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Chamber welcomes new member January 2011

The Member Newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce

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

Chamber thanks 2010 chairman By Michele Hester

Members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce presented Mike Underwood with a gift of gratitude for his year of service last month during the group’s monthly business after hours event held at United Community Bank. Underwood, the chamber’s 2010 board chairman, will pass the gavel to Stephanie Mathis on Feb. 4 at the chamber’s annual

gala and awards banquet. “I thought Mike did a great job as chairman. He always has a positive attitude and looks for the good in things instead of the bad,” said former chairman and president of United Community Bank James Askew, who presented Underwood with a gift basket on behalf of the chamber. The December Business After Hours featured a wine tasting event and was well See CHAIR | 3

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

James Askew, right, presents outgoing chairman Mike Underwood with a token of gratitude for his year of service to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce during the group’s monthly business after hours meeting in December.


Don’t be afraid to try something new this year “To change the world, Start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all.” - Dave Matthews

I’m a Dave Matthews Band fan. However this column is not about music or concerts or my own fabu-

lous dancing. It is about the idea behind one song, “You Might Die Trying.” The foundation of the song is a challenge: What are you not doing and why? What are you afraid of? That you might die trying? It’s a new year and an

unprecedented time in our history. Many of us are trying new things we previously may have found uncomfortable. Sometimes we will make mistakes as we learn, but it is most important to try. Our worst-case scenario

fears rarely, if ever, play out. Most often we attempt something new and find strength within ourselves, or an ability we didn’t even know was there. You can be taught. You can learn. You can experience new things. Many of you reading this

article are entrepreneurs, so you know what it means to be brave. Perhaps you need to make some changes in your business. Don’t close your eyes to the challenges See NEW | 3





Get business fit in the year ahead Happy New Year. 2011 has arrived and I have finally wrapped up projects specific to 2010. It just occurred to me that we are now in the second decade of the 21st century. Time really does fly. As is traditional at this time of year, people are making New Year’s Resolutions and usually near the top of the list is something regarding getting fit or healthy. With that thought, I would like to suggest that you make New Year’s Resolutions regarding the health and fitness of your business. Certainly your needs will be specific to your business and no one can determine what should be done better than you or someone on your team. A resource to get you started may be an organization that is specific to your industry. For example, your Dawson County Chamber of Commerce is also a member of the U.S. Chamber and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Both of those organizations

have checklists that serve as guides to the appropriate documents and procedures Williams that a chamber of commerce should have in place. The staff and I are currently reviewing those lists and filling in the gaps. Like it or not, one area that needs to be assessed often, is technology infrastructure and the company’s use of social media. If this is not your strong point, then make sure you have someone on staff or a service provider that is up to date. Did you see the QR code on Page 2 of the newest Dawson Magazine? You should have received your copy within the last two weeks by mail or stop by the chamber office for your complimentary copy. If you are not familiar with QR codes, you will start to see them every-

where. It is a graphic that can be scanned by a smart phone and will take you to the Web page of that company or organization. So go ahead, look at Page 2 in the new magazine and if you have a smart phone, download the free application and give it a try. This is a good place to remind you that due to become effective in 2012 are the 1099 Form requirements. This has been mentioned before, but this is an extremely important issue that business owners need to know about. Beginning in 2012, all businesses will have to issue 1099 Forms for expenditures on goods and services of $600 or more in any taxable year. The new reporting requirements were introduced as part of the health care reform legislation enacted on March 23, 2010 and were intended to offset some of the costs of the healthcare bill itself. But the administration of this requirement both at the

business level and at the government level will be astronomical. Think of it this way. If this new law is not repealed, you will have to send a 1099 Form even to companies like Kroger or Wal-Mart if you spend more than $600 total in any year for items for your business. If you have company meals at Longhorn Restaurant and the total for the year is $600 or more, you will have to send a 1099 Form to Longhorn. You can come up with countless scenarios that will require 1099 reporting. Your board members have discussed this issue and believe this will be a huge and unmanageable burden particularly to small business owners. For more information, simply search the Internet for “1099 filing requirements for 2012.” If you wish to express your viewpoint, it is very important that you contact U.S. Senators Isakson and

Special thanks to the following members that renewed memberships last month: Commissioners Dawson Co. Chapter 970 V.V.A. Dawson Community News Dawson County Sheriff’s Office Dawson Insurance Agency Dawson News & Advertiser Dawson Vision Dawsonville Distinctive Dentistry Dawsonville Hardware Co. Inc Donald III, Norman H. Duncan Exterminating Co. Economic Development Corporation Etowah Water and Sewer Authority

2011 with Stephanie Mathis as our chairwoman. She has fresh ideas and is forward thinking. Didn’t you get inspired by her inaugural article in this issue of the newsletter? I hope to see you at the Annual Banquet and Auction on Feb. 4 and other chamber events soon. Won’t you join us?

of your world.

