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Dawson celebrates Veterans Day December 2010

Post Office Box 299 292 Hwy. 400, North Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-6278

The Member Newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce

Shopping madness Midnight event kicks off holiday season By Michele Hester

If sales can be predicted by the number of shoppers at the local retailers over the Thanksgiving weekend, Dawson County will be in good shape, revenue wise. “I haven’t received any specific numbers, but we know there were a lot of people shopping our stores,” said Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Linda Williams. “Hopefully, those shoppers will reflect on sales.” The parking lot at North Georgia Premium

Outlets was filled to capacity long before the doors opened for thousands of shoppers at midnight on Thanksgiving. “We came for the deals,” said Linda Psam of Norcross, who loaded eight new handbags into her car before returning to shop the rest of the night. While a few of Psam’s purchases were intended as holiday gifts, she admitted most of what she bought “Black Friday” was for herself. See SHOPPING | 3

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Linda Psam and Vi Nguyen carry bags filled with handbags they purchased Black Friday.


‘Paying it forward’ can impact the community Well, here it is ... December. Along with December comes my final chairman’s message. I am honored to have had the privilege to serve as Chairman of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce for the year

2010. I feel we have accomplished at lot during these trying times. One of my goals this year was to encourage our community to shop local and support our neighborhood businesses. In addition, I wanted to promote the idea,

during this slow economic period, to get back to the basics of business. Getting back to the basics helps us to survive and even thrive by focusing on things that are important. Finally, I wanted to make sure that we at the chamber

are adding value to our chamber members. If you have purchased a membership into the chamber, it should be evident that the benefits far outweigh the cost. My hope is that we have come close to achieving our goals in these areas.

A final thought. During this season of Christmas, which some call the season of giving, I would like to encourage each of us, including myself, to take a day over the next few weeks See FORWARD | 3





2010 a successful year for the chamber Where has 2010 gone? Since this is the last article for 2010, it is natural that I should reflect upon our year as an organization. My thoughts go of course to the highlight of the year, which was the purchase of our new facility. After many years of wishing, then planning and searching, the perfect property became available. From my new office window I see only the beauty of the forest. By contrast, from the front of our building the view is quite the opposite with all of the bustling activity on Hwy. 400. On second thought, the view from the front is still quite green - $$$$. Our new building offers a mini version of the description we use when we “sell Dawson County.” It is a perfect blend of natural beauty and a promising place to bring one’s business and family. Even though Dawson County is still one of the best places to do business, as your chamber we are very aware of the challenges many of our members have faced this past

year. As your chamber of commerce we feel the same presWilliams sures exerted by the slow economy as you. With these challenges in mind, the 2010 board of directors has focused its efforts on supporting small business and has sought ways to keep local business and entrepreneurs successful. We have asked and sought your input and will continue to do so. Our Business after Hours and membership meetings were well attended this year. I am always rewarded to hear success stories regarding relationships that are built as a result of a chamber meeting. The best report of all is when an introduction at one of our meetings turns into a customer or client. Tell us your success stories and perhaps we will do an article on

your chamber experience in a future edition of The Chronicle. As we look ahead to the events of 2011, the event committee is already planning for our big annual meeting, also known as the Banquet and Auction. On Feb. 4, we will once again recognize and honor those who have excelled in the areas of business success and volunteer involvement. I encourage each of you to think of those who deserve the nomination as Business Leader of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. Forms will soon be available through our mailer and Constant Contact or you may call the office and request that we e-mail the form to you. On a bookkeeping note, most of our membership renewals occur in January. For those of you renewing in January, your invoice will be e-mailed the first week of the new year, unless you have requested a hard copy in the mail. In challenging economic times, I realize that your membership in our organi-

zation is at your discretion. However, I would like to modify a phrase from the cable advertising industry and say: “Dropping your chamber membership is like turning off your Open sign to save electricity.” It just doesn’t make good business sense to not be a member of your local chamber. Even if you cannot participate in our meetings and events, consider that your investment through membership dues is a very affordable way to keep your name in the Business Directory of our Web site, in 10,000 copies of the Dawson Magazine, and in 1,000 copies of our pocket Business Directory. That is a super value all by itself. We would love to talk with you one on one about the benefits of membership, and most important, hear from you about what you need. Our last get together of the year is Business after Hours from 5-7 p.m., Dec. 14 at United Community Bank. Once again our friends at United Community Bank

Chairman appoints new board member From staff reports

Mike Underwood, chairman of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, recently appointed Pat Anderson to serve on the chamber’s board of direc-

tors through 2011. Anderson, of Anderson Family Medicine, has accepted the appointment and will be serving on the chamber board effective immediately. She replaces Rhonda

