commend all the faculty and staff who worked tirelessly to achieve this milestone in our short history as a college.”

Georgia Gwinnett was established by the Georgia General Assembly in 2005 and opened its doors to students in the fall of 2006. Just days after the college was granted candidacy toward accreditation by SACS in 2008, it held its inaugural commencement ceremony, graduating 17 of its first students. Several of GGC’s graduates have gone on to graduate school at some of the most prominent institutions in the nation – including Harvard University. Once it achieved candidacy status, GGC was able to offer its students access to federal financial aid, including Pell grants and Stafford loans.

When accreditation is awarded to an institution of higher education by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, it means that the institution has a mission appropriate to higher education; resources, programs and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission; clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers and it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.

The accreditation process is a three-step progression, typically spaced over four to six years. The process includes application, candidacy and accreditation. GGC submitted its application for candidacy in October of 2007, and it was granted in June of 2008. Work on the request for accreditation began immediately thereafter, and thousands of pages of documentation and records were provided to SACS in order to certify compliance with the comprehensive standards that must be satisfied in order for an institution to be accredited. Following a review of the submission, SACS sent a 10-member team to the Lawrenceville campus for an on-site visit in April 2009 to verify the accuracy of the submitted materials, assess the facilities and interview faculty, staff and students. The report from this site visit led to the favorable decision today.

“What we have achieved is unheard of,” Dr. Stas Preczewski, vice president of academic and student affairs told the faculty and staff today following the announcement. “We are light years ahead of where others thought we would be at this juncture – earning accreditation in less than three years – but more importantly, we have built a superb foundation that will contribute to our future successes.”

“Less than three years ago, 118 students took a chance on Georgia Gwinnett College. Today, our charter graduates have gone on to further their education or have entered the working world. They were the pioneers.”

“In the fall we anticipate 3,000 students walking the halls of GGC,” Preczewski continued. “Engaging our faculty in our labs and classrooms and witnessing unparalleled construction activities including new housing, a state-of-the-art library and a student center, all slated to open next year. The latter are all additions to the most technologically-modern campus in the state.”

Earlier this month, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved a significant expansion of academic programs for GGC. The three new majors in English, history and mathematics will be added to the college’s current offerings in biology, business administration, psychology and information technology in January 2010 pending approval by SACS. Georgia Gwinnett also has requested the addition of majors in exercise science, political science and criminal justice/criminology, early childhood education and special education. In addition, the college plans to add a major in nursing within the next 18 months to accommodate the 10,000 students expected to enroll at GGC in the next five years. Eligible high school students can now participate in joint and dual enrollment programs at GGC as well, thereby getting an early start on their college degrees.

“Gwinnett County residents and community leaders should be justifiably proud of Georgia Gwinnett College and what it represents as an open-admissions access college of excellence in service to the northeast Georgia community,” Dr. Preczewski added. “We look forward to educating, in the years ahead, thousands of high school graduates, transfer students and adults who seek their bachelor’s degree at a public college that delivers a private school feeling.”
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Georgia Gwinnett College is an accredited four-year, liberal arts college that provides access to targeted baccalaureate level degrees that meet the economic development needs of the growing and diverse population of Gwinnett County and the northeast Atlanta metropolitan region. GGC opened its doors in August 2006 as the nation’s first four-year public college founded in the 21st century, and the first four-year public college founded in Georgia in more than 100 years. The college produces contributing citizens and future leaders for Georgia and the nation. Its graduates are inspired to contribute to their local, state, national, and international communities and are prepared to anticipate and respond effectively to an uncertain and changing world. Visit Georgia Gwinnett College’s Web site at

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gwinnett Medical Center Submits Objections to Appeal of Open Heart Decision

By: Andrea Wehrmann

Ruling Anticipated by July 17, 2009

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. –Gwinnett Medical Center submitted a filing addressing errors in the state hearing officer's decision which could prevent the hospital from establishing a desperately needed open heart surgical program within the county.  The filing was submitted to the state’s Department of Community Health (DCH), and requests that the Commissioner reinstate the initial decision granting a Certificate of Need to establish an open heart program.  It is anticipated that the DCH Commissioner will make a final administrative decision by July 17, 2009. 


“We believe the Department’s original approval of an open heart program at GMC was the correct decision,” said Phil Wolfe, President and CEO of Gwinnett Medical Center.  “This filing counters points cited in the appeal decision, and will hopefully clear the way for us to bring this critical service to the people of Gwinnett.”


Gwinnett Medical Center applied for a Certificate of Need for its open heart program in January 2008 and received approval from the Department of Community Health in June 2008.  Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital and Piedmont Hospital all appealed the approval, and a hearing officer granted the appeal last month.  Following the DCH Commissioner’s final administrative ruling, further appeals are possible as the Certificate of Need process allows parties to seek court review within 30 days of the final administrative decision.


 “While we look forward to ultimately securing open heart through the administrative appeal process, GMC is prepared to seek judicial review if necessary,” added Wolfe.  “If the commissioner reinstates our approval, we would hope that Piedmont and Emory would not further delay our program by seeking judicial review.”


About Gwinnett Medical Center
Now celebrating the 25th anniversary of its flagship campus, Gwinnett Medical Center is a not-for-profit healthcare network providing award-winning healthcare services to the Gwinnett community and beyond. Campuses in both Duluth and Lawrenceville provide acute care, outpatient services, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services. Digital imaging is the standard of care at all GMC facilities including the newest imaging center in north Gwinnett's Hamilton Mill area. In 2008, GMC's 4,300 associates and 800 physicians served more than 400,000 patients. Gwinnett Medical Center's incredible vision for the future is Project PATH - planning, advancing and transforming healthcare. To learn more, visit