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Weaver wins national award November 2009

The Member Newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce

Post Office Box 299 “Old Jail” west of the square Dawsonville, GA 30534 (706) 265-6278

Scholarship given in chamber’s name Literacy event raises thousands By Michele Hester

A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a Dawson County High School student at the end of the school year in the name of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber purchased a letter of the alphabet in the third annual Are You Smarter than a 10-year-old competition and was selected Oct. 13 to be named as the scholarship donor.

The Dawson Damsels, from left, Pat Cavanaugh, Jan Connell and Duane Wallace, breezed through their questions in the Are You Smarter than a 10year-old contest Oct. 13 at Dawson County Middle School. The trio won the annual fundraiser beating out nine other teams.

READ, or Reading Education Association of Dawson County, a local literacy and continuing education association, held the competition, which paired 10 teams in a show of wit and intelligence. Calling themselves the Dawson Damsels, Pat Cavanaugh, Jan Connell and Duane Wallace, of the Dawson County Woman’s Club, breezed through their

Photo/Michele Hester

See EVENT, Page 5

Time for alumni to step up to the plate This week the team of chamber members and local officials who pull together the Leadership Dawson Program had their monthly meeting. There was a lot of discussion about the program

itself, the state of the community and the role that the leadership alumni plays in what happens in our community. The conversation eventually came down to the needs of the community (leadership alumni includ-

ed) and what the group can do to positively impact various opportunities in Dawson County. In reading this article, don’t stop at this point because you are sitting there telling yourself: “OK,

I am not alumni or a candidate for leadership, so this does not pertain to me.” Please read on. The group decided to have several mini sessions next year, providing information for surviving tough

times. Everything from loss of jobs to feeding families, foreclosures, state budgeting and finding shelter was discussed.

See ALUMNI, Page 5

Jay Walker

Page 2 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009

Nominations for 2009 Awards now open As we near the end of 2009, it is time to reflect on our accomplishments and recognize those in our membership who stand out by their degree of contribution both to our organization and to the community. Awards will be presented on Jan. 22, 2010, at our annual meeting, also know as the Annual Banquet and Auction. Our Chairman Jay Walker will make a presentation based entirely on his good judgment. This is understandably named “The Chairman’s Award.” The membership shall select the following

award winners: Don Gordon Business Leader Award, Jim Wallace Volunteer Award and the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The nomination forms are available by calling the chamber office. We will fax or e-mail the form to you. Please return your nomination forms to the chamber by Dec. 18. I encourage you to request the form and nominate those you feel deserve this recognition. You may know of someone that is serving under the radar, so to speak. Don’t assume someone else will nominate the person of your choice. Often, the people

who do the most do it quietly and others are not aware of their accomplishments. Let us know what you know. Changing subjects, in past membership surveys, a great number of you have indicated a need for a larger more prominent chamber facility on Ga. 400. Your board of directors and I want to bring you up to date on some important activity. You will remember that a couple of months ago the board decided to sell our 1.09 acres on Carlisle Road. The property was

originally donated to the chamber by Joe K. Smith and Elora Stargel. Your board felt that the best action at this time was to sell the property and put the proceeds into our building fund. Please read elsewhere in this issue about the sale of the property to a chamber member. We will keep you posted as things develop in our quest for a larger chamber building. I hope you took advantage of our new online registration for

chamber meetings. Karen Handel, Georgia Secretary of State, is the guest speaker at the Nov. 12 membership meeting. I hope to see you there and at other chamber events. Won’t you join us?


Handel to speak at upcoming luncheon From staff reports

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce welcomes Secretary of State Karen Handel as guest speaker for the group’s Nov. 12 luncheon to be held at noon at the Lakeview Center. Handel is the third candidate running for governor on the Republican ticket to speak to the chamber in the last few months. Elected in November 2006 and sworn into office on Jan. 8, 2007, Handel is the state’s first Republican Secretary of State, overseeing elections, corpora-

tions, securities and professional licensing boards. The secretary of state’s office also controls the state archives and the Capitol museum. The former president and CEO of the North Fulton Chamber of Commerce also served as an executive at several Fortune 500 companies, deputy chief of staff for the Bush-Quayle White House and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Sonny Perdue. Reservations are suggested for the luncheon. For more information, call the chamber at (706) 2656278.

