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Duluth resident delivers commencement address at UGA
By Deep Shah
Special to

(Editor's Note: Giving the commencement talk at the main graduation at the University of Georgia recently was Deep Shah, son of Drs. J.J. and Meena Shah of Duluth. He also recently was named one of two Rhodes Scholars from this year's class at the University. This is a condensed version of the remarks Mr. Shah gave at the ceremony. -eeb)

MAY 23, 2008 -- Natalia Ivanov is a 77-year-old housekeeper from Russia, your everyday "Babushka." Ms. Ivanov was rushed into the emergency room this morning after suffering a heart attack. Moments ago, she was placed under my care; she is now my patient, my responsibility. In addition to heart problems, Ms. Ivanov endures diabetes and high blood pressure; has no records or patient history; speaks Russian, Chechen, and German but no English; and, of course, lacks health insurance. And - my goodness - she is wearing a Gators shirt with jean shorts. The complexities of managing her health overwhelm me. It is my first week as a medical student on the hospital floors. I am terrified. Alone, I am simply incapable of treating her. I need help.

* * * * *


Justice Thomas, President Adams, Mummy, Papa, families, friends, faculty, and Class of 2008, this scenario is indeed one of my most feared: discovering myself inadequate in fighting the world's fight. As a doctor, I will undoubtedly encounter difficult cases like Ms. Ivanov time and time again. What strikes me as so significant, though, is how the progress of our society makes problems across the planet even more complex than they were before, and how we can only overcome them by community-led efforts rather than one-man crusades. Consider Ms. Ivanov. Globalization brought her to an American hospital, McDonald's contributed to her diabetes and high blood pressure and eventually the heart attack, and our broken healthcare system managed to leave her out of the equation. No one person can remedy all of these issues.

We are fortunate, for this has been the take home message of our four years at UGA: cultivate your passion, work among this family of fellow Dawgs, and - together - leave a mark.

We came to college aware of our abilities to make judicious choices. How then, do we apply these to solving the world's most pressing matters with the knowledge, skills, and relationships we have developed at the University of Georgia. I have found that everyone, and I truly mean everyone, desires the same thing - an opportunity. An opportunity to love, to build a family, and to create a happy life. We, as future leaders and engaged citizens, leave this city endowed with the responsibility to provide others the opportunities we have been given.

We have been encouraged by our parents, granted second chances by our professors, and lived in a relatively stress-free world.

We, as a community, have built a sense of trust and compassion that will allow us to serve our world in the ways we believe require attention. Can one person alone make a difference? Sure. Especially if his name is Knowshon. But can 6,000 strong make an ever greater difference? I am absolutely positive. The point is not to make you fear the world or its problems, but rather to remind you of the way we have overcome every other challenge we have faced - by working together and trusting in each another.

If we remember the knowledge and values we have acquired at Georgia, WE CAN heal Ms. Ivanaov. Alone, I am but a small part in the process of healing a patient like her. The reality is that her problems are not only medical, they are social, legal, financial, and personal. Well-being and providing it to others is a group task. It requires a community like the one we've been so lucky to be a part of for these four years. With so many of us dedicated to a cause, I cannot be convinced that any malady is too advanced for us to resolve. No matter how many medical illnesses she suffers, how little English she speaks, or how much Gator gear she wears, no, Ms. Ivanov is too complicated for the Class of 2008

What a folly all that early presidential primary voting was!
By Elliott Brack
Editor and Publisher

MAY 23, 2008 -- Think back a bit.


It was a couple of years ago that state legislatures all over the country began to fiddle with the dates for their presidential preference primary. Remember?

In about half the states, there was this onslaught to move the date of their presidential primary voting so that their individual state could gain some perceived advantage.

This rush for change, they thought, would give their voters more leverage in the presidential choosing. First one state after the other decided to "move up" the date of their primary to gain this advantage. What resulted was several key dates, including lots of states voting on "Super Tuesday."

What folly, we look back and say.

For politics is about like picking stocks to invest in. Just about the time you think you have timed it right to make a purchase, something afterward happens which defeats your original purpose. In fact, trying to time the market often leads to frustration, if not losing money.

Same in politics. All this rush of the many states to time their primary at the best possible moment was virtually useless. Oh, by voting early, and by some candidates not doing well in the early voting, it may have caused candidates to drop out of the race earlier than they would have otherwise. But as we can see from at least the Democratic primary, the early voting didn't particularly give either of these two current candidates any big edge.

Look at the states who voted closer to last than nearer to first voting. In recent months, the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Oregon didn't move their primaries, and perhaps had a bigger advantage over the other states.