Tower, who was elected by the chamber membership for 2010-11. Tower recently asked to resign her board position due to responsibilities with the family business, according to Linda

Williams, president of the chamber. Williams said that according to the chamber’s by-laws, the chairman appoints a board member replacement when someone resigns.

will be offering a tasting of fine North Georgia produced wine, and the cash drawing is up to $875. What a holiday gift that could be. Don’t miss this one as you must be present to win if your name is called. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, any other event, or simply

cherish time with family and friends, I wish you all a blessed season of joy and good will. I hope to see you at a chamber event soon. If you aren’t a member, won’t you join us?

of your world. Do you know what happened in your community last week? The Dawson Community News keeps you informed, so you always know what’s happening in your community.

Dawson Community News 514 Academy Ave., Dawsonville 706-265-3384 FAX 706-265-3276 ❑ $15 Local 1 Year Subscription ❑ $25 Local 2 Year Subscription



Dawson Community News (706) 265-3384

P O BOX 1600 514 Academy Ave. Dawsonville, Ga 30534

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS December There will be no chamber luncheon this month. Enjoy the holidays. Dec. 14: Join the chamber from 5-7 p.m. at United Community Bank’s Hwy. 400 branch for Business After Hours. Special thanks to AFLAC-Sharon Reagan, Anderson Family Medicine-Dr. Larry Anderson, Roberts, The Norton Agency-Kristie Myers and United Community Bank-James Askew for sponsoring the monthly cash drawing. Remember, you must be present to win if your name is drawn. The cash amount is currently at $875. Come and enjoy the wine tasting from Crimson & Scarlett’s Vineyard and other nearby wineries. For more information, call Kara Hewatt at (706) 265-3232. The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will be closed Dec. 2426 for Christmas holidays. The chamber staff wishes all a very Merry Christmas.

January Jan. 13: Join the chamber at noon for the first membership meeting of 2011. The program will provide information about GA House Bill 277 - a transportation bill. The bill provides for 12 regional transportation districts in Georgia

based on the regional commissions. If passed, a 1 percent sales tax would be used for regional transportation infrastructure projects approved by voters. For more information or to RSVP to the luncheon, call the chamber at (706) 2656278. Jan. 18: Attend the grand reopening of Cover to Cover Used Bookstore, Denny Insurance Group, Mario Hair Studio and Trend Storage at 11:30 a.m. The businesses are located at 42 Grant Road, Dawsonville. Bully Burgers from the Dawsonville Pool Room will be served. Jan. 29: The Dawson County Library announces that during the month of January it will be hosting “The Great Dawson County Scavenger Hunt.” The prize of $1,0 0 0 is an extra incentive to get teams to participate. Teams will be given a list of tasks and will earn points for completing the tasks. Sponsors of the event will be listed as a location to complete a task for points. The event will be a great team building opportunity. A link to the flyers and rules can be found on the chamber ’s Web site calendar. For more information, contact Stacey Leonhardt, library branch manager, at (706) 344-3690, Ext. 21 or e-mail


Shopping “Some for friends, some for family and some for me,” she said. Tesia Wimby of Atlanta said she was also shopping for herself early Friday morning as she stood in line to enter one outlet. The wait was two hours. “This line was so long we by-passed it the first time,” Wimby said, adding she would wait as long as it took to get inside. Heather Halpern, general manager at the outlet mall, said lines started forming in the early evening for stores opening between 9 p.m. and midnight. “When I came in at 7:30 p.m. there were already cars here with shoppers... and they were mapping out where they were going to go shopping,” she said. Halpern said the outlets have held the midnight shopping event for the last six years. “And every year we see continuous increases,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a


Forward and have the attitude of “paying it forward.” This is to say, do something for someone that is totally unexpected on the recipient’s part that would “bless them.” This is an opportunity to make an impact... to change a community... to get involved in something larger than yourself... to “love your neighbor.” Every day we encounter people experiencing lack or need but are we doing anything? What would happen if we decided we would no longer ignore, but we would make ourselves personally accountable for doing something to help someone? The answer is we would impact individual lives, families and our community forever and possibly create a new way of thinking. Here are some testimonies I discovered from a community close to us from ordinary people showing extraordinary kindness: “I found out about a freshman college student who was far away from home and down to one penny in their checking account so I deposited $100 to their account to make sure they had money to eat and travel. I remember being a freshman, living away from home for the first time!” - Jay

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Takiya Jackson and Tesia Wimby of Atlanta were among hundreds waiting in long lines at the outlets for Black Friday.

great holiday season.” According to National Retail Federation, 212 million people shopped stores and online over the Black Friday weekend, up from 195 million in 2009. Total spending reached an estimated $45 billion nationwide.