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.

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Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 3



Chamber events November

mation, call (706) 216-1230.

Nov. 11: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will be closed in honor of Veterans Day. The 5th annual Veterans Day Parade will begin at 3 p.m. A formal ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. in the Dawson County Middle School Auditorium.

Nov. 14: Musical “Turning Thirty” will be sponsored by the Dawson County Woman’s Club from 7-9 p.m. at the Dawson County Middle School. Five talented Atlanta actors and their band perform an uplifting story of a young man’s successful battle with cancer. Admission will be $15 per ticket or $25 per couple. Proceeds will benefit Relay for Life. For more information, call Cindy at (706) 344-1288.

Nov. 12: Lunch with the Chamber will be held at noon at the Lakeview Center, 2057 Dawson Forest Road. Secretary of State Karen Handel will be the guest speaker. Members and visitors are encouraged to register online. Go to, click on “Chamber of Commerce,” then “Event Registration.” The following slate of directors will be presented to membership for vote of approval: Mike Underwood - 2010 Chairman, Kathy Fuller Secretary/Treasurer, Peter Hill - Director, Rhonda Tower - Director, Taylor Wallace Director. For more information, call (706) 265-6278. Nov. 12: White Interiors, located at 278 Hwy. 400 North, Suite 1100, will present “Woodland Christmas” open house from 4-7 p.m. Stop by and enjoy a cup of cheer and experience unique and creative gift ideas. Bring two non-perishable items and receive 10 percent off any purchase until Dec. 31. For more infor-

Nov. 16: Are you ready to tee off? Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament at Chestatee Golf Club. Event will begin with a shotgun start at noon and will be in a Ft. Lauderdale format. Nov. 24: Business After Hours will be held from 5-7 p.m. at Nature’s Way Chiropractic, at 6564 Hwy. 53, Suite 100. The cash drawing is up to $3,125 and is sponsored by AFLACSharon Reagan, Anderson Family Medicine-Dr. Larry Anderson, The Norton Agency-Kristie Myers, R&D Caulking-Mike Downs, United Community BankJames Askew, Van Keith Insurance Agency of Dawsonville-Ann Grizzle and Denny Insurance GroupDenny Putlak. Remember, you must be present to win if your name is drawn. For more information, call Mike at (706) 265-7339.

Nov. 26-27: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will be closed for Thanksgiving. Nov. 27-29: Premium Outlet Mall’s After Thanksgiving Weekend Sale, featuring Midnight Madness. Enjoy great savings. For more information, call (706) 2163609.

December There will not be a membership lunch in December. The chamber encourages its members to enjoy extra time with family and friends. Dec. 10: Happy 150th birthday to the city of Dawsonville. Dec. 10: United Community Bank, 6372 Hwy. 53 East, will host Business After Hours from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call (706) 265-3232. The cash drawing is sponsored by AFLACSharon Reagan, Anderson Family Medicine-Larry Anderson, The Norton Agency-Kristie Myers, R&D Caulking-Mike Downs, United Community BankJames Askew, Van Keith Insurance Agency of Dawsonville-Ann Grizzle and Denny Insurance GroupDenny Putlak. Remember, you must be present to win if your name is drawn. Dec. 24-25: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will be closed for Christmas.

Photo/Michele Hester

Volunteer handbook now online A volunteer handbook, created by Carol Shoemaker of Dawsonville, is now available to help those interested get involved with the community. From left, Linda Williams, Cathy Brooks and Claudia Gibson test the online version of the community volunteer opportunity handbook at the Dawson County Library. The online resource is available at, and

Dec. 31: Ring in the New Year at Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge. For more information, call (800) 5739656.

January Jan. 1: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will be closed. Jan. 14: Lunch with the Chamber will be held at noon at the Lakeview Center, 2057 Dawson Forest Road. Sam Olens, chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission will be the guest speaker. Members

and visitors are encouraged to register online by 5 p.m. Jan. 11. Go to, click on “Chamber of Commerce,” then “Event Registration.” Jan. 22: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet and Auction. This year’s theme will be: “It’s a Wonderful Night,” a black and white gala event. More details will be announced soon. For more information, call (706) 265-6278.