Take Pennsylvania and West Virginia, for example. Voting only recently, these two states and others voting later in the year found themselves the center of attention for several weeks up until the primary. With a majority of the other states no longer in contention, the candidates poured money, time and effort into these late-voting states. It gave these states far more leverage in choosing the nominees than those states who opted to "move up" their primary in order to gain an edge.

It should make the early voting states question the need to vote sooner in the presidential primaries. Far as that goes, the way this has turned out in 2008, it might even bring about some states changing their primaries again… vote later.

In one sense, the states that "moved up" didn't get what they sought. We say "good riddance," and that includes our state of Georgia.

One more thing: the emphasis on early voting primarily served to place greater pressure on the presidential candidates to work harder earlier in the primary season. Had the many states not "moved up" their voting, it could have served to spread out the pressure throughout the first six-eight months before the conventions, and been better, we feel, for the candidates.

All the hoopla since early January has served to turn off some of the voters, who by now are tiring of the rhetoric of the candidates.

Moving up the voting was not necessarily the best thing to do. You can see that by the importance candidates place on the states voting toward the end of the campaign.

The public spiritedness of our sponsors allows us to bring to you at no cost to readers. Among our sponsors is AJC Gwinnett News, the county's best daily news source. AJC Gwinnett News is published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at its Norcross location and comes with the full AJC seven days a week. Visit their web site at and check out the Gwinnett community sites at To subscribe to the newspaper, call 770 522-4141.

Airport jitters

Another great cartoon by Bill McLemore:

Memorial Day ceremony honors memory of SFC Donald Tabb

Gwinnett County will mark Memorial Day with a ceremony at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 26, at the Fallen Heroes Memorial in front of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center in Lawrenceville.

There will be one name inscribed on the Fallen Heroes Memorial as part of the program. That will be the name of Sergeant First Class Donald Tabb. He was killed in Afghanistan in February.

Keynoter speaker is Army Maj. Gen. (ret.) Terry Juskowiak. At the ceremony will be an honor guard made up of members of all of Gwinnett's public safety departments. Members of the Lawrenceville Police Department will also take part in the service. The ceremony will be aired on TVgwinnett later that same day at 7:30 p.m.

First free Moonlight concert of year is today

Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation and the Lawrenceville Tourism and Trade Association will present the first of five free, live "Moonlight" concerts on the lawn of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse Friday, May 23 at 8 pm.

The concert will feature Savannah-based Eric Culberson Blues Band. This will be the band's fourth annual return to open the series.

The concerts are free and great for relaxing on the lawn. Reserved seating for tables of six can be purchased for $60 by contacting the Historic Courthouse staff at 770-822-5450. Visit for more band and series information and a seating chart. The lawn and rented table seating is available starting at 6:30 pm.

Dr. Gena Abraham to speak to Chamber luncheon on May 28

Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Gena Abraham will speak May 28 at the General Membership meeting of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce. The meeting will be at the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place at 11:30 a.m.

In October 2007, Dr. Abraham was selected by the State Transportation Board as the first female commissioner of the Georgia Department of Transportation, overseeing nearly 6,000 employees and a $2.1 billion operating budget. Prior to her role as Commissioner, Dr. Abraham was an assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Cost to attend is $45 for Chamber members and $55 for non-Chamber members. Registration deadline is May 23.

Snellville Senior Prom set for May 29 at Senior Center

On Thursday, May 29, from 6 to 9 p.m., the Snellville Senior Center will be sponsoring their fifth Annual Senior Prom. The prom is open to anyone over age 50. This theme for this year's event is "A Sentimental Journey." A King and Queen will be crowned at the end of the evening. Tickets are only $10 for members and $15 for guests. Space is limited. Call (770) 985-3580 to sign up today. Deadline for tickets is Tuesday, May 27.

UGA program at Gwinnett moves to Sever Road location

The Gwinnett campus of the University of Georgia has moved to 2530 Sever Road, just off Interstate 85 at the Old Peachtree Road exit.

UGA programs now occupy 60,000 square feet of the Intellicenter building, constructed in 2006. The move from the campus previously shared with Georgia Gwinnett College took place last week.

Bob Boehmer, who oversees UGA's extended campuses in Gwinnett, notes that UGA has offered graduate degree programs at several different locations in Gwinnett since the mid-1980s, but increased the number and variety of programs in recent years. Current offerings include master's degrees from several UGA schools and colleges including the Terry College of Business, School of Public and International Affairs, School of Social Work, and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. More than 700 students were enrolled in the graduate degree programs in Gwinnett.

The Small Business Development Center office in Gwinnett and the Educational Technology Training Center operated by UGA's College of Education in Gwinnett also have moved to the new facility.

For more information about UGA graduate and continuing education programs in Gwinnett, see or call 678/985-6800.