“Our daughter wanted to give her shoes that she had grown out of to a little girl who needed shoes. She put them in a bag and sent them by a friend.” - Angela “I was in line at McDonalds in Cleveland yesterday and I had wanted to do something no matter how big or small to help someone out. I was having a kinda rough day and decided what I needed was to touch someone else’s life. I paid for the lady behind me in the drive thru and as I pulled away I felt a peace about it.” - Karla There is someone in need around us today. Even though many of us are experiencing our own needs, just go for it! Something we do, no matter how small we may think it is, could change a life...and maybe, just maybe... it might be our own life we change by getting our eyes off of ourselves and seeing those in need around us. Go ahead and “Pay it Forward.” You have nothing to lose and so much to gain. From the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, we hope you have a blessed and joyous Christmas Season. Please call on us if you ever have a need. Mike Underwood Chairman



Program gives kids ‘head start’ Frank Reddy

Dillon Nelson is grateful for the dual enrollment program at Lanier Technical College. Nelson, a current Lanier Tech student and former program participant, said the arrangement gave him “a head start.” “I didn’t weld until I got into the program, and I found out how much I really enjoyed it,” Nelson said. “Now I want to keep going and see what happens career-wise.” Nelson was one of several local students who attended last month’s ceremony recognizing the partnership the college has formed with the Dawson County school system. The classes allow 11thand 12th-graders to simultaneously “stack” credits toward high

school diplomas and college degrees. Welding instructor Jeremy Ledford said the classes offer students “the opportunity to learn something they can take out into the real world right out of high school.” Jeff Fitzpatrick, Lanier Tech’s high school coordinator, praised instructors like Ledford and other local leaders. “[The Dawson County program] has a higher percentage of students who are in dual enrollment than anywhere else in the state,” Fitzpatrick said. Lanier Tech President Russell Vandiver said Dawson County is well represented among the institution’s seven-county coverage area. “I don’t know another one of those counties that comes close to what y’all are doing with dual enrollment in Dawson County,” he said.

Vandiver said dual enrollment is a valuable asset for today’s student. “The end result is [a student] is going to end up with something that’s going to take them a long way in life,” Vandiver said. Fitzpatrick said the dual enrollment program is similar to those found at other colleges across the state. The program is open to every student, though they must qualify before enrolling. Lanier Tech also offers joint enrollment, a program where high school students only earn college credits, not high school credits as well. Joint enrollment started about a decade ago. Rather than attend classes during the school day, students attend class after high school hours. Elizabeth Burlingame of the DCN regional staff contributed to this report.

Officials with Lanier Technical College and Dawson County schools signed a dual enrollment agreement at the Dawson Campus last month. Students involved in the program were also in attendance. Students, from left, Rush Davenport, Tylor Wheeler, Dillon Frank Reddy Dawson Community News Nelson, Harlee Dawson and Faith Frankland. Front row, from left, Joanne Tolleson, Jute Wilson, Russell Vandiver, Keith Porter and Roger Slaton.

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Cindy Leveille and Don Zangara gathered Nov. 19 with Dawson County Chamber of Commerce members for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Duo specializes in reverse mortgage By Frank Reddy

A local couple that specializes in reverse mortgages held its ribbon cutting ceremony Nov. 19 at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. Cindy Leveille and Don Zangara work for Roswell-based Park Place Reverse Mortgage, but they live and work in Dawson County. A reverse mortgage is a loan available to seniors and is used to release the home equity in the property as one lump sum or multiple payments. Leveille said Park Place Reverse Mortgage has been in business for about seven years. “We just want to help the community and help

the seniors in the community,” she said. Recently, she said, the business was “able to help a senior keep her home. She was about to lose it, so it can be a big help to some people. It’s not for everybody, but it can really help a lot of people.” Leveille said what sets them apart from others is that “we specialize in

Office: 706-216-4806 Fax: 706-216-4807

reverse mortgage, and only reverse mortgage. “We’re local, and we’ll come and meet with people individually,” she said. “We try very heard to make the senior feel comfortable, which I believe is a very important part of this.” For more information, call (678) 316-3341 or visit

P.O Box 1096 137 Prominence Court Suite 240 Dawsonville, GA 30534 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 5


Grace Presbyterian receives charter By Michele Hester

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Michael Carter, owner of Ga. Promotional Products, recently joined the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and held a ribbon cutting Nov. 17 at the chamber’s office on Ga. 400.