Page 4 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009



Harris Family Dentistry opens new location By Frank Reddy frankreddy@

A local husband-and-wife dental team who’s been serving Dawson County for the past 11 years has a new location. The new office on 212 Prominence Court is the first building they’ve owned since opening their practice in the Kroger Shopping Center. The new location is across the street from the previous one. Craig and Wendy Jones Harris, who are co-owners of Harris Family Dentistry, opened their Dawsonville office a year after they got married. “We’ve always been so blessed to be busy,” said Wendy Jones Harris. “Dawson County has always welcomed us with open arms and always been wonderful to us. We’re grateful for that.” Harris said working with her husband in the office has its advantages. “We work well together,” she said. “We like different parts of dentistry, so it’s a good formula for us. It’s also nice

to have each other to consult with when we need it.” Harris said she “fell in love with the area” shortly after graduating from the Medical College of Georgia. “We thought it was so beautiful here, and it seemed like the perfect place to raise a family and make our home.” The Harrises have two children: Lily, 8, and Jones, 6. Wendy is originally from Marietta, and Craig grew up in Cartersville. The two met at the Medical College of Georgia. The business provides general and cosmetic dentistry, as well as a full range of dental services. Harris said their practice tries “to be there for people. If someone has an emergency, we try to see them that day or the next...we try to provide as highquality of work as possible, and we stand by it. We treat our customers like we would want to be treated,” she said. For more information, call (706) 2167777, or visit

Photo/Michele Hester

Dentist Wendy Harris cleans Scott Black’s teeth as her husband, Craig, also a dentist at Harris Family Dentistry, entertains the patient.

Chamber golf tournament Monday at Chestatee From staff reports

Teams are still forming for next week’s Dawson County Chamber of Commerce’s 11th annual golf tournament. Originally scheduled for October, the tournament was rescheduled to Nov. 16 at Chestatee Golf Club. A fundraiser that supports the efforts of the chamber, registration begins at 11 a.m., with the shotgun start at noon. As in years past, play will be in the Ft.

‘The event is always fun, the food is great... ‘ Linda Williams Chamber president Lauderdale format that will include three holein-one challenges to win prizes, as well as closest to the pin and a longest drive contest.

“We encourage the community to come out and enjoy a round of golf while supporting the chamber,” said Chamber President Linda Williams. “The event is always fun, the food is great and awards will be given out.” Golfers can play individually for $125 or in teams of four for $450. Entry fees include green fees and golf cart, practice range, lunch, goodie bag, awards din-

ner, raffle and awards. “Participating in the tournament is a great way to support the chamber, as well as promote your business within the community,” Williams added. Prizes will be awarded for the first and second low gross and low net. The prize for the hole-in-one competition is $10,000, courtesy of Chestatee State Bank. Sponsorships are available at many different levels, ranging from

a $150 Hole Sponsor to $1,000 Awards Sponsor. Pre-registration is highly encouraged, but the chamber will regis-

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

ter teams on the morning of, if necessary. For more information, contact the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

P.O Box 1096 137 Prominence Court Suite 240 Dawsonville, GA 30534

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 5

C H A M B E R Boot camp aimed at new members


Chamber seeks feedback for business development programs By Michele Hester

Photo/Michele Hester

From left, Pepper Pettit, Carrie Toro and Barbara Roberts put on their combat boots and fatigues to attend the inaugural Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Boot Camp. Designed as an overview of chamber initiatives, the boot camp guides participants through various means available through the chamber to help promote their business. The chamber plans to hold the boot camp on a quarterly basis. For more information, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

Marketing and advertising professionals from a variety of media outlets were on hand Oct. 20 to give advice and answer questions on business promotion in a seminar presented by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. Topics included print media, social media, radio, blogs and e-mail campaigns, in addition to discussions about which advertising and marketing outlets are best suited for business needs. The chamber’s business development committee lined up the panel to speak about the many opportunities available to help promote a business, which is one of several

‘This event was the result of feedback we received from surveys we had with members last year.’ Linda Williams Chamber president seminars requested by chamber members. “This event was the result of feedback we received from surveys we had with mem-

EVENT from 1

ALUMNI from 1

questions and went on to win a million points and the contest held at Dawson County Middle School. “I do think READ is just an amazing program and does so much for our county. It’s a lot of fun to support it in that way,” said Connell. The competition mimicked Jeff Foxworthy’s popular quiz show “Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader,” with two fifth-graders from each of the county’s elementary schools on stage to assist the teams. “It was really a fun night for the kids, their parents and the community as a whole,” said READ President Carol Tyger, who added she was pleased with the amount the program raised.