MEMBER RENEWALS 400 Floor Covering Inc. 400 Jewelry and Loan Atlanta Gas Light Company Bastuba, Jim and Phyllis Big Canoe Property Owners Association Bradfield, Pamela Carey, Steve and Marge Chestatee Regional Library System Christ Redeemer Catholic Church Community & Southern Bank Compton, Robert M. Crown Mountain Women’s Health Dawson County Board of

Chambliss and U.S. Congressman Tom Graves now and ask them to repeal this part of the legislation. Legislators do pay attention when they hear the same message from their constituents. Together our voice is strong. If you need their contact information, just contact the chamber office at (706) 265-6278. I look forward to a great

First Citizens Bank of Georgia Foley, Tom and Jeanne Forrest Hills Mountain Resort Forsyth County News Frank A. Kruse III, DDS Gainesville State College Gainesville Welding and Rendering Equipment Georgia Softworks Inc. Gold City Corral and Carriage Company H & R Block Patricia Portal

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 January Jan. 13: Membership meeting - Join the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce for the first membership meeting of 2011 at noon at the Lakeview Center, 2057 Dawson Forest Road. Adam Hazell with Georgia Mountains Regional Commission will be the guest speaker.The program will provide information about GA House Bill 277 - a transportation bill.The very important 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 the voters. Jan. 18: Join the chamber at 11:30 a.m. for the Grand ReOpening for Cover to Cover Used Bookstore, located at 42 Grant Road.The store will be serving tea and cookies and of course, they will have books for all ages and stages at great prices. Jan. 25: Quarterly Community Forum, 3-5 p.m. at the Dawsonville Municipal Complex, upstairs meeting room.The public is invited. Jan. 25: Don't miss the first Business After Hours of 2011. Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge, along with the Hike Inn & Friends of Amicalola, will host the event from 57 p.m. Special thanks to AFLAC-Sharon Reagan, Anderson Family Medicine- Dr. Larry Anderson, HealthyEatingOnTheRun.c om- Barbara Roberts, Kristie Myers- The Norton Agency & United Community Bank- James Askew for sponsoring the

cash drawing.The cash drawing will begin the new year at $600. Remember, you must be present to win if your name is drawn. Jan. 29: The Dawson County Library is proud to announce an awesome fundraiser. During the month of January the library will be hosting "The Great Dawson County Scavenger Hunt."The event is a fun way to get businesses and residents involved in a fun event and help the library in the process.The prize of $1,000 is an extra incentive to get teams to participate.The way it will work is teams will be given a list of tasks and they earn points from completing those tasks. Sponsors of the will be listed as a location to complete a task for points. If you decide not to be a sponsor, why not start a team with coworkers and employees?This is a great team building opportunity. A link to the flyers and rules may be found on the Chamber's Web site calendar. For more information, contact Stacey Leonhardt at the Dawson County Library at (706) 344-3690, Ext. 21, or visit

February Feb. 2: Join the chamber at 11:30 a.m. for a ribbon cutting for Salon 08.The salon is at 42 Grant Road, just off Hwy. 400 North. Feb. 4: Don't miss the annual Dawson County Chamber of Commerce gala.The event will be held at the Lakeview Center off Dawson Forest Road. Seating is limited, so please RSVP to the chamber, by calling (706) 265-6278.This year's theme will be “Big Time in the Big Easy!” The event is black tie optional.


Chair attended, according to chamber officials. Many attended to sample wines from local wineries, while others anxiously awaited the chamber’s monthly grand prize cash drawing. Prior to the event, chamber officials announced someone would definitely go home with a cash prize. When Rodney Suddeth, whose name was drawn for the $875 grand prize, was not present, Chamber president Linda Williams said she would continue to draw names until someone was present to win the consolation prize. With luck on her side, birthday girl Kathy Fuller’s name was next to be drawn. She walked away with $400, which she said she would use on a trip to see family. The chamber would like to thank the following members who support the monthly cash drawings with monetary donations: James AskewUnited Community Bank, Kristie Myers-The Norton Agency, Barbara Roberts-


New you are facing. You are not alone and the chamber is here to help you by providing networking opportunities to showcase your company and business education programs to help you succeed and prosper. This year, face your fears, whatever form they may take and work hard to overcome those obstacles. Sign up for a class, attend one of our events, stick out your hand and make a connec-

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Kathy Fuller, right, wasn’t expecting to receive a birthday present when she attended the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours on Dec. 14 at United Community Bank. However, she came away as the winner of the $400 cash prize., Larry AndersonAnderson Family Medicine and Sharon Reagan-AFLAC. The chamber would also like to thank the individuals and businesses that donated

door prizes for the event. The next business after hours event will be held from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 25 at Amicalola Falls State Park Lodge. For more information, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

tion with someone new. Take advantage of these benefits of chamber membership and grow your business. The Chamber Gala on Feb. 4 is the perfect opportunity to enjoy a fun filled night while promoting your business. I am personally inviting you to come, meet some new people and talk about your business. Seek inspiration from current and future leaders participating in Leadership Dawson 2011, starting this month. The group of 27 residents will develop leadership skills that will serve them for a lifetime. They will meet current officials and lawmakers, learn

about the functions of the county and be challenged to improve the community in a specific way. They are trying something new and learning more about themselves in the process. Out of their comfort zone? Maybe. Worthwhile on many levels? Definitely. This year, take a chance, take a risk. You will not die trying. And most likely, you will succeed beyond your own imagination. As Dave says: “You begin, you get the world.” Stephanie Mathis Chairwoman