Snellville invites input in two zoning overlay plans on June 3

The City of Snellville is nearing the end of updating its Comprehensive Plan. As a result of this process, two Zoning Overlay Ordinances are being proposed to further implement the vision of the 2030 Comprehensive Plan and will be presented at a workshop June 3 at 7 pm.

This workshop will provide a forum for citizens to discuss these ordinances, areas of concern and identify opportunities for positive change. Participants will be asked to assess these areas and identify characteristics that should be preserved and to identify needs for the future.

The East Main Street/Athens Highway (U.S. Highway 78) corridor represents one of last major corridors in the City of Snellville with significant undeveloped land. It is rapidly growing and has experienced a great deal of commercial and residential growth in the past few years. In an attempt to avoid the linear strip commercial development that is evident along major roadways throughout the city, a nodal development form has been proposed. In the last Comprehensive Plan Update a new future land use designation was created with this purpose in mind entitled "78 East Activity Node." It is found at prominent intersections with the intent of creating "pulse-nodes" of walkable mixed-use development.

While the Comprehensive Plan lays the groundwork for this type of development through the future land use category, more direction is needed to achieve this goal. The report suggests an overlay district is needed to set up clear development regulations to ensure the intent of the Comprehensive Plan is realized.

The North Road corridor is likely to experience major land use changes in coming years. This is already evident as multiple homes have been converted to office uses. There have also been significant development pressures to consolidate parcels and redevelop areas in close proximity to State Road 124 (Scenic Highway). In the Comprehensive Plan Update, the North Road corridor was identified as needing special planning attention due to these anticipated changes.

Single incision procedure for gallbladders at GMC now

Gwinnett Medical Center took another step in the path towards clinical advancement with the completion of the Single Incision Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy procedure. This technique, performed by Dr. James Elsey, is performed for treatment of gallbladder disease and results in minimal scarring.

Dr. Elsey says: "We have performed a number of single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomies, rather than the usual three or four incisions. This single incision approach offers tremendous benefits to our patients such as significantly reduced scarring and potentially less pain. I believe that this will soon become the state-of-the-art procedure for many of my future cases." Dr. Elsey does the procedure through a single skin incision located in the patients' belly button.

Research for customized solutions will determine whether similar Single Incision Laparoscopic procedures will be effective for other general surgery applications such as hernia repair and weight loss surgeries.

Little Azio's in Suwanee

"The newly opened Little Azio's in the new Suwanee Jubilee is a real treat! My friend and I went there recently. The staff was really helpful and the food was delicious! I ordered a tri-colored pasta special with chicken and sundried tomatoes ($8-9) and my friend had a special pizza with mushrooms and spinach and eggplant that she really liked for about the same price. We passed on dessert, but their Key Lime Pie looked good! There is both inside and outside dining and the address is 1500 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Suwanee, Website: Buon Appetito!"

-- Cindy Evans, Duluth

  • An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us your best recent visit to a restaurant or most recent book you have read along with a short paragraph as to why you liked it, plus what book you plan to read next. --eeb

Bobs Candies of Albany sells sweets for over 80 years

In the 1920s a cherubic child in a red-and-white hat hawked the quintessential Christmas treat---the peppermint candy cane---to Albany natives in an advertisement for a local candy company. Some 60 years later, that family-owned company, known as Bobs Candies, commemorated its place in the national candy and snack-food world by producing the world's largest candy cane, an eight-foot-long crook that weighed more than 100 pounds. In 2005 the company's founding family, the McCormacks, decided to sell the organization to a larger, diversified candy manufacturer in order to keep the family legacy alive.

The candy company began in 1919, when Bob McCormack, an investor based in Birmingham, Ala., visited Albany and decided that it would be a good location for a candy business. Helped by other investors back in Birmingham, McCormack started producing sticks of candy for his Famous Candy Company. McCormack married and had three children, the oldest of whom, Anna Louise, was the child in his ads. The company continued to grow with such new lines as hard candy and taffy. McCormack and fellow investor Bob Mills soon bought out the other backers, and in 1924 they changed the name of the company to Bobs' Candy Company. (The apostrophe was later dropped.) Bobs, which moved to a larger facility in the 1930s so that it could expand its product lines, was one of the few candy companies to remain solvent during the Great Depression.

As the economy began to improve in 1940, Americans began purchasing more candies and snacks. During World War II (1941-45), when sugar was rationed, coconuts were in short supply, and pecans were expensive, Bobs took advantage of a plentiful local product---the peanut---and sold peanut-butter crackers and vacuum-packed peanuts. During the 1950s, Bobs began such innovations as break-proof packaging, moisture-proof candy wrappers, and the Keller Machine, which twisted and cut the company's scrapped bits of stick candy into pieces that could be sold. In 1956 the company's name changed to Bobs Candies, and by 1958 the Keller Machine was perfected and able to mass produce the popular hooked candy cane.

