Responsibility of Voting


Beyond creating a conscience on the importance of voting, we hope to raise awareness to political issues that concerns us all. There is no small issue in politics. That is why it is important for us to be empowered and take action in the best way possible, casting our vote and making our voice heard. It is our right, it is our duty, it is our responsibility. Many people use the term ‘democracy’ as shorthand for liberal democracy, which may include elements such as political pluralism; equality before the law; the right to petition elected officials for redress of grievances; due process; civil liberties; human rights; and elements of civil society outside the government.

As voters we have the right to demand from our elected officials to answer for their behavior. For example, in Thailand one candidate in the Thai’s elections was buying votes with Viagra. Vote buying in Thailand has, as reported many times, a common practice during electoral times, normally using cash to purchase votes from the population. This controversy lead to outcry from several political figures in Thailand, denouncing the unethical and dangerous practice this particular candidate was undertaking, since this medication is sold only by prescription, thus it was assumed that the pills were purchased taking advantage of the easy ways of accessing this medication through an online pharmacy. At the time this article was written there was no word on the measures taken by the Thai government or its authorities. But it is expected for International organizations to step in the election and have measure on an international level.

The main importance of democracy is the participation of the people in naming their political representatives. It is empowerment for the people and taking action, become an active member of society. The power of voting is the power of change, it’s the power of making a mark in history and voicing your opinions.



Georgia’s Tax Free Weekend


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Although school has already started in many districts- Georgia’s tax free weekend is back and starts tomorrow Friday, August 9, 2012. We’ve got a couple of tips to help you better prepare and understand the application of the tax-free incentive.


  • During the August 10-11 sales tax holiday, the following items will be exempt: Clothing (including footwear) with a sales price of $100.00 or less per item.
  • The exemption excludes clothing accessories such as jewelry, handbags, umbrellas, eye wear  watches, and watchbands.


  • During the August 10-11 sales tax holiday, the following items will be exempt: Single purchases, with a sales price of $1,000.00 or less, of personal computers and personal computer-related accessories.
  • The exemption excludes cellular devices, furniture, and computer-related accessories designed for recreational use.

School Supplies

  • During the August 10-11 sales tax holiday, the following items will be exempt: General school supplies to be used in the classroom or in classroom-related activities with a sales price of $20.00 or less per item.

See the printable PDF for additional information.

Georgia 2012 Sales Tax Holiday

How to Prepare For The First Day of School


With the first day of school vastly approaching. We thought we’d share this article.

How to Prepare For The First Day of School

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Summer’s over, and now it’s time for a new year. This will help you get prepared for the first day of school and save you time in the morning!