We went on to talk about specific families in Dawson County that are surviving living conditions that are unimaginable. This is where the leadership alumni, future candidates and certainly anyone else could help. From the first mini session we will identify as a group the course we will take. All alumni and those who were contacted for Leadership 2010 should watch their e-mail for the date to be made soon for the mini session. As well, alumni that are interested should attend the leadership meeting at 11 a.m. Nov. 13 at the county extension office. We will plan the first mini

Photo/Michele Hester

Kilough Elementary School fifth-grader Sophie Holley was on stage to assist the teams during the Are You Smarter than a 10-year-old contest, a fundraiser for READ.

bers last year,” said Linda Williams, president of the chamber. “Marketing was the biggest issue for our members.” The chamber also offered a seminar on financing business and worked with other agencies to hold job and career fairs in the last year. “Our business development committee is currently working on programs for the next year, based on feedback we’ve received from our members,” Williams said. Williams encourages members to continue letting the chamber know how it can be a benefit to its membership. To make a business development suggestion, call (706) 265-6278.

session and we will fill you in on some people who need our help and how we might help them. When each of us graduated from leadership we were charged with making a difference in Dawson County. As our neighbors are helped to prosper, so goes the county. Feel free to call me with questions at (706) 216-5500. As each of us went through leadership we learned that the more of us that got involved with a project the easier it was and the greater the results were. I am personally challenging the Class of 2008 to get involved. Jay Walker Chairman

Page 6 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009


Students test work ready skills


Van Keith Insurance offers personal service Agent can write variety of policies By Michele Hester

File photo

More than 200 seniors at Dawson County High School spent the morning of Oct. 14 taking the Georgia Work Ready Test, a skills assessment certification designed to prepare job seekers for work and a job profiling system for businesses. The initiative’s goal is to generate a workforce that meets the needs of local businesses, said chamber president and Work Ready Team Leader Linda Williams.

With more than 25 years of combined experience, the owners of Van Keith Insurance Agency offer one-stop policy shopping. “We can write auto, home, life, health, business and annuities,” said agent Phillip Turk. “If we only write your house and car, then you’ll go down the street for your business insurance and they’ll want to try to get all your business. We’d like to keep everything here and retain all of your insurance business,” Turk said. An independently-owned agency, Van Keith Insurance opened the Dawsonville office in August. Owners Turk, Ann Grizzle and Nancy Carpenter all live in Lumpkin County, but wanted to bring the qualities of an independent agency to Dawson County. “This area is growing so much.

Photo/Michele Hester

Van Keith Insurance Agency celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon cutting in October. The independent agency offers policies on auto, home, life, health, business and annuities. We wanted to be a part of the growth around Ga. 400,” Turk said. While there are other independent agencies in Dawsonville, Turk said detail to customer service sets the agency apart. An agent will either answer the office phone or immediately return

any messages, Turk said. “We are in the customer service business,” he added. Van Keith Insurance Agency is located at 139 Prominence Court, Suite 150, Dawsonville. For more information, call (706) 429-0172.

