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May 23, 2013

505 GCPS retirees to begin another chapter in 2013

As 10,556 Gwinnett high school seniors receive their diplomas this week, 506 Gwinnett employees who supported them through their academic career also start a new chapter in their lives. The educators and support staff members are retiring after teaching students in the classroom, driving them to and from school, serving them their meals, guiding and counseling them, and proving support and resources to them.

Dr. Simmon’s staff brings smiles to Snellville. (L-R) Susan Helzerman, Wendy Rosenberger, Vanessa Whiting, Linda Magnus, Tracie Mitter, Becky Rawlins and Dr Simmons (Front Center).

Smiles By Simmons

Local dentist, Dr. John Simmons considers his practice more than traditional dentistry. The building, both inside and out expresses the artist and humanitarian who uses his talent to bring a smile to many faces.

Heart attacks and most strokes are triggered when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel in the heart or brain

Stroke awareness: be a hero

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and learning how to recognize and respond when someone has a heart attack or a stroke, can make you a hero. Here are the basics from Gwinnett Medical Center, the region’s leader in cardiac and stroke care. 

Richard Carlin, MD

Lasik: the benefit/cost ratio

In making a decision, it often comes down to the benefit vs. the cost. Is our desire for something we want worth its cost? Let’s look at Lasik, an in-office procedure alternative to wearing glasses or contact lenses and check its benefit/cost ratio.

Chrissy Thomas

Introducing HydraFacial MD: Four Treatments in One!

Over time, the elements our skin is exposed to take their toll.  Stress, pollution, toxins and the biggest factor — sunlight — leave their mark.  Known as “free radicals,” these elements are responsible for skin damage and aging. 

Ms Sharon Amolo, Gwinnett County Media Specialist of the year with students from Gwin Oaks ES.

Amolo named Media Specialist of the Year

A Gwinnett County educator known for her passion for reading was named the 2013 Gwinnett County Public Schools Library Media Specialist of the Year. The honor was presented to Sharon Amolo of Gwin Oaks Elementary in the Brookwood Cluster.

Vecoma Weddings

Reflections of love at Vecoma

Vera Wang insists that her wedding dresses not only look lovely on the bride, but also lend themselves to dancing. At Vecoma, weddings find a riverside setting befitting a beautiful bride with plenty of space to dance all while reflecting the love in the hearts of a couple starting a new life together. 

With 2013 awards from The Knot Best of Weddings and Wedding Wire Brides’ Choice, Vecoma at the Yellow River is a magical place for a wedding. Nestled among 70 acres of forest, Vecoma offers a beautiful setting for weddings and special events inside and out. Riverside weddings are extremely popular as the natural setting creates a spectacular backdrop with the Yellow River flowing gently behind the wedding party. 

Historically, Vecoma began as a retreat for Venie and Cotton Mather’s family. With a successful furniture business underway, Cotton Mather began building a 6-sided cabin made entirely of wood and stone found on the property which included both sides of the river. The lodge was named Ve Co Ma by using the first two letters of each name. “The foundation and chimney of this family relic still remain next to the new reception hall built in 1996,” says Judith Warren, granddaughter of Venie and Cotton Mather. 

vecoma1-RT190The family retreat and the remains of the original cabin have been repurposed into a beautiful, private deck with the chimney forming one side. The open fireplace has been given new life with a lovely display of candles and a private spot to trade vows, take memorable photos or share a newlywed moment. Even Vecoma’s resident photographer and Mather’s great-granddaughter, Caroline Tucker recently celebrated her own December wedding just in front of the family fireplace. “It was a beautiful day and shows that even in December, Georgia is a wonderful place for an outdoor wedding,” says Caroline. While her own wedding was most special, Caroline says that everyone has a dream when it comes to their wedding day. “Keeping that in mind, we have decided to offer the new option of a simple Ceremony Only wedding.” With this option, couples can enjoy the beauty of Vecoma for exchanging vows privately or with up to 20 guests.

Outdoors is not the only place to hold a wedding at Vecoma. The lodge has been designed to capture the history of Vecoma, yet provide a modern touch with all the conveniences. Soft, buttery walls, twinkle lighting, antiques and interesting little touches throughout create a memorable space to hold a ceremony and reception. The huge covered deck overlooks the wedding area and river just beyond. A setting such as Vecoma provides just the natural touch needed for a lovely and magical wedding. The river itself has seen many a family gathering, baptism and wedding. In those waters and through the lens of her camera, Caroline Tucker captures the reflections of love brought by bride and groom to their own special day. See the Vecoma website for more information at

Charlie and Donna Broome at their favorite coffee and bagel spot in Grayson

Dance Mixer Magic

Love really does show on the faces of couples who are in love. That is exactly how this writer found Donna and Charles Broome. Their love for one another was obvious on a rainy, cold January morning when I walked into Parkside Bakery to meet a friend. In fact, it was magic enough to compel me to interrupt their breakfast to ask them how long they had been married.