Company touts eating healthy Chamber welcomes new member By Frank Reddy

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce celebrated the joining of during a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month. Business owner Barbara Roberts recently launched the organic, rawf o o d s - o r i e n t e d We b s i t e i n a n e ff o r t t o t e a c h r e c i p e s t o t h o s e interested in trying “healthy substitutions for America’s favorite foods.” Roberts said the Web site will also promote a recipe book, “not a

cookbook, because I don’t cook.” According to her Web site, raw food is “easier to fix and to will be amazed at the combinations you can come up with for eating healthy.” The Web site features interactive menus, guidelines and stories about Roberts’ healthy eating journey. “ T h e b e s t wa y t o a c c o m p l i s h changing to eating raw food is to start slowly,” Roberts said. “Just try adding one new healthy dish at a time, substituting it for an established one, and go from there.” Added Roberts: “When you eat foods that are in their natural state, they have much more enzymes, nutrients, all that kind of stuff.” For more information, visit

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce members and staff celebrated the kickoff of last month with business owner Barbara Roberts.

For the Dawson Community News

Dawson County High School sophomores Shea Barfield, far left, and Brandon DeBlois were presented the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization awards last month at the Dawson County school board meeting. April Eubanks was chosen as an alternate for the HOBY leadership conference.

Award winners honored From staff reports

Local winners of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership award were announced at a Dawson County school board meeting last month. Winners included Dawson County High School sophomores Shea Barfield and Brandon DeBlois. Barfield is an honor roll student and a member of Beta Club. She is the founder and director of Dawson County High School’s Improv Club, a member of the Student Film Club, the Fiction Writers’ Club. She is also active in drama. DeBlois is an honor roll student, most valuable freshman band member and is part of marching band. He is also in Drama Club, Improv Club and Film Club. He interned at Physician’s Immediate Med.

Those chosen for the accolade demonstrate the values of volunteerism, integrity, excellence and community partnership. The Dawson County Woman’s Club will provide all fees for the students to attend the Georgia Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference. Sophomore April Eubanks will serve as an alternate if Barfield or DeBlois cannot attend the conference.

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

Eubanks is an honor roll student, has been student of the month, a member of Beta Club, FFA and FBLA. She is also a volunteer at Dawson County Humane Society. According to its Web site, the mission of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization is to inspire and develop a global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation.

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


Local clinic employees get certified Work Ready By Frank Reddy

File photo

Cecil Bennett thanks the crowd for giving the local Wal-Mart the Corporate Citizens Award at last year’s awards banquet.

Gala will feature Mardi Gras theme Chamber accepting award nominations By Michele Hester

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its annual awards banquet and gala to be held Feb. 4 at the Lakeview Center. Award categories include: Jim Wallace Volunteer of the Year, Don Gordon Business Leader of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year. Nominations must be submitted no later than Jan. 18 for consideration. Nomination forms are available on the chamber’s Web site. The theme for this year’s gala is “A Big Time in the Big Easy.” “Whether you’re in the mood to wear business attire or black tie, come dressed for a good time,” said banquet committee member Kara Hewatt. Guests will enjoy a selection of traditional and Creole dishes, while Zydeco music entertains the crowd.

“Come join us for a fun night and laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll),” Hewatt said. The event’s ever popular silent auction also promises to be a crowd pleaser. The chamber is currently accepting auction donations. “We are specifically looking for some ‘stay-cation’ options for people who want to get away but stay close to home,” said Jennifer Baker, who is overseeing the auction. Baker said the list of silent auction items will be displayed on the chamber’s Web site as they are added. The chamber is also offering gala sponsorships this year both at the $250 and $500 level. “Our annual gala is our biggest fundraiser each year, and donating to or sponsoring the event is an excellent way to support both your chamber and your community,” Baker said. “It is also a great way to have your name and merchandise on display for the community to see.” For more information on the awards ceremony, to make a silent auction donation or to sponsor the event, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce announced this month that Anderson Family Medicine is the first business in the county to be certified Work Ready. Eight workers — 75 percent — of the 11-employee staff took the statesponsored assessment, which earns the Dawson County medical practice the designation of a Work Ready Facility. According to its Web site, Georgia Work Ready is a skills assessment created to ensure that Georgia’s workers “have the best skills, easy access to training and world-class job opportunities.” The backbone of the initiative is the Work Ready Certificate, which assesses the real world skills of workers. Dr. Larry Anderson said the business has hired two new employees by using

the Work Ready certification system. “It’s set a standard for us,” Anderson said. “We’ve been very pleased with that. “We needed to find a way to where we could better evaluate the abilities of the applicants coming in,” he said. “Just looking at their educational backgrounds wasn’t enough. Work Ready assesses their ability to comprehend.” In addition, Anderson said, it tells employers something very important about the job applicant. “You have a person that’s motivated to work, and to go and take these extra steps and take assessment, it shows that they’re self starters,” he said. Anderson said the business plans to have all 11 employees certified Work Ready by the end of January. For more information about Georgia Work Ready, visit