Annual chamber of commerce gala planned for January By Frank Reddy

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for an annual night of dinner, dancing and awards. The gala gives guests the opportunity to sport their “Sunday best or better,” according to Linda Williams, chamber president. This year’s event, which is

scheduled for Jan. 22 at Lakeview Center features a black, white and silver theme. “People will have a chance to dress up and have a special evening together with friends and associates, and then we will have an awards ceremony,” Williams said. The gathering gives the chamber a chance to honor members in the categories of business leader, volunteer

and entrepreneur of the year. Chairman Jay Walker will present the chairman’s award. Ceremonies begin at 6 p . m . w i t h l ive m u s i c , a n d guests can mingle for about 30 minutes before dinner is served. Williams said that d i n n e r r e s e r va t i o n s c o m e with two complimentary drink tickets. A silent auction will also b e h e l d a t t h e eve n t . “ We

will ask members that would like to showcase either their product or service or just want to get their name out there, they can donate items,” Williams said. Proceeds from sales of the items will go into the chamber’s general operating bu d g e t . Wi l l i a m s s a i d t h e g a l a i s t h e o rg a n i z a t i o n ’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

“It’s through the generosity of our members that it’s successful,” she said. “We hope to have another wonderful event this year.” I nv i t a t i o n s t o t h e g a l a will go out next month. Members can buy a singleseating ticket for $75 or a table for eight for $550. For more information, call (706) 265-6278 or visit

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 7



Weaver plans to keep pumpkins sprouting

‘I thought I was going to go through the roof ... I’m so proud of Bradley.’ Tony Weaver Bradley Weavers father

Earns national award By Frank Reddy

More than a decade ago, Dawson County residents saw promise in a young boy with ambition. At 5 years old, Bradley Weaver announced to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce that he planned to join the organization, touting his pumpkin-selling skills. Weaver sold as many pumpkins as he could, and over the years his business skills grew. Recognition for his effort came last month, when Weaver, now 18, took home a national award for agricultural sales at the FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Since then, Weaver’s been showered with praise by his parents and high school adviser, who spoke with happiness of the award recently. Bradley’s parents Tony and Karen Weaver attended the conference with their son. Tony Weaver said he was thrilled when his son was given the agricultural sales award, one of 47 categories at the event. “I was so excited,” he said. “I thought I was going to go through the roof. To win state is an amazing thing. To win this ... I don’t think I’ve fully comprehended it yet. It’s so incredible. I’m so proud of Bradley.” Bradley Weaver said what

probably sold the judges was his grasp of the business. “They could tell I do all the work myself ... that I get out there and do what needs to be done to keep everything going.” Dawson County High School agricultural adviser Reggie Stowers agreed. “A lot of times, when you see students that are 18 years old, they’re kind of riding on momma’s or daddy’s coattails a little bit, and I think it came out pretty plain in the interview sessions that Bradley’s a kid who knows the business,” Stowers said. “He can explain every detail of what goes on,” he added. “That was probably his biggest advantage when they were judging.” Weaver’s entry included his pumpkin business — Bradley’s Pumpkin Patch — as well as boiled peanuts, Christmas trees, daffodils and daylillies he sells, according to the season. He’s

Photos/Frank Reddy

Bradley Weaver, above, won a national award for his business ventures, including a pumpkin farm in Dawson County. He sells several different types of pumpkins for decoration and display. Left, Weaver talks to his father, Tony. also the owner of a landscaping company with about 20 customers. When Weaver’s not overseeing the businesses, he’s hitting the books at North Georgia College & State University, where he’s a freshman. He entered the FFA competition last year, while still a high school senior. Balancing the school and work days can be a challenge, but it’s no problem for Weaver. He schedules his classes three days a week, and tends to business the remaining days.

“I’m always on the move,” Weaver said. “I’m always doing something.” He plans to continue his pumpkin ventures through college. Being in business at a young age taught him a little about the trade. Some lessons he’s learned: “If you have a bad pumpkin, don’t try to sell it. We leave all those in the field. Always sell a good product,” and “be friendly to your customers.” Bradley’s mother said good customer service isn’t the only thing that makes him

successful. “God gives each one of us gifts,” said Karen Weaver. “Bradley was faithful to pray about what God wanted him to do, and for him it was growing pumpkins.” On the farm, she said, Bradley Weaver is right in his element. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a doer,” she said. “He’s always loved the farm. For him, this is heaven.” Bradley’s Pumpkin Patch is located at 25 Lawrence Drive, off Hwy. 183.

Page 8 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 9

Page 10 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009



Moonshine Festival draws a crowd Photos/Frank Reddy

More than 300 antique cars filled downtown Dawsonville Oct. 24-25, celebrating the city’s bootlegging histor y during the 42nd Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival. Larry Whittemore of Adairsville sold metallic “backyard creatures” during the festival.