Company helps local businesses advertise By Michele Hester

Promotional products are said to outlast many other forms of advertising, and now a company based in Forsyth County has more than 1,000 products to fit every budget. “Our company provides what we call strategic branding remembrance,” said Michael Carter, owner of Ga. Promotional Products. With products ranging from pens and pencils, to T-shirts, mugs and ball caps, Carter said he hasn’t found an item he can’t brand. “The only thing I haven’t been able to print on right now is ... pretty much, I haven’t been stopped,” he said. In business since 1998, Ga. Promotional Products is geared to helping businesses find success in advertising. “We like to sit down with our customers and figure out where they need to

The congregation at Grace Presbyterian celebrated last month as the newest church in the Cherokee Presbytery. “It’s a very meaningful day in the life of a Presbyterian Church,” said member Gary Pichon. The service marked more than five years of preparations to become the first Presbyterian Church in Dawson County. “In all but name we’ve been a church for five years,” Pichon said. The charter now means the church can take part in the governance of other churches in the Cherokee Presbytery. What started as a local Bible study group talking about a need for a Presbyterian Church in Dawsonville

has now grown to a congregation of more than 100 members. In the last few years, the church has been active in the community with contributions such as a free clinic for those without health insurance and a soup kitchen that provides a free meal twice a week. Jay Sessions, a church elder, said the growth and service to the community are a direct result of the kind and compassionate leadership demonstrated by founding pastor the Rev. Dr. Mark Weaver. Weaver passed away earlier this year, but his flock knew he was with them in spirit. “The constitution of Grace was Mark’s vision and dream. We would have never been able to achieve this without his leadership and service to our church and community,” he said.

‘We like to sit down with our customers and figure out where they need to be remembered.’ Michael Carter Owner of Ga. Promotional Products

be remembered,” Carter said. “If your potential customer is sitting at a desk, then we need to find something that’s going to be sitting outside on that desk, so every time they see it, they remember.” A complete listing of products are available at, or call (678) 845-0397 for more information.

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Hunter and Sage Crabtree carry bread for communion as part of Grace Presbyterian’s Constitution Service Nov. 21.



State leaders discuss upcoming session Frank Reddy

The local chamber of commerce invited state government officials to Dawson County last month for an informal meeting. Talks between local and state government officials ran the gamut during the annual, informal gathering Nov. 29 at Fire Station No. 2. Topics included state budget reductions, potential water solutions and local education. Chamber of Commerce President Linda Williams said the organization wanted Dawson County officials and state legislators to have an opportunity to “sit down before the next session. “Our goal is to help keep the lines of communication open, and I think it went well,” Williams said. A representative for House

Speaker David Ralston told the group of about a dozen that a $1.5 billion budget cut can be expected in the coming year. Incoming District 51 State Sen. Steve Gooch said an increase in tax revenue is unlikey, because “nobody who got elected in November is going to raise taxes.” “I think everybody’s going to have to do more with less,” he said. “... How do you cut $1.5 billion without eliminating some jobs?” Gooch said local school boards “have a tough job.” “Their only source of income is property tax and the money from the state of Georgia,” he said. Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter said salaries in the local district make up 89 percent of the school board’s budget. District 9 state Rep. Amos

Amerson said one of the biggest state education issues involved the HOPE scholarship program. “The program is not only in danger, it’s totally broke,” Amerson said. “We’ll be out of money [for the program], including reserve funds, before the end of 2011.” He added that 55 to 60 percent of students who enter the university system lose HOPE in the first year, “which means the high schools are not being a good filter system.” Porter said the numbers were not a good indicator of the issue. “I don’t want the conversation to take that turn,” Porter said. “We don’t have any choice in the public school system regarding what kids come to us. We take 100 percent of them, then we try to graduate them.

“Postsecondary [systems] have the opportunity to choose those kids, yet they’re still not being as successful as they want, and we’re hearing back that it’s our fault they weren’t prepared.” Amerson fielded questions from others, including Dawson County Commissioner Gary Pichon. Pichon touted a Dawson Forest project still in the planning stages as a revenue generator, recreational area and water solution. “I support [the 2,000-acre lake ] because we have to conserve and impound water in north Georgia. It needs to be done,” Pichon said. Brooke Anderson, general manager of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, also referred to the potential reservoir on the 10,000-acre city of Atlantaowned tract.

The proposal would pair the local government and a private company in the construction of a reservoir as a possible future source of drinking water. “We have the money available, and we have the partnership available,” Anderson said. “We just need a little help to get there.” Amerson addressed the matter. “I don’t think your largest obstacle is the state legislature, other than how it is motivated or unmotivated by the environmentalists,” Amerson said. “You have these groups that are screaming bloody murder over the possibility of building this.” The event, sponsored by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, also included representatives from the city council and development authority.