  1. Try to get your grade’s proper supply list. If you missed orientation and you need a list, try going to your school’s website to find it. If you can’t, go to staples or your nearest supply store and they might have back to school shopping lists in September. Follow the suggestions below on what to get. It’s better to have most of the supplies instead of none.
  • One spiral or composition notebook for each subject.
  • One Folder, labeled with the classes you’ll need it for such as Math, Reading, Social Studies/History and Science. Get a bring home folder as well for bring home notices or test grades.
  • Pencils most comfortably #2
  • Ball point pens, erasable pens, and red pens
  • Scissors
  • Colored pencils
  • One sturdy binder
  • Highlighter and Post-Its
  • A pencil pouch or box
  • Kleenex
  • Computer Paper
  • Binder Paper. Most Schools say College-Ruled, but get any kind you like.
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Just because the summer means no school, doesn’t mean you should stop learning. Try to read throughout the summer to keep your mind fresh and, if possible, go over a few notes or subjects that you have trouble with or may have forgotten.
  • Empty out your closet a week before school starts. Try everything on. Get rid if anything you won’t wear/will never wear again, anything that’s outdated or anything that’s too small.
  • Even if you have acne or a few pimples don’t let that stop you skin regime . Cleansers and toners should help even out your skin tone. Clean & Clear and Clinique® have great products.
  • Try to plan the outfitsyou’re going to wear during the first week of school. Doing this will ease the stress of the first day. Try to correctly interpret your school’s dress code and wear an appropriate outfit. Below are some guidelines for things you should buy when you go school clothes shopping to avoid disappointment and a clothes meltdown before school.
    • Have a budget planned. A good suggestion is between $50 and $100, more if your parents like, but that’s not my business.
    • Try to look nice; but be sure to stick with your style. You don’t want to have a fancy outfit for the first day and then show up the next day with a style totally different. That would just be weird. Don’t let anybody tell you exactly what to wear the first day. You’ll probably feel better if you wear your favorite jeans or shorts you love and add a brand new top or a bold accessory. Wear what feels comfortable so you will look and feel confident.
  • Have at least eight to eleven hours of sleep. An average teenager should have and needs a minimum of nine hours of sleep So if you get up at six, you’ll have to go to bed at nine. Not going to happen? Well you want to feel, look and act your best for the first day; and if you’re groggy, irritable and have under-eye circles on the first day, then you should rethink staying up until one in the morning.
  • Try to get to school early if you are carpooled. This way you can reunite with all your friends and not make a bad first impression on your new teachers. If not don’t worry about it. It means you will be taking the bus. Be sure to be early at the bus stop. You wouldn’t want to miss it.
  • Never lie to be popular. It will catch up with you one day. And no one likes a phony.
  • Try to join clubs or do sports. Try clubs that interest you. They are a great way to meet people and develop great friendships with those who share your interests. If you do sports, remember that your behavior and grades affect your position on the team; and health affects your performance. Most schools start sports in 7th grade and higher. You may have to get a medical exam to see if your fit enough to play sports.
  • Dedicate time to your studies. Always study for a test or exam. Never cram. If you are having trouble in a subject, tell your parents and teacher. Your teacher may be able to find a way to help you improve .
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is a proven fact that students who ask more questions are more likely to do better than average.
  • Wash ALL your clothes at least two days before so you have a big choice of clothes to choose from.
  • Know where all your classes are days before school starts. You especially want to know this if you are new to the school. Knowing this will actually make you feel a little better because you won’t look lost trying to figure out where to go.
  • Figure out your transportation for the school year. You’ll need to know this about one to two weeks before hand. Are you riding the bus? Are your parents driving you? Are you driving? Once you figure that out try to focus on other things.
  • Put your best face forward and have fun. This is a day where you can see all of your friends again. Don’t be so stressed you miss out on the fun. A way to help you focus on the positive is to write a “School Year Resolution” thing and jot down your goals and read it at the end of the year and see if you had succeeded. Just remember, don’t over-think every little thing and stress yourself out, just have FUN!
  • All you have to do is be yourself because if you’re acting like someone else then no one will really know who you are. Be confident but not too confident. Just don’t let anyone get the wrong impression of you.



  • Get to school on time.
  • Smile!
  • Respect your teachers.
  • Of course, first impressions can mean a lot. But don’t try to impress people by looks and fake-attitudes. Be real. Everyone is naturally beautiful!
  • If you’re a girl who straightens/curls hair during the school year all the time, take a break during the summer. It will give time to repair any damage done from all the heated styling. Then, you’ll come back to school with “new” hair!
  • Stay clean and neat.
  • Be friendly.
  • Don’t do drugs or drink. Even though people think it’s cool.
  • Some teens tend to eat unhealthier during the summer because, well, it’s summer! In the weeks leading up the school, try to eat healthier (fruits, veggies, less poptarts ‘wink’ ‘wink’) So you can get in the habit and get your body and skin feeling better for the first day!
  • Attend things like clubs, sports, games and dances.
  • Be yourself.
  • Remember, you are who you are and don’t let someone rob you of your style, personality, or dignity.
  • Try to keep money left over from back-to-school shopping and summer activities at hand, as well. With all the school-related stress again, you might want to hang somewhere with friends ($), buy some treats ($), or splurge ($$$) to remind of the good old days of summer.
  • When you make friends make sure they can trust you; no one likes a liar.
  • If you are new, make friends on the first day so you have a crowd to hang out with.
  • Connecting with old friends who’ve you lost touch with over the summer or those who you haven’t seen you due to vacations or camp will really boost your confidence. Even if you don’t have classes with them hopefully you’ll have the same lunch period to talk with them or plan a girls (or boys) night out every week.
  • Never lie to friends. They will eventually find out.
  • Even if your first day doesn’t go perfectly, just take a deep breath and relax…tomorrow’s another day!
  • Doing your work is important! Never miss a single day of homework just because you got lazy.
  • Don’t make fun of someone on the first day. The rest of the year you’ll be known as the bully. And no one likes a bully.
  • Don’t forget to wash your clothes a few days before so you have a choice of what to wear on the first day.
  • Just remember school isn’t your enemy.