Stephen Gibbs of Centre, Ala., helps Reagan McClure, 7, of Dawson County secure her straps before a carnival ride.

October totals

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Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 11

New members Moradi Brothers Inc Ted Moradi (770) 393-1010 1875 Old Alabama Road Suite 620 Roswell, GA 30076 Category: Apartment Cleaning Assured Integrity Services Joseph Waitman (678) 398-4244 2722 Davenport Road Duluth, GA 30096 Category: IT Management and Installation

Bailey Real Estate (706) 974-4766 199 Oak Creek Way Dawsonville, GA 30534 Category: Real Estate Bella Home Creations LLC (404) 702-6292 182 Via Pisana Dahlonega, GA 30534 Category: Interior Design

Thank You Chamber Building Fund Sponsors

North Georgia Zoo/Wildlife Wonders (708) 348-7279 2912 Paradise Valley Road Cleveland, GA 30528 Category: Petting Zoo

Special thanks to the following members that renewed in September • Kristie Myers Inc - The Norton Agency

• Summit Auto Events LLC

• Shop chamber members first. • Shopping local keeps sales tax dollars working for you. • Are you certified Work Ready? To learn more, call (706) 265-6278. Please let the Chamber know when you have a special event so we may add them in our Chamber Chronicle.

Property Investment Associates

Page 12 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009



McBerry named ambassador of the month By Frank Reddy frankreddy@

Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador for October is Susan McBerry, a longtime Dawson County resident and a branch manager at Appalachian Community Bank. McBerry has lived in the area for about 25 years, and she said involvement in community groups and activities drives her as a businesswoman. The Decatur native is vice president for the Dawson County Woman’s Club, serves on the Family Connection board and volunteers with the county’s methamphetamine task force. “I stay really, really busy,” McBerry said. “It’s important to

stay involved with the community ... to stay in tune with what goes on around you.” She said the Ambassador Program is helpful to that end. “Being in the program, I’ve met a lot of people that way ... it’s all about networking.” She said community involvement is a goal of Appalachian Community Bank as well. “One of our primary focuses is, we’re a community bank, so we get involved and serve our community. I guess not all businesses are community focused, but we certainly are,” McBerry said. Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Linda Williams said McBerry is indeed a community-focused businesswoman.

“Susan loves working with the community, and she’s been a great ambassador and all around volunteer for the chamber,” Williams said. “She represents her company well and represents the chamber well, and it’s members like her that rise to the top and rise to the occasion.” McBerry has been married for 20 years to husband Larry. They have a daughter, Amanda, and a son Larry, III. Prior to her career in banking, she was in human resources. When she moved to the Dawson 400 branch of Appalachian Community Bank it was her “first exposure” to branch banking. “Working and living in Dawson County has been great,” she said. “It’s a good place to be.”


Ambassador Spotlight By Michele Hester

The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Program is a volunteer organization made up of local business men and women whose primary purpose is to promote the chamber and interact with members. With the year coming to a close, the chamber’s ambassador program is seeking new members to join this dedicated group of volunteers. The chamber depends on ambassadors to serve as its liaison to

Become an ambassador the general membership. Whether going out into the community to welcome new businesses or attending chamber sponsored events, the ambassadors are a vital component to the chamber’s continued success. Ambassador chairman Denny Putlak said he is pleased with the direction the program is headed and looks forward to the new year when

Putlak he hopes to see new faces join. “We could certainly use a

few new members,” he said. Ambassadors attend new business grand openings and ribbon cutting ceremonies, in addition to registering guests at chamber functions, including monthly luncheon and after hours events. The ambassadors also meet on a monthly basis at Ryan’s in Dawsonville on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Each month a different business or organization sponsors the breakfast. Bobowski Financial Group LLC of Cumming sponsored the group’s October meeting. Breakfast sponsorships, at

a reasonable cost, are still available for ambassador breakfasts. The sponsorship is a great way for businesses to spread the word about themselves and/or their companies. The sponsorship provides the breakfast for the monthly meeting, gives sponsors 10 to 15 minutes to speak on their business and includes a short profile in the Chamber Chronicle for members. To register to sponsor an ambassador breakfast or for more information about the program, call (706) 2161750.