Bank of the Ozarks opens local branches By Michele Hester

Bank of the Ozarks now has a presence in Dawson County. Last month, the Little Rock, Ark. institution took over assets previously held by Chestatee State Bank through an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Dawsonville-based Chestatee State Bank’s accounts were immediately transferred and its four locations, two in Dawsonville, one in Cumming and one in Marble Hill, reopened as Bank of the Ozarks branches. Officials said customers can continue to access their accounts by writing checks or using ATM and

debit cards. “We are proud of our 107-year tradition of strong and prudent banking practices, and we are ready to deliver the best in friendly, hometown service supported by state-of-the-art technology to our new customers,” said George Gleason, Bank of the Ozarks chairman and CEO. “Our new customers can rest assured that their deposits are safe and accessible.” The agreement brings the total number of Bank of the Ozarks’ branches to 10 in Georgia. “We are pleased to expand our presence in Georgia,” said Gleason. “Our hallmark personal service and tradition of banking excellence will be extended to our new customers in these new Georgia communities.”



Bureau will release data to states in February By Melissa Weinman DCN regional staff

The U.S. Census Bureau released the results of the 2010 census Dec. 21, revealing that the United States is now a country of more than 300 million and Georgia is a state of nearly 9.7 million. Georgia’s growth means the state will pick up an additional seat in the U.S. House of Representatives for a total of 14 seats. “Today’s announcement reinforces my belief that Georgia remains one of the greatest destinations for Americans looking for great opportunity and a high quality of life,” said Gov. Nathan Deal. “As our state continues to grow, so does our influence and stature on the national stage. I think it will serve our nation well to have another Georgian in the House. It will serve our

state well to add to our clout in the Electoral College.” In late summer 2011, the General Assembly will reconvene in a special session called by Deal to redraw districts for the state House, state Senate and Georgia’s congressional seats. “This 2010 census population represents growth of 9.7 percent over the population count of 2000,” said Robert Groves during a recent news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. According to census data collected in April, there are 308,745,538 people living in the country. A decade ago, there were 281,421,906. A decade ago in Georgia, there were 8.2 million. The South saw some of the greatest growth in the country over the past decade. “There was a shift of 12 seats affecting 18 different states,”

Groves said. “The trend is a growth in seats in the West and South.” Texas gained four seats as a result of the census data, the most of any state in the nation. The Northeast and Midwest regions have continued to show slow population growth as more people move to the South and the West. “This is the very first decade in the country’s history that the West region is more populous than the Midwest,” Groves said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, apportionment totals are calculated by a congressionally defined formula to divide the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives between the states based on population. President Barack Obama will give the apportionment counts to Congress during the first week of its regular session in

Board welcomes new members The chamber of commerce would like to welcome two new members to its 2011 board of directors, Pat Anderson and Carla Boutin. Pat Anderson is the chief financial officer at Anderson Family Medicine, which opened in Dawson County about five and half years ago. She also offers Christian spiritual direction and pastoral care and is a member of Grace Presbyterian Church. “I always like to be involved in different things and it was my turn to give back to the community,” Anderson said regarding her decision to serve on the chamber’s board of directors. “The chamber has been wonderful to us.” Anderson Family Medicine 400 Dawson Commons Circle, Suite 410 Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-1335

Carla Boutin is an owner/agent with State Farm Insurance. She attended North Georgia College & State University and is a member of the Dawson County Rotary Club. Boutin is currently enrolled in Leadership Dawson, a course designed to educate and stimulate individuals who have shown potential as community leaders to give them information about avenues for service. Boutin said she looks forward to serving in this role. State Farm Insurance 137 Prominence Court, Ste 210 Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 216-6392

‘As our state continues to grow, so does our influence and stature on the national stage.’

2010 Census

Nathan Deal

Percent change: 9.7 percent


U.S. 2000 population: 281,421,906 2010 population: 308,745,538

Georgia 2000 population: 8,186,453 January. The reapportioned Congress will convene in January 2013. Beginning in February, the Census Bureau will release demographic data to the states on a rolling basis so state governments can start the redistricting process.