Authority has new chairman By Frank Reddy

Members of the Downtown Development Authority met last month and nominated local insurance agent Chris Gaines as the new chairman of the seven-member board. Former Chairwoman and business owner Cathie Waddell recently resigned from the post and from the authority. In addition, Keith Stone was nominated as treasurer, and Nick Nicodemus will serve as secretary. At the Nov. 15 meeting, board members discussed the possibility of holding a joint meeting with the newly formed Downtown Merchants group, as well as the Dawson County Chamber of

Commerce. The purpose of the meeting, said Gaines, would be to brainstorm ways to promote downtown Dawsonville using all three entiGaines ties. Others in attendance included downtown business owner Gordon Pirkle, Councilman Mike Sosebee and City Attorney Dana Miles. The group meets once a month to discuss issues that concern the development of downtown Dawsonville. The next Downtown Development Authority meeting is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 10. All meetings are held at city hall

• Congratulations to the Top 3 Ambassadors for 2010: Angela Harben, Kara Hewatt and Kim Turner Tallant. • One of these three will be named Ambassador of the Year at the Feb. 4 annual gala. • Shop chamber members first. • Shopping local keeps sales tax dollars working for you. • Are you certified Work Ready? Please let the chamber know when you have a special event. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 7


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Farm-City Week celebrated in Dawsonville By Frank Reddy

The Dawson County Farm Bureau and Dawsonville city government joined hands last month to promote an annual celebration of agriculture and commerce. Farm-City Week celebrates the relationship between farmers and those who process, market and sell the food to consumers. Mayor Joe Lane Cox signed a proclamation Nov. 16 to commemorate the week locally, which ran from Nov. 19-25. Members of the Dawson County Farm Bureau showed up to accept the proclamation and shake hands with the mayor. Pat Gober, Dawson County

Farm Bureau president, said agriculture “has always been important for the obvious reasons of providing food, clothing and shelter, but agriculture affects everyone’s life in so many other ways by creating jobs, providing habitat for wildlife and protecting green space.” Added Gober: “Without farmers, Georgia can’t grow.” Kiwanis International began National Farm-City Week in 1955 to increase the understanding of the partnership between urban and rural residents. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the annual celebration. For more information about the state farm bureau, visit

Members of the Dawson County Farm Bureau met with Dawsonville’s mayor last month to commemorate Farm-City Week. From left, Nathan Turner, Pat Gober, Mayor Joe Lane Cox, Wayne Bennett and Garland Reagen. Frank Reddy Dawson Community News



Agriculture No. 1 in Dawson County By Frank Reddy

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Brooke Anderson, right, Etowah Water and Sewer Authority general manager, grabs a bite to eat during last month’s business after hours at the authority’s newly renovated building.

The guest speaker for November’s chamber of commerce luncheon was Clark Beusse, extension coordinator for Dawson County. Beusse spoke Nov. 18 regarding the state of local agriculture, which he called “very strong.” “Agriculture is the number one industry in Dawson County,” Beusse said. “A lot of people don’t realize that. Not until you go off the beaten path, on the back roads of Dawson County, do you get a sense of the agriculture that we have.” Agriculture trends include an increase in the number of greenhouses as well as the continued success of “agri-tourism,” such as fall festivals, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. The Dawson County Extension Office

is part of the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. According to its Beusse Web site, the mission of the extension office is “to extend lifelong learning to Georgia citizens through unbiased, research-based education in agriculture, the environment, communities, youth and families.” For more information, call (706) 265-2442, e-mail or visit The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce plays host to a luncheon once a month, where a guest speaker is invited to talk with members and staff.

Etowah after hours ‘successful’ By Frank Reddy

Guests and chamber of commerce m e m b e r s g o t t o s e e t h e n ew a n d improved Etowah Water and Sewer Authority building last month during business after hours. No winner emerged for the monthly cash drawing, which grows next month to $875. R I C R a c k ’s bu s i n e s s c a r d w a s drawn to win the cash prize of $750, but no representatives were there to accept. Winners must be present to take home the cash prize. Brooke Anderson, general manage r o f E t o w a h Wa t e r a n d S e w e r Authority, said he thought the Nov. 23 event was “very successful and well attended, particularly considering the weather we had that night.” Attendees of the gathering battled

a cold and rainy November night. “I definitely appreciate everybody coming out and showing their support not only for the chamber but also for Etowah as we rededicated the building,” Anderson said. The chamber of commerce also held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the authority’s renovated facilities prior to business after hours. A n d e r s o n s a i d h e g o t p o s i t iv e feedback from the event. “There were a lot of people who said they liked the way it looked,” he said, adding that “it was nice to b e a b l e t o a c c o m m o d a t e a l a rg e crowd without anyone feeling cramped.” This month’s business after hours is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Dec. 14 at U n i t e d C o m m u n i t y B a n k ’s 4 0 0 branch. The bank will hold a wine tasting featuring local winemakers at the event.