By the end of the 1950s Bobs was producing 1.8 million sticks of candy each day and had national sales of $3.3 million. In spring 2005 the McCormacks sold the company to Farley's and Sathers Candy Company, a large distributor that manages such major candy brands as Now and Later, Jujyfruits, and Super Bubble. Farley's and Sathers shut down all of Bobs Candies' Albany operations by the end of 2005

President Woodrow Wilson on those who lost sons to war

"Again and again mothers who lost their sons in France have come to me, and, taking my hand, have not only shed tears upon it, but they have added, 'God bless you, Mr. President!' Why should they pray God to bless me? I advised the Congress to create the situation that led to the death of their sons. I ordered their sons overseas. I consented to their sons' being put in the most difficult part of the battle line, where death was certain. ...Why should they weep upon my hand and call down the blessings of God upon me? Because they believe that their boys died for something that vastly transcends any of the immediate and palpable objects of the war. They believe, and rightly believe, that their sons saved the liberty of the world."

- President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), September 1919.

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Number 8.16, May 23, 2008

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TODAY'S FOCUS: Gist of Gwinnett Resident's UGA Commencement Address
ELLIOTT BRACK: Just What Did States Gain By Moving to Early Voting?
CARTOON: Continued Jitters at the Airport
UPCOMING: Memorial Day Program, Moonlight Concert, Abraham To Speak, More
NOTABLE: Two Snellville Zoning Overlay Workshops; Gallbladder Surgery
RECOMMENDED RESTAURANT: Little Azio's in Suwanee
GEORGIA TIDBIT: Bobs Candies of Albany Supplies Sweets for Over 80 Years
TODAY'S QUOTE: Words from President Wilson near Memorial Day

An exhibit of works by local artist Vickie Johnson is now on display at the Suwanee Crossroads Center. Entitled "Perceptions," the show features 15 acrylic and oil paintings, including landscapes, cityscapes, and portraitures. Johnson has been an art teacher in Gwinnett County Schools since 1994. She was named the Gwinnett County Teacher of the Year in 1998. Originals or prints of most of Johnson's works on exhibit are available for purchase. More information about Johnson and her art may be found on her website, The exhibit is open to the public and will be on display for approximately the next three months. The Suwanee Crossroads Center, located at 323 Buford Highway.

FOR CHARITY. You can give "A Gift of Laughter," a new book of cartoons by Bill McLemore, to help raise money for Rainbow Village. At just $20, it's a fun way to help. To order, call 770 840 1003, or 770 446 3800, or email to

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Lake Lanier levels

"Again and again mothers who lost their sons in France have come to me, and, taking my hand, have not only shed tears upon it, but they have added, 'God bless you, Mr. President!' Why should they pray God to bless me? I advised the Congress to create the situation that led to the death of their sons. I ordered their sons overseas. I consented to their sons' being put in the most difficult part of the battle line, where death was certain. ...Why should they weep upon my hand and call down the blessings of God upon me? Because they believe that their boys died for something that vastly transcends any of the immediate and palpable objects of the war. They believe, and rightly believe, that their sons saved the liberty of the world."

- President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), September 1919.

7/3: Watch out for super patriotism
7/1: Getting better mileage
6/27: Remembering Tom Moss
6/24 :Impact of gas prices
6/20: Extending Reagan Parkway
6/17: Another building at GACS
6/13: Post Office has my money
6/10: Bill Clinton for high court?
6/6: New ballpark groundbreaking
6/3: MARTA ballot questions
5/30: Hoping gas comes down
5/27: Tucker author on WWII
5/23: All of that early voting
5/20: On Phil Gwinnett's visit
5/16: Barr in the race
5/13: Visiting Gulf Shores
5/9: More choices in races here
5/6: About rebate checks
5/2: Braselton leads in voting
EEB index of columns
7/1: Taste: Cutting fuel costs
6/24: Indech: Better energy policy
6/27: Grubbs: Be careful in summer
6/24: Stephens: Georgia Gwinnett grads
6/20: Auger: Gwinnett Reads!
6/17:: Scire: Brain dysfunctions
6/13: Gestar: Funds for K-9 dogs
6/10: Wehrman: Med Ctr. gets heart OK
6/6: Summerour: Dream comes true
6/3: Conti: Role for sale!
5/30: Moffett: Hope Clinic expands
5/27: Johnson: Rebranding Norcross
5/23: Shah: UGA address
5/20: Gwinnett: Visiting the county
5/16: Carroll: 1st theatre festival
5/13: Hardagree: Ballet Moms
5/9: Green: Reclaiming heritage
5/6: Price: Crohn's disease
5/2: De Carlo: On barking dogs

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