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 13



Ghouls, ghosts and Donald Duck attend local event Cash drawing continues to grow By Michele Hester

A p p a l a c h i a n Community Bank was rustling with the sounds of fall at last month’s Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours. But the group of about 200 grew quiet as Jay Walker, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, announced it was time for the much anticipated cash drawing. For almost two years, the cash drawing grand prize has increased by $150 each month. The chamber draws from a list of chamber members for the cash prize every month at business after hours. The winner must be present to collect the prize money. Had Amanda Slaughter, a doctor at Family Counseling of Georgia, been present, she would have taken home the grand prize. Instead, the pot continues to grow to $3,125 for the Nov. 24 Business After Hours event to be held from 5-7 p.m. at Nature’s Way Chiro-

practic on Hwy. 53 East. The chiropractic staff has big shoes to fill after the Halloween party Appalachian Community Bank threw for the October Business After Hours event. Dozens of chamber members dressed up for the occasion and entered a costume contest held by the bank.

Chamber member Carol Tyger, dressed as a party girl, took first place. Jason Lord and Sarah Watkins won second for their Donald and Daisy Duck costumes. Walker also joined the festivities in a Big Bad Wolf costume with Little Red Riding Hood by his side.

Photos/Michele Hester

Top left, Blueberry Muffin (Jenna Bryant of Appalachian Community Bank) greeted guests to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours Oct. 27. Above, Jay Walker, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, joined the festivities in a Big Bad Wolf costume with Little Red Riding Hood (Amy Cox) by his side.

Page 14 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009



Kroger raises money to fight cancer Left, Miley Davis, 5, of Forsyth County, buzzed her way through Kroger's Fall Festival Oct. 29. The event raised more than $2,000 for the Susan G. Komen cancer research foundation. Photo/Michele Hester

Officials with Etowah Water and Sewer Authority celebrated the completion of the Dawson Forest Water Reclamation Facility last month. The facility doubles the authority’s waste water treatment capabilities.

Water authority celebrates completion of local plant By Michele Hester michele@

Officials with Etowah Water and Sewer Authority last month welcomed guests to the Dawson Forest Water Reclamation Facility, which opens the doors for growth in Dawson County for years to come. Located next to Rock Creek Park, the facility is part of the authority’s master expansion plan to serve any businesses wanting to locate to Dawson County with adequate water and waste water treatment

capabilities. “Currently, we have the capabilities for 500,000 gallons per day in treating waste water,” said General Manager Brooke Anderson. “With the completion of the expansion, we’ve added the capability for an additional half a million gallons above and beyond what we’re able to treat now.” Anderson said the facility is built with the future in mind. “Some of the facilities we built are easily expandable by adding additional pumps and pipes up to 10 million gallons per day in the

future,” he said. “Nothing will be wasted or not used when we expand into the future.” The authority also has plans to expand its water treatment plant later this year. “With the addition of the waste water treatment facility and the water treatment plant, we’ll have the capabilities to handle any commercial businesses wanting to come to Dawson County,” Anderson said. “We know the growth has slowed, but we want to be ready when the growth returns.”

Photos/Michele Hester

Above, Kilough Elementary School fifth grader Nina Roberts bobs for apples at the festival. Left, Mikey Gray, 3, of Cumming used his spider powers to fling a small turkey into a row of paper towels.

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009 • Page 15



Veteran returns home Ceremony is set for today By Frank Reddy frankreddy@


James Johnson of SleeveCo, left, shakes hands with Jay Walker, chairman of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, finalizing the sale of 1.09 acres. Chamber President Linda Williams and Chamber Secretary/Treasurer Kathy Fuller are also pictured.