2010 population: 9,687,653 Percent change: 18.3 percent Source: U.S. Census Bureau

• Congratulations to Mandy Power for her recent promotion to assistant vice president at BB&T. • Congratulations to Dawson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Berg for recently being named 2010 Elected Official of the Year by the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission. • Congratulations to the Dawson County Sheriff's Office employees of the year: Stan Harrison, Jimmi Smith, Ray Goodie, Alex Belafi, Doug Boyle and Aleisha Rucker. • Congratulations to Dawson County Government's employees of the year: Cindy Campbell, Stan Harrison and Will Harris. • Congratulations to Dawson County Emergency Services Lifetime Achievement recipients: Ted Bearden, Larry Banister, Cecil Bennett, Lloyd Crane and Bea Samples. • Congratulations to Jimmy Hamby on his recent installation as a new county commissioner. Please let the chamber know when you have a special event. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 7


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Shop with a Cop event lets officers give back By Michele Hester

A few of Santa’s elves wore Dawson County Sheriff’s uniforms for the agency’s annual Shop with a Cop event last month. “This is something I look forward to all year,” said Lt. Col. Greg Rowan. “I go out o f m y wa y t o c a n c e l a ny thing I have going on to be here.” Rowan was among dozens of officers pushing shopping carts filled with toys, clothes and gifts as the program treated 47 local children to shopping sprees at Wal-Mart. “We don’t know what their lives are like at home, but at least for this moment they’re happy and excited, and the smile on their faces is worth

it all,” Rowan said. Each child received a $100 gift card. The sheriff’s office had raised the funding earlier this month through an eating contest. C o d y G r a n t , 1 2 , k n ew exactly what he planned to buy with his gift card. “I got a drill and some screws,” he said. “I’m going to help my grandpa fix my grandma’s porch.” Deputy Laura Bishop said the kids’ kindness was “heartwarming.” Bishop shopped with 5y e a r- o l d L a c ey B u n t , a Kilough Elementary kindergartner, who picked out a few gifts for herself, but focused more on presents she planned to wrap for her family. “My sisters are going to love these,” she said.

Like Bishop, who tossed in a few dollars of her own at checkout, Maj. John Cagle said he hoped the shopping experience was as rewarding f o r 1 2 - y e a r- o l d S e q u o i a Metcalf as it was for him. “It’s something I’ll look forward to doing again next year,” he said. S h e r i ff B i l l y C a r l i s l e called the event the agency’s way of giving back. “There’s a real need in this county,” he said. Carlisle praised organizations like KARE for Kids, Michele Hester Dawson Community News which provide Christmas for Dawson County Sheriff’s Deputy Laura Bishop and 5-yearhundreds of needy families old Lacey Bunt shop together at Wal-Mart during the annue a c h y e a r, bu t c a u t i o n e d , al Shop with a Cop event last month. “they are just one organization.” can all keep working togethneed. He encouraged others to “There will probably still er, we can get there and hopecontinue stepping up to the be some kids left out this fully one day we’ll be able to plate to remember those in year,” Carlisle said. “If we help them all.”



Officials sworn in By Frank Reddy

Government leaders were sworn into office last month at the courthouse by the Dawson County Probate Judge. Jimmy Hamby was the newest face. His term as Dawson County’s District 3 commissioner began Jan. 1. New terms also have begun for Dawson County Commissioner Gary Pichon and school board members Cecil Bennett and Will Wade; all of which were incumbents and ran unopposed during the July 20 primary election. District 3 Commissioner Mike Connor did not qualify to seek re-election in the primary. Hamby won the seat by securing 54 percent of the vote, or 1,876 votes. Hamby is a 57-year-old Dawson County native. Pichon continues his second four-year term on the commission. Bennett has served on the school board for more than 20 years, while Wade has served nearly seven. Probate Judge Jennifer Burt administered the oath of office at the courthouse

Commissioner-elect Jimmy Hamby takes an oath of office Dec. 17, led by Probate Judge Jennifer Burt.

Dec. 17, while dozens of family members, friends and officials listened. “I want to thank you people for coming out today,” said Burt following the ceremony. “This is a very special day, and we’re looking forward to a great future. “In Dawson County, we have so much to be proud of,” she continued. “It’s a great group of folks that work so graciously together, and we’re proud to have them here in our county.”

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Catherine Hicks, right, was the grand prize raffle winner in last month’s pheasant shoot and took home a Benelli Shotgun. Also pictured are organizers Margie Weaver and David McKee.

Pheasant shoot benefits center By Michele Hester

Photos by Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

From left, Jimmy Hamby, Gary Pichon, Jennifer Burt, Will Wade and Cecil Bennett attend the swearing-in ceremony Dec. 17.

The Dawson County Senior Center is steps closer to having a new elevator at the facility after a pheasant shoot last month raised more than $8,500 for the cause. Center director Margie Weaver said the elevator’s cost is about $60,000. Weaver calls fundraisers like the pheasant shoot held on about 40 acres on Goldmine Road a blessing to the center and the seniors who utilize the facilities. “So many good people came out in support of our program. Some of them told me this was a good way to have a good time while also helping

us,” she said. Organizer David McKee said he intends to hold the shoot annually. “A large portion of the senior centers operations has to be from fundraisers,” he said. “We plan to do this every year to benefit the center.” McKee called the event “a huge success.” More than 40 shooters rotated through 20 stations and 300 birds. McKee said about 80 percent of the participants returned for the event, which is now in its second year. “All the feedback we got was positive. They all want us to hold it twice a year, because they had so much fun,” he said. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 11