  • Do not be late on the first day.
  • Do not come to school with just a pencil, that will make a bad impression on teachers.
  • Do not get involved in any fights! Be nice to others even if they aren’t your friends. Ignore the bullies and walk away from them. Also never gossip or spread rumors. You will just end up not being who you really are inside!
  • Do not be rude to the people you meet up with when you are going to your classes.It will make a bad impression of you.
  • Try not to make mistakes on the first day.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Prepare For The First Day of School. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Preferred Employer Program


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The Retreat at Arc Way has partnered with local businesses to provide special pricing for it’s employees through our Preferred Employer Program.

Lessees participating in Preferred Employer Program will receive preferred pricing in addition, HALF OFF 1st Months Rent and $150 OFF 2nd Month’s Rent.

The following Employers are recognized:

  • Olive Garden
  • Red Lobster
  • Seasons 22
  • Bahama Breeze
  • T.G.I. Fridays
  • Longhorn Steakhouse
  • The Home Depot
  • Lowe’s
  • Gwinnett County Government
  • Gwinnett Hospital System
  • Primerica
  • Emory Healthcare
  • Assurant
  • Atlanta Journal Constitution

Additionally, If your employer is not listed give us a call.

The Retreat at Arc Way
4025 Arc Way
Norcross, Georgia 30093


Play It Safe: Fireworks Laws in Georgia


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Georgia allows wire or wood sparklers, glow sticks, noise makers, poppers, snappers, and drop pops.  Georgia does not allow any fireworks that explode, firecrackers, torpedoes, skyrockets, Roman candles, bombs, certain other types of sparklers, and any other types that contain explosive or flammable substances.  In short, if it explodes or propels itself through the air, it is most likely illegal in Georgia!

Not only are fireworks extremely dangerous, having illegal fireworks can result in fines and possible jail time.  Additionally, there may be local county and city ordinances regarding the possession and use of fireworks, so please check local laws.

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to leave it to the professionals.  Around the 4th of July holiday there are many places that are properly permitted for fireworks shows and have trained professionals working with the fireworks.

A good rule of thumb, to stay legal, is to only buy fireworks within the State of Georgia from reputable stores such as your local grocery or department store.


Community Newsletter – May 2012


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Inside This Issue:

Mothers Day

Resident Referrals

Protecting Your Bank Account

Conserve Gas While Driving


The Retreat at Arc Way May 2012 Newsletter

St. Patrick’s Day 2012: Facts, Myths, and Traditions

By: John Roach for National Geographic News

On St. Patrick’s Day—Saturday, March 17—millions of people will don green and celebrate the Irish with parades, good cheer, and perhaps a pint of beer.

But few St. Patrick’s Day revelers have a clue about St. Patrick, the historical figure, according to the author of St. Patrick of Ireland: A Biography.

“The modern celebration of St. Patrick’s Day really has almost nothing to do with the real man,” said classics professor Philip Freeman of Luther College in Iowa. (Take an Ireland quiz.)

Who Was the Man Behind St. Patrick’s Day?

For starters, the real St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish. He was born in Britain around A.D. 390 to an aristocratic Christian family with a townhouse, a country villa, and plenty of slaves.

What’s more, Patrick professed no interest in Christianity as a young boy, Freeman noted.

At 16, Patrick’s world turned: He was kidnapped and sent overseas to tend sheep as a slave in the chilly, mountainous countryside of Ireland for seven years. (See Ireland pictures.)

“It was just horrible for him,” Freeman said. “But he got a religious conversion while he was there and became a very deeply believing Christian.”

St. Patrick’s Disembodied Voices

According to folklore, a voice came to Patrick in his dreams, telling him to escape. He found passage on a pirate ship back to Britain, where he was reunited with his family.

The voice then told him to go back to Ireland.

“He gets ordained as a priest from a bishop, and goes back and spends the rest of his life trying to convert the Irish to Christianity,” Freeman said.

Patrick’s work in Ireland was tough—he was constantly beaten by thugs, harassed by the Irish royalty, and admonished by his British superiors. After he died on March 17, 461, Patrick was largely forgotten.

But slowly, mythology grew around Patrick, and centuries later he was honored as the patron saint of Ireland, Freeman noted.

(Related: “St. Patrick’s Day Fast Facts: Beyond the Blarney.”)