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

DOME RAISED ON NEW COURTHOUSE Crews raised the dome that will be the focal point for the new Dawson County Courthouse and Government Center on Nov. 22. Construction on the four-story building, which will bring all county offices under one roof, is expected to be complete in late 2011. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 11


Chamber urges members to review health care bill From staff reports

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Linda Williams wants to encourage local residents to take a look at the federal Health Care Bill that will go into effect Jan. 1, 2012. Specifically, a clause that would require all businesses to issue a 1099 on purchases of over $600 to all vendors, both corporate, and sole proprietor. “This means if your company goes to any retailer or service provider and spends more than $600 in a year, your company will have to send a 1099 at the end of the year,” Williams said. Added Williams: “The time to prepare and issue these 1099 forms will be extremely time consuming.” Williams encouraged residents to contact federal legislators regarding the Health Care Bill.

“While it is not our intent to tell our members how to act or react, the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is concerned about the extreme amount of paperwork this may cause our members. “Business owners who also are concerned are urged to contact their delegation in Washington if they feel this part of the bill should be eliminated. There is strength in numbers and together our voice can be heard,” Williams said. U.S. Sen. Jonny Isakson can be reached at (770) 661-0999 or (202) 2243643. U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss can be reached at (770) 763-9090 or (202) 224-3521. Congressman Tom Graves can be reached at (770) 535-2592 or (202) 2255211. For more information about the health care bill, visit

Thank You Chamber Building Fund Sponsors

NEW MEMBERS The Varsity Junior John Browne (770) 795-0802 93 Bethel Drive Dawsonville, GA 30534 Category: Restaurant Lake Lanier Association Joanna Cloud (770) 503-7757 615 Oak Street Suite 100 Gainesville, GA 30501 Category: Nonprofit

Salon 08 Lynn Watson (706) 216-0098 42 Grant Road East Dawsonville, GA 30534 Category: Hair Salon

November totals Walk-in visitors: 789 Telephone referrals: 2,693

MEMBER RENEWALS Special thanks to the following members that renewed memberships last month: The Abacus Group Healthy Eating on the Perfect Gatherings Catering Premium Package Outlet Hill Design Associates Architects

Dawson County Family Connection Corporate Massage Therapist Blue Ridge Glassworks Karl and Pam Hamalainen

Property Investment Associates




Chamber names top three ambassadors for the year By Michele Hester

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce announced this year’s top three ambassadors during the group’s year-end celebration breakfast Dec. 1. Kara Hewatt, Angela Harben and Kim Tallant were selected for their contributions to the allvolunteer organization in 2010. Harben is an Hewatt administrative assistant and office manager at KC Fuller and Associates. Hewatt works in marketing at United Community Bank. Tallant is a marketing representative for Community & Southern Bank. “The names are in no particular order,” said Ambassador Cochair Lori Lewis as she read the names. The chamber’s Ambassador of the Year will be selected from the slate of three, who received certificates of appreciation for their volunteer efforts. The ambassadors are an informed, select group of motivated, enthusiastic and articulate businessmen and women who serve as liaisons to the chamber’s membership and represent the chamber at many civic and social events. Mike Underwood, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, congratulated the finalists and the Ambassador Program as a whole. “The face in the work of the chamber is right here. You are the folks that represent every-

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, thanks Lori Lewis, left, and Carol Tyger, who served as the co-chairwomen for the chamber’s Ambassador Program in 2010.

Chamber thanks the Ambassador co-chairwomen Photos by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Angela Harben, right, is one of three women in the running for the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year, which will be announced Feb. 4 at the chamber’s annual gala. Lori Lewis presented the certificate. Below, Kim Tallant, right, was also selected as one of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce top Ambassadors

thing we do,” he said. “I just want to say thank you, very much.”

The Ambassador of the Year will be named on Feb. 4 at the chamber’s annual gala.