Commission chair named top official By Michele Hester

Dawson County Commission chair Mike Berg received an unexpected honor last month when he was named the 2010 Elected Official of the Year by the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission. “It was a total surprise,” he said. Danny Lewis, execu t ive d i r e c t o r, p r e sented the award Dec. 3 when the commission met in Dillard for its annual awards dinner and meeting. He said it is Berg’s dedication to regionBerg alism that makes him stand out in the group of about 250 elected officials in the region. “Mr. Berg is a team player. He is active in his attendance and dedication to regionalism in the Georgia Mountain Region,” Lewis said. Berg, who currently represents Dawson County on the council, said the award is a nice honor for the county. “ I b e l i eve i n r eg i o n a l i s m a n d GMRC is all about affording counties the opportunity to work in a regional atmosphere,” he said. “The award speaks well for our county.” Council chairman David Stovall s a i d B e rg i s a “ ve r y d e s e r v i n g ” recipient of the award. “There are over 250 elected offi-

‘Mr. Berg is a team player. He is active in his attendance and dedication to regionalism in the Georgia Mountain Region.’

Chamber Building Fund Sponsors

Danny Lewis Executive director of the Georgia Mountain Regional Committee

cials in this region alone. When you add the state and federal elected officials, the number who could have been selected is awesome,” he said. “I congratulate Mike Berg in his outstanding effort on this council, in ACCG, and of course in this region.” In addition to the serving on the c o u n c i l , B e rg i s a c t ive i n t h e Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, where he serves as third vice president, as well as numerous other civic groups and organizations. He is currently serving his second term as county commission chair. His term expires Dec. 31, 2013. H e a l s o s e r ve s o n t h e D aw s o n County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

NEW MEMBERS Salon 08 Lynn Watson (706) 216-0098 42 Grant Road East Dawsonville, GA 30534

Thank You

December totals Walk-in visitors: 899 Telephone referrals: 1,291

BANK of the OZARKS Property Investment Associates



Ambassador of the year to be announced at gala By Michele Hester

Three chamber of commerce volunteers are in the running to be named the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year. Angela Harben, Kara Hewatt and Kim Tallant were selected last month as the group’s top three ambassadors for their commitment to the chamber and its volunteer ambassador group. Harben is an administrative assistant and office manager at KC Fuller and Associates. Hewatt works in marketing at United Community Bank. Tallant is a marketing repre-

sentative for Community & Southern Bank. The winner will be announced Feb. 4 during the chamber’s annual gala. The ambassador of the year will work closely with the program’s 2010 chairwoman Carol Tyger to transition into 2011, said Chamber President Linda Williams. 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. The program is currently seeking new volunteer members. For more information, call (706) 265-6278.

Get MoneySmart at the library From staff reports

In the current economy it is now more important than ever to be money smart. Chestatee Regional Library System can help you get on the right track by offering the MoneySmart education program created by the FDIC. Participants can use their library card to check out a CD of the program or use one of the library computers to complete the online training. MoneySmart is the FDIC’s award-winning financial education curriculum designed to help consumers understand basic financial services, develop money-management skills and learn how to use banking services effectively. The enhanced curriculum incorporates changes in the law and industry practices that have occurred since MoneySmart was revised in 2006. For example, the curriculum reflects recent amendments to the rules pertaining to credit cards, as well as the new overdraft opt-in rule. A new module, Financial Recovery, provides an overview of the steps consumers can take to rebuild their finances after a financial setback.

‘For almost a decade, the MoneySmart program has helped more than 2.5 million people learn how to more effectively manage their money.’ Sheila C. Bair FDIC chairman “For almost a decade, the MoneySmart program has helped more than 2.5 million people learn how to more effectively manage their money,” said Sheila C. Bair, FDIC chairman. “Our enhanced MoneySmart curriculum is a timely tool to educate those who want to manage their finances efficiently, including consumers without a banking relationship.” The program will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 7 through March 14 at the Dawson County Library, 342 Allen Street, Dawsonville. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call (706) 344-3690.


Seminar aims to help with finances From staff reports

The Dawson County Adult Education Center of Lanier Technical College recently announced that beginning in January it will present a seminar designed to help residents with personal finances. Every session is free, and everyone is welcome. Participants do not have to be a GED student to attend. Instructor Martha Saxon is a resident of Dawsonville and has been in the banking industry for more than 20 years. She will present topics related to everyday situations, including how to: open a bank account, create a budget, use credit cards wisely, repair credit scores, use coupons to their greatest benefit and determine whether you qualify for a car loan or mortgage. Participants are welcome to bring any specific questions they may have. Sessions will be held from 6-8 p.m. each Tuesday evening and are free and open to the public. The first session was held at 6 p.m. Jan. 11. Participants are welcome to bring friends or neighbors who also would like to take advantage of the opportunity. According to officials, getting your GED diploma is another way to brighten your financial future. For those who would like to obtain their GED, the Adult Education Center has expanded its winter schedule of classes. There are several new GED preparation classes that combine both reading and writing skills and an algebra and geometry class both mornings and afternoons. In addition to the new classes, the center will offer several new opportunities for tutoring. Tutors will be available to assist students in reading, social studies, grammar and essay, and algebra and geometry. How to write an effective resume will be included in several of the sessions. Contact the Adult Education Center to make sure the class you want hasn’t changed to a new day or time. Winter quarter classes began on Jan. 10 and end on March 17. A pre-test is offered to determine if you need to review any subject areas before taking the GED test. If you are interested in obtaining your GED diploma or know someone who is, contact the Adult Education Center. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For additional information or to schedule the pretest, call (706) 265-1690, stop by the center at 388 Hwy. 9 N., or e-mail lead instructor Kathy Davis at All classes and services at the Adult Education Center are free of charge. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 13


