Monday, May 21, 2012


We're so pleased to see the Mountain Park  Bruster's reopen this month!  I'm making a commitment for at least one Mint Chocolate Chip in a waffle cone a week.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

UPDATE ON THE TANGLED GOSLING... I returned to Mountain Park Aquatic Center late Thursday afternoon, and either the gosling has swallowed entirely the fishing line, OR, someone had mercy and removed the hook and line. I'll keep an eye on it for any signs of distress.
I'm certain that danger lurks as I write this, but for this moment, I'm happy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fishing At Mountain Park Aquatic Center

On all my blogs and web sites I try to publish positive and helpful information. I host the Gwinnett County GAGenWeb, and hope that I am contributing to historic preservation and free genealogy research for Gwinnett County, Georgia.  I've been an active REALTOR(R) in Gwinnett since 1986.  My Mama taught me that one person can make a difference in a community. She never said, "Well, it's just the way it is."

My favorite walking trail in my area is at the Mountain Park Aquatic Center.  Certainly, it's not the prettiest park in Gwinnett, but I love nature.  I enjoy watching the geese and ducks, the Green Heron, the Robins, Bluebirds, and Eastern Song Sparrows.  I see the same little brown bunny every day, along with butterflies, bull frogs, and so many other creatures.

Over the years, I've seen some tragic sights I would like to forget (but can't), and they were caused by fisherman fishing from the bank in shallow water.  This is a small, shallow pond, and when they put their lines in right where the waterfowls are feeding, it's a tragedy waiting to happen.  Below is the young gosling that I've been trying to rescue for several days.  It has swallowed a hook, and the fishing line runs from its gullet to wrap all around its body.
It has good parents who wait for it to walk slowly, swim slowly, and feed slowly.  I've been trying to befriend the parents to get close enough to at least snip the line below the chin, hoping to free its wings and lower body from the line.  When I was there this morning, a fisherman appeared, and explained his position. "I was here when that happened.  It happens all the time. It was an accident.  I use bread as bait, and the ducks and geese like bread."    After we agreed to be at odds on this subject, his final response was to plunk his chair down on the beach and put his line into the water right where the ducks and geese were feeding.  I would like to say to him (and others), that if they put bait on a hook in shallow water where the birds are feeding, and they just happen to snag a duck or goose, it's no more of an accident than getting pregnant if you're not using birth control.  As he said, "It happens ALL THE TIME."
 The picture above was taken when the three goslings were newly hatched. So sweet and innocent!

Below is the result of a typical fifteen minutes of gathering of trash off the beach.  I've gathered yards and yards and yards of fishing line that has washed ashore, along with a few hooks, broken glass, etc. This is where parents let their children play, not to mention where the waterfowl feed.
 ANYWAY...I've written a letter to every Gwinnett County commissioner and the "Powers that Be" in Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, asking that they seriously consider prohibiting fishing at this very small pond.  It's too small a space for fishing not to have a negative impact on wildlife. To their credit, I have gotten  responses from the county commission and Parks and Rec.  I hope for a short term rescue of this sweet baby, as well as a long term resolution to prevent this from happening over and over.

Friday, May 4, 2012



The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.   ~ James Allen

WELCOME TO MY "NEW" REAL ESTATE NEWSLETTER!  I have decided to merge my regular blog, "Positively at Home In Gwinnett," with what used to be my Client Direct monthly newsletter.  It may include a variety of topics, but the one thing you'll see every month is a summary of LOCAL real estate conditions, and what my gut is telling me about the metro Atlanta and Gwinnett County markets.  The photograph above was taken at the Mountain Park Aquatic Center.  I'm told that this is a type of Jasmine, which really surprised me (it is not a vine, but a sprawling bush). Combined with the honeysuckle along the walking trail, it creates an intoxicating sweet perfume in the air in May.  Lovely!  


It's year five of the housing crisis, and I've never done so much research to determine fair market value for listings.  I remember the "good old days" when I would list a 2-story house in an established neighborhood, pull up three comparable sales from the last 12 months, and feel pretty comfortable that it would sell in 90-120 days.  With so distress properties in every area and price range, sometimes we have to go with our instincts.  

The most recent published statistics are for March listings and closings.  In general, inventory has dropped.  This may mean that the average owner occupants are on the fence about listing in this market, while foreclosures and short sale continue to pour into the market.  Because of the same phenomenon, values continue to drop in existing homes, while.  new home sales are picking up a little in some areas.  I hate using averages, but there's no denying how the average home sale prices have plummeted in metro Atlanta, with median sale prices in some areas under $100,000. On the other hand, in February I began seeing a  slight increase in traffic on resale homes, and an increase in new construction.  


If you are thinking of listing your home, be realistic.  I work primarily in Gwinnett County, but the same is true all over metro Atlanta - buyers are shopping for a home online, and they are looking at a LOT of homes before making a decision.  Your listings is only NEW for about three weeks.  My strong advice is to be 100% ready before listing, because you do not want to waste showings.   Make sure that it is clean and in good repair.   Pay attention to landscape maintenance, including pruning, mowing, and edging.  Take a look at the front door area, as this is where your prospective buyers are standing while their agent is unlocking the lockbox.  Does the door need painting? Does it need new hardware? Does it have a fresh looking welcome mat?

If you have the ability to update, it may be worthwhile to do so.  If you have not been in the housing market for awhile, I always recommend looking at model homes in a subdivision just over your home's price range (or browse new homes on the Internet).  Since most buyers prefer a new house, you may get simple ideas that you can use to update your resale home.  

If you do not have money to spend on updates,  painting in light, warm colors may make a big impact.  If you cannot do that, you can brighten and neutralize the space by minimizing personal belongings (especially family photos and collectibles), and opening or removing curtains and draperies.  Especially if you have an older home, think LIGHT, BRIGHT, NEUTRAL, CLEAN!