Is Your Shamrock Real or Bogus?

According to St. Patrick’s Day lore, Patrick used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Christian holy trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Today, St. Patrick’s Day revelers wear a shamrock. Trifolium dubium, the wild-growing, three-leaf clover that some botanists consider the official shamrock, is an annual plant that germinates in the spring.

Other three-leaf clovers, such as the perennials Trifolium repens and Medicago lupulina, are “bogus shamrocks,” according to the Irish Times.

John Parnell, a botanist at Trinity College Dublin, said that Trifolium dubium is the most commonly used shamrock today, which lends credence to the claims of authenticity.

However, he added, the custom of wearing a shamrock dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and “I know of no evidence to say what people then used. I think the argument on authenticity is purely academic—basically I’d guess they used anything cloverlike then.”

What’s more, botanists say there’s nothing uniquely Irish about shamrocks. Most clover species can be found throughout Europe.

No Snakes in Ireland

Another St. Patrick myth is the claim that he banished snakes from Ireland. It’s true no snakes exist on the island today, Luther College’s Freeman said—but they never did.

Ireland, after all, is surrounded by icy waters—much too cold to allow snakes to migrate from Britain or anywhere else.

Since snakes often represent evil in literature, “when Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying he drove the old, evil, pagan ways out of Ireland [and] brought in a new age,” Freeman said.

The snake myth, the shamrock story, and other tales were likely spread by well-meaning monks centuries after St. Patrick’s death, Freeman said.

(Related: “Snakeless in Ireland: Blame Ice Age, Not St. Patrick.”)

St. Patrick’s Day: Made in America?

Until the 1970s, St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland was a minor religious holiday. A priest would acknowledge the feast day, and families would celebrate with a big meal, but that was about it.

“St. Patrick’s Day was basically invented in America by Irish-Americans,” Freeman said.

Irish-American history expert Timothy Meagher said Irish charitable organizations originally celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with banquets in places such as Boston, Massachusetts; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.

Eighteenth-century Irish soldiers fighting with the British in the U.S. Revolutionary War held the first St. Patrick’s Day parades. Some soldiers, for example, marched through New York City in 1762 to reconnect with their Irish roots.

Other parades followed in the years and decades after, including well-known celebrations in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, primarily in flourishing Irish immigrant communities.

“It becomes a way to honor the saint but also to confirm ethnic identity and to create bonds of solidarity,” said Meagher, of Catholic University in Washington, D.C..

Dyeing the River Green for St. Patrick’s Day

Sometime in the 19th century, as St. Patrick’s Day parades were flourishing, wearing the color green became a show of commitment to Ireland, Meagher said.

In 1962 the show of solidarity took a spectacular turn in Chicago when the city decided to dye a portion of the Chicago River green.

The tradition started when parade organizer Steve Bailey, head of a plumbers’ union, noticed how a dye used to trace possible sources of river pollution had stained a colleague’s overalls a brilliant green, according to

Why not use the dye to turn the whole river green on St. Patrick’s Day, Bailey thought. So began the tradition.

The environmental impact of the dye is minimal compared with pollution such as bacteria from sewage-treatment plants, said Margaret Frisbie, the executive director of the advocacy group Friends of the Chicago River.

Rather than advising against the dye, her group focuses on turning the Chicago River into a welcoming habitat full of fish, herons, turtles, and beavers. If the river becomes a wildlife haven, the thinking goes, Chicagoans won’t want to dye their river green.

“Our hope is that, as the river continues to improve, ultimately people can get excited about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day different ways,” she said.

Pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day

On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness, the famous Irish stout brand, are consumed around the world.

But on St. Patrick’s Day, that number more than doubles to 13 million pints, said Beth Davies Ryan, global corporate-relations director of Guinness.

“Historically speaking, a lot of Irish immigrants came to the United States and brought with them lots of customs and traditions, one of them being Guinness,” she said.

Today, the U.S. tradition of St. Patrick’s Day parades, packed pubs, and green silliness has invaded Ireland with full force, said Freeman, the classics professor.

The country, he noted, figured out that the popularity of St. Patrick’s Day was a good way to boost spring tourism. (Get National Geographic Traveler magazine’s list of the best hotels in Ireland.)

“Like anybody else,” he said, “they can take advantage of a good opportunity.”

By: John Roach for National Geographic News