By Michele Hester

Two women who served as co-chairs of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Program were recently recognized during the group’s year-end breakfast celebration. Chamber president Linda Williams awarded Lori Lewis and Carol Tyger with tokens of appreciation Dec. 1 for guiding the all-volunteer group of ambassadors in 2010. “We have committees that come and go, but the ambassadors is ongoing, and I know you put a lot of work into it every month,” Williams said. Both Lewis and Tyger said they enjoyed the time they spent overseeing the program, which Tyger called a “fun” experience. As the ambassador repre-

‘We have committees that come and go, but the ambassadors is ongoing, and I know you put a lot of work into it every month.’ Linda Williams Chamber president sentative on the chamber’s board of directors, Tyger reports back to the board monthly on the group’s activity. “The board has really well received what all of you are doing. I’m the representative, but it’s what all of you are doing,” Tyger said. “And they always applaud what I tell them.” | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 13


Photos by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

The Reading Education Association of Dawson County bought dinner for volunteer instructors last month at the Dawson Campus of Lanier Technical College’s Adult Learning Center.

A show of gratitude for local teachers By Frank Reddy

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Nicky Gilleland, former superintendent of Dawson County Schools, reads to a class at Black’s Mill Elementary last month during Celebrity Reader Day.

Reading Education Association of Dawson County provided funding for the annual teacher appreciation dinner last month at the Dawson campus of Lanier Technical College. Lead Instructor Kathy Davis said the organization “is good enough to give us funding for this every year. “We have so many great volunteer instructors who give so much of their time,” Davis said. “This is a very small token of our appreciation, but it’s something we want to do for them.” Davis — who prepared much of the Nov. 16 feast — added that instructors “eat good” at the yearly gathering. Volunteer math instructor Frank Poltenson agreed. “The food looks great,” he said, as he entered a room at the center set up for the occasion. “This really shows us they care about us.” Fellow instructor Beth Paul agreed. “It’s very nice,” she said. Paul is a volunteer reading and writing instructor at the Dawson Campus. Volunteers had their pick of turkey,

Reading: ‘It puts a smile on their faces’ Schools celebrate Celebrity Reader Day By Frank Reddy

Sandy Lipkowitz, director of Reading Education Association of Dawson County, arranges food for instructor s at the annual teacher appreciation dinner.

ham and several side items, as well as a cheesecake dessert prepared by Reading Education Association of Dawson County’s director, Sandy Lipkowitz.

Black’s Mill and Robinson elementary schools invited community leaders from all over Dawson County to participate last month in the annual Celebrity Reader Day. Throughout the day, dozens of volunteers visited both schools. Black’s Mill Media Specialist Tana Martin said Celebrity Reader Day stresses the importance of literacy. “ E ve r y b o d y ’s t e l l i n g k i d s t h a t

r e a d i n g i s i m p o r t a n t ,” s h e s a i d . “They hear it from their parents, they hear it from their teachers ... but to hear it from other people in the community, that makes a huge difference.” Robinson Elementary’s media spec i a l i s t , R e b e c c a Wi l s o n , s a i d Celebrity Reader Day “is an opportunity for kids to see adults enjoy reading. It’s a great change of pace for them.” Added Wilson: “They really enjoy it. It puts a smile on their faces.” Martin said the definition of a celebrity is “anybody who is willing to serve our community and help kids by showing up and reaching out to them by reading.”



Authority has ‘spirit’ By Frank Reddy

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Myrna Ruiz was one of almost three dozen Dawson County Citizen Academy graduates last month. The 10-week course is designed to give participants an insider’s look at local government operations. Commission Chair Mike Berg, left, presented completion certificates at Riverview Middle School on Nov. 16.

Citizens graduate from government academy By Michele Hester

The 2010 class of Dawson County’s Citizen Academy came to a close last month with a ceremony at Riverview Middle School. Designed to give participants an insider’s look at local government operations, the 10week course was described as an “eye-opener” by several graduates. “This course has really opened my eyes to what the county does and what it does for me,” said Ivan Ruiz, who attended the classes with his wife, Myrna. The couple moved to Dawsonville about three years ago from Marietta and were surprised to learn the county offered the course. “We had never been involved in any sort of any county government. Actually we really didn’t know too much about it,” Ruiz said. “Moving to Dawson actually gave us that opportunity when we heard about the citizens academy. It’s really beneficial.” Taught by Dawson County government staff, the course gives participants an upclose look at the inner workings of county

government through one-on-one interaction with local officials and those responsible for day-to-day operations of government. Donna Hanson said she wished she and her husband Pat had taken the course years ago. “You don’t realize what’s involved in the running of a county government. It’s very enlightening,” she said. For Catherine Smith, the course could lead to further involvement in county government. “The course just opened up doors for me, because I had no idea what went on in the different county departments. It’s a true education.” she said. “I’ve been telling everybody about it.” Jason Reed said he’s also been talking the program up to friends and family. “It clarified a lot of questions that my family and friends had misleading information about in the past. I recommend it to everyone,” he said. “I think everyone should be required to take it.” For more information, or to have your name placed on the list for next year’s academy, call Cathy Brooks at (706) 344-3501.

Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has garnered some special attention over the past several weeks for its accolades. At November’s business after hours, a first-ever American Spirit Award was presented to the authority. Pam Hamalainen, president of Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, presented General Manager Brooke Anderson with the award Nov. 23. “[Etowah Water and Sewer Authority] has made it possible for us to have the Walk of Honor and Serenity Garden at Veterans Memorial Park,” Hamalainen said. “It’s very moving, and it means a lot to our veterans.” Anderson thanked everyone. “We very much appreciate this,” he said. Hamalainen said the American Spirit Award “was appropriate. “American spirit is defined in many ways,” she said. “It means having a can-do attitude, giving without limitations or expectations and a great respect for our country.”

‘[Etowah Water and Sewer Authority] has made it possible for us to have the Walk of Honor and Serenity Garden at Veterans Memorial Park.’ Pam Hamalainen President of Veterans Affairs The award was originally presented to authority members during the Nov. 11 Veterans Day Celebration at Dawson County Middle School. Hamalainen said she wanted to recognize them in front of others as well. In addition to the American Spirit Award, the authority recently received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fourth consecutive year.

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Brooke Anderson, general manager of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, receives the American Spirit Award on Nov. 23 from Pam Hamalainen, president of Veterans Affairs of Dawson County. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 15


Dawson thanks veterans By Frank Reddy

Dawson County loves its veterans. To prove it, hundreds of residents s h ow e d u p f o r t h e s i x t h a n n u a l Ve t e r a n s D a y C e l e b r a t i o n l a s t month. The event is one of just 54 sites nationwide recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The celebration started with a formal ceremony, followed by a parade through downtown Dawsonville. Along with hundreds of others, keynote speaker and Governor-elect Nathan Deal expressed his gratitude. “On this day, Veterans Day, it is altogether appropriate that we stop, pause and remember the sacrifice of those who served.” Deal, who himself is a veteran, said sacrifice is a concept that is dear to the hearts of veterans. “Patriots and veterans know the true meaning of the word,” Deal said. Fellow veteran Bill Ledbetter of Dawsonville said he was glad to see residents show up. “It’s about history,” Ledbetter said. “It’s about national pride. These people support the troops, and that’s good to see.” Fellow residents Michael and Denise Legano agreed. “Our veterans have kept us safe,” said Denise Legano. “Without them, we’re nothing.” Both of the Leganos’ fathers served in World War II. “We wanted to pay tribute to them today,” said Michael Legano. The Leganos attended both the parade and formal ceremony Nov. 11. D u r i n g t h e f o r m a l c e r e m o ny, Capt. Larry Freeland wa s announced as the 2010 Veteran of the Year. “I am honored and humbled by this, and I certainly appreciate it,” Freeland said. The formal ceremony, which was h e l d a t D aw s o n C o u n t y M i d d l e School, also featured a 21-gun

‘HIRE’ new workers by year’s end for tax break From staff reports

Photos by Tom Reed DCN regional staff

Members of the Dawson County High School JROTC march through downtown Dawsonville during the Dawson County Veterans Day parade

The North Georgia College and State University Color Guard and veterans representing a variety of branches of the service stand at attention during the Dawson County Veterans Day Celebration on Nov. 11.

salute by the Veterans Alliance, a tribute to active military and the

presentation of colors by the North Georgia Color Guard.

Businesses who put the unemployed back to work by the end of the year are eligible for tax relief through a new government program. Known as Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Tax, or HIRE, Social Security Tax breaks for business owners are available up to $6,621 per employee if the employee has been out of work for at least 60 days. The program, signed into law in midmarch by President Barack Obama, also provides credits up to $1,000 to the employer if the new employees stay for 52 weeks — either full-time or parttime. There is no minimum requirement on how many hours a new employee must work and no limit on how many new employees can qualify. The new employees must be hired between Feb. 3, 2010, and Jan. 1, 2011, to qualify, and the new hires cannot replace other employees unless those workers left voluntarily or for cause. Other caveats are that a new employee cannot be related to the employer and cannot own more than 50 percent of the business. The new law requires documentation to certify the new employee has worked fewer than 40 hours for at least 60 days. The HIRE law also helps business owners with major asset purchases by extending the $250,000 deduction limit under Section 179 for tax years beginning in 2010. For more information, call Rushton and Company, accountants and business planners, at (770) 287-7800.












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December 2010 Chronicle  
December 2010 Chronicle  

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