Joint effort aims to recycle instruments By Michele Hester

A collaboration between the Dawson County Arts Council and RIC Rack Thrift Store could introduce the art of making music to students who may otherwise not have the chance. Warren King, chairman of RIC Rack’s board, said he suspects there are students in middle and high school who would participate in their school’s band if their parents could afford to purchase an instrument. “The vision for this program is to advertise to our community that if there are salvageable band instruments in people’s closets or attics, they can bring them to the RIC Rack or the Bowen Art Center,” King said. The donated instruments would then be evaluated to determine whether they can be refurbished to a usable condition for the students. “The reclaimed instruments would

‘The reclaimed instruments would stay in the school system and get passed from student to student.’ Warren King Chairman of RIC Rack board stay in the school system and get passed from student to student,” King said. In an endorsement of the program, Dawson County School Superintendent Keith Porter said he was blown away “by this kind gesture.” “We certainly have children who could benefit from the arts council’s and RIC Rack’s generosity,” he said. For more information or to make a donation, call (706) 216-2787 or (706) 265-1371.

For the Dawson Community News

The junior board of directors at United Community Bank is made up of 17 Dawson County High School seniors. The group recently completed its first community service project.

Junior board project aids KARE for Kids From staff reports

Humane society looks to expand medical facility By Michele Hester

The Dawson County Humane Society plans to expand medical capabilities at the shelter by adding a surgery unit to the facility near Rock Creek Park. Carolyn Bowen, president of the board of directors, said the unit “enables us to provide spay and neuter services to county animals, including animals brought by animal control.” Bowen said she has been in talks with a supporter who has agreed to donate a modular building to the shelter to be used as the surgical clinic.

‘It will be used strictly for the surgery or the health care of animals.’ Carolyn Bowen Humane society board of directors president “The modular unit will only be used for an animal surgery clinic,” she said. “It will be used strictly for the surgery or the health care of animals.” Currently, there are two veterinarians and a vet tech working part time at the shelter to care for the animals.

United Community Bank’s Junior Board of Directors recently completed its first community service project of its term. The junior board consists of 17 high school seniors from Dawson County High School. The educational program is designed to introduce students to banking, leadership and community service. Applicants were chosen by high school and bank representatives based on academic excellence, extra curricular involvement and overall leadership abilities. One of the board’s first orders of business was to select its first community service project. KARE for Kids was the organization the group chose. The board wanted to help KARE for Kids provide the local families in need with gifts for Christmas by shopping for the families and then sorting the items at the KARE for Kids headquarters. The group met Dec. 7 to receive shopping lists and then headed off to shop.

After two hours of shopping, the junior directors gathered back at headquarters to help sort the gifts and place them in the appropriate boxes. According to the group, it was a rewarding experience to know that even though its efforts were only a small part of the generous service, it helped to provide local children and their families with a happier and more memorable Christmas. United Community Bank appreciates the opportunity to work with such outstanding students in the community and looks forward to watching the young men and women of the junior board become successful leaders in the communities in which they live. This year’s junior board members include: Amanda Florentine, Amanda Sheriff, Amelia Turner, Celene Bernon, Cheyenne Bennett, Erin Gordon, Jacob Anglin, Jessi Phillips, Jimmy Nguyen, Katie Simmons, Kellie Bishop, MacKenzie Myers, Maressa Langway, Megan Todd, Nichol Lafontaine, Rose Samples and Wesley Bearden.



Varsity Jr. construction postponed Restaurant opening delayed until March

New trail a possibility By Frank Reddy

By Tricia L. Nadolny

DCN regional staff

The opening of Varsity Jr. restaurant in Dawsonville, originally expected for late December, has been delayed until March because of construction and weather issues, said John Browne, vice president for the Atlanta-based Varsity. Browne said the construction crew originally planned to pour a standard concrete foundation, but problems with the soil made it necessary to use a reinforced slab. The project was also delayed because of poor weather that made the site too muddy to work on, he said. The Dawson County Community Development office issued a commercial building permit for the 4,550square-foot restaurant on Sept. 30. The next day, crews broke ground on the site, located on 2 acres along Ga. 400 in Dawson County. Construction was originally expected to take between 90 and 120 days. But because of the delays, the foundation was just poured Dec. 9, Browne said. “That was a big step in the process. Now our structural steel is ready,” he

Photos by Tom Reed DCN regional staff

Raymond Martinez smooths out concrete recently at the Varsity Jr. under construction in Dawson County.

said. But that leaves the bulk of the construction to be completed during the cold winter months, which will be a challenge for the construction crew, Browne said. The company was originally hoping to complete construction before winter. The Varsity has owned the land in Dawsonville, located north of

Applebee’s and between Advance Auto Parts and the Outside World, for about four years. The restaurant will be accessible from Ga. 400 and Carlisle Road. Browne said the company has not decided if it will hold a grand opening celebration when the restaurant opens. “We may just open the doors,” he said. “...We’re trying to get open just as quick as we can.”