Chamber sells land Proceeds added to new building fund By Michele Hester

The owners of SleeveCo, a manufacturer in Dawson County, closed on 1.09 acres near Ga. 400 owned by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber board of directors voted to sell the commercial land on Carlisle Road earlier this year in an effort to liquidate assets. The chamber acquired the land in 2005 as the potential site for a new visitors center along the Ga. 400 corridor to serve the thousands of visitors Dawson County welcomes each week. The property was originally donated to the chamber by Joe K. Smith and Elora Stargel. The chamber’s current office is

located in downtown Dawsonville in the county’s historic jail. SleeveCo, according to Chamber President Linda Williams, closed on the property Nov. 2 at $101,000. Williams said the profits will be added to about $100,000 of pledges the chamber has received from area banks for the new building. “That money’s in the bank drawing interest. It’ll be our down payment when we find a suitable building for our new chamber office,” she said. With the current economy and real estate prices continuing to fall, Williams said the chamber board is aggressively searching for a site. “We think the time is now or soon,” she said. Representatives of SleeveCo could not be reached, but chamber board members said the manufacturer plans to build an expansion on the property.

Dawson County residents will band together today to celebrate the lives of military men and women who served their country, and those who continue to serve. The 5th Annual Veterans Day Celebration begins this afternoon with a parade through downtown Dawsonville. A formal ceremony is scheduled to follow at Dawson County Middle School. The event is sponsored by Veterans Affairs of Dawson County and the chamber of commerce, who welcomed a soldier back Oct. 30 from Afghanistan.Sgt. Christopher Goodwin Sr., of Dawsonville, will be part of today’s ceremonies. Goodwin, 38, will be home for the next couple weeks until he goes back to finish his National Guard service, which could last until April. “It felt so good to be home, to be on American soil,” said Goodwin, 38, who has spent the last six months stationed in Gardez, Afghanistan. “I thanked God I was home.” Dawson County residents are thankful to have him back as well, and will show him appreciation during today’s ceremonies. A Medivac helicopter will make a flyover to

Photos/Frank Reddy

Christopher Goodwin Sr. shares a laugh Friday with his son, Chris Goodwin Jr., and mother, Nevah Goodwin, at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. Hamalainen said Goodwin will be a part of the ceremony as a representative of U.S. active military. Until he departs again, Goodwin plans to spend some quality time with wife, Kim; son, Chris Jr., 12; and mother, Nevah. So far, it’s been home sweet home, according to Among those taking Goodwin. part in the celebration “It’s been very relaxwere, from left, Com- ing,” he said. “We grilled missioner James Swaf- out steaks, and I’m going ford, Goodwin, Nevah to hang out with some budGoodwin, Chris Good- dies of mine sometime win Jr. and Linda soon.” He said “being with Williams. family and eating homecooked food” are among commemorate the occa- the comforts he misses sion. most while overseas. “Honoring our veterans His mother, Nevah, said is what it’s all about. We it’s good to see him, even honor and respect them at if for just a couple weeks. this ceremony,” said Pam “I’m so happy right Hamalainen, president of now,” she said, hugging Veterans Affairs of Dawson him Oct.30. “I’ve been County. waiting so long for this.”

Page 16 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • November 2009

“I have been in business for myself for over 40 years and anyone that has their own business knows how important their banking relationships are. And I do mean “RELATIONSHIPS”, not where you are just a number, working with a branch manager somewhere that gets transferred every 6 months just as they get to know your business……like the BIG BANKS OPERATE. I have had all my business and personal banking with CHESTATEE STATE BANK since the bank first opened in 1998 for two simple reasons, communications and they care about me. I am talking about real down to earth people where “personal banker” is not just a made up term to attract large deposits. And you know what? I care about them!”

“Chestatee State Bank took a chance on Conex Recycling in the late 1990's, and our company's success- many years later- can be traced back to that moment. During our partnership with them we have witnessed undying support, from partner buyouts, capital expenditure loans, real estate investment to lines of credit, all at great rates, and always with an air of overallwillingness to see us through the peaks and valleys of small business. We at Conex Recycling owe a huge debt of gratitude to Philip Hester, Michelle Leak, the board members, Connie Smith and a whole host of others.”

John Stanley

Shannon Sibbitt




Hwy 53 & GA 400 in Dawsonville, With locations at downtown Dawsonville, Keith Bridge Commons, Cumming and Marble Hill

(706) 216-2265

November 2009 Chronicle  

A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to a Dawson County High School student at the end of the school year in the name of the Dawson County C...