‘...We’re trying to get open just as quick as we can.’ John Browne Vice president for the Atlanta-based Varsity

The foundation has been laid out for the Varsity Jr. under construction in Dawson County.

Students in Dawson County may be able to add a whole new dimension to their learning experience if government leaders are able to secure grant dollars available through the state. The Georgia Recreational Trail Grant would fund a wetlands trail from Rock Creek Park to the Etowah River, which would include observation decks for nature enthusiasts and outdoor classrooms. The Dawson County Board of Commissioners ‘It would voted 4-0, Nov. be a nice 18 to apply for the grant. School addition to leaders have also voiced support. our parks Keith Porter, school superin- system.’ tendent, said the grant would be Lisa Henson “ e d u c a t i o n a l l y Park and recreation beneficial to stu- director dents.” Park and recreation director Lisa Henson said the trails could be used for “hiking, walking, jogging or for educational-type trips through the wetlands, where people could learn about the habitat.” Along with the Dawson County School System, Etowah Water and Sewer Authority has signed on in support of the project, which is currently being called the Etowah Wetlands Trail. Henson said the project would cost about $200,000, but 80 percent would be paid for with federal dollars. The rest of the project would be funded through in-kind contributions from the community. Henson said the parks and recreation department won’t know until April if Dawson County gets approval for the grant. “It would be a nice addition to our parks system,” she said. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 15


United Way nears goal By Michele Hester

United Way for Dawson County is well on the way to reaching its 2011 fundraising goal. Jay Sessions, chairman of the local board, said the group has collected about 65 percent of the $100,000 campaign in the last few months. “We’re optimistic about reaching our goal this year, but there’s still a long way to go,” he said. The campaign continues through Jan. 31. “Most businesses are holding their employee campaigns right now, and w e ’l l b e g e t t i n g t h o s e d o n a t i o n s i n around the first of January,” Sessions said. The group is also collecting donations for an online auction with all proceeds b e n e fi t i n g U n i t e d Wa y f o r D aw s o n County. Auction items include golf packages, sports memorabilia and sporting event tickets, among others. “We think there is going to be a condo rental or two up for auction,” Sessions said. The new online auction component is intended to offset the decrease in collections from businesses and individuals that had donated to United Way in the past but are not able to this year due to the economy.

‘We’re optimistic about reaching our goal this year, but there’s still a long way to go.’ Jay Sessions United Way chairman “It’s been a tough few years for the United Way and for our member agencies in collecting donations,” Sessions said. Agencies receiving funding through United Way for Dawson County range from the Boy Scouts to Challenged Child and Friends, CASA for Hall and Dawson County and Rape Response, as well as the mentoring program and several other local social service organizations. Board members chose to dedicate to the campaign in the memory of Mark Weaver, who had served on the board for several years prior to his death earlier this year. “With his influence in the community, we thought it would be good to honor him by dedicating the campaign in his memory,” Sessions said. For more information, call (706) 3443501, Ext. 245.

Photos for the Dawson Community News

Management and staff of Etowah Water and Sewer Authority took time out last month for the 11th annual river cleanup.

Authority cleans riverside From left, Brooke Anderson, John Cronan and Curtis Black walk up the bank with loads of garbage they pulled from the Etowah River last month.

New department, leaders for Lanier Tech college From staff reports

At Lanier Technical College, the new year is bringing change. The institution has hired a new director in its marketing and public relations department, and school officials have chosen a new direction for information technology services. College president Russell Vandiver announced that

Dave Parrish joined Lanier Technical College as the director of marketing and public relations. Parrish brings 40 years of experience in traditional and electronic media development, entertainment, marketing and education to Lanier Technical College. Parrish has worked in television as a producer and director, in motion pictures as a director of photography and

in the graphics design industry as a creative director and art director. Vandiver said the college is interested in using all of Parrish’s experience to increase awareness of Lanier Technical College’s mission in Banks, Barrow, Dawson, Forsyth, Hall, Jackson and Lumpkin counties. The new technology strategy will bring all Lanier Technical College campuses

under a unified technology plan in one department to improve consistency and to increase efficiency, productivity, access and marketplace effectiveness for students and staff. “Technology plays a critical role in where we need to be and where we want to go in order to support our students, our employers and our communities,” stated Vandiver. Vandiver chose a veteran

information technology leader to helm a new department. Robbie Vickers, formerly chief information officer at Lanier Technical College, will assume the role of vice-president of technology. Vickers has been with the college for 15 years. For more information about Lanier Technical College and the programs of study, visit, or call (770) 531-6300.



January Chronicle  
January Chronicle  

Chamber thanks 2010 chairman