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Christi’s Bridal hold ribbon cutting October 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

Expo brings a crowd By Michele Hester

For more pictures of the event, see There was a time when page 5

Staff writer

you had to travel outside the county for many products and services. That’s not the case any longer, and hundreds of people saw that last week at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Expo. About 70 local businesses from across the county set up informational booths Oct. 6 at the Lakeview Center to showcase their products and services to the community. “The parking lot was

full by 4:15 p.m.,” said chamber vice president Marty Williams. “And more arrived as they got off work.” Linda Williams, president of the chamber, said she was happy with the turnout, both from the community and the business vendors. “We were glad to see such great attendance and so many new faces this year, and we are so appre-

ciative of the businesses that were there, and wow, the door prizes they gave out were wonderful,” she said. Organizers aren’t sure if it was the fabulous door prizes or the food samples by some of Dawson County’s favorite restaurants and caterers that brought out the crowds. “The food the restaurants brought out was excellent. Everyone went out of their way to bring the top of the line food for everyone to taste,” said Marty Williams. “We’ve had nothing but positive responses to the event.”

Photo/Michele Hester

Organizers aren’t sure if it was the door prizes or the food samples by some of county’s favorite restaurants and caterers that brought out the crowds.

Dawsonville is honored to support veterans As Nov. 11 approaches, thoughts turn to those who have served to protect our country as well as those who do now. As we fight our current war (the war on terrorism) we see our loved ones fight

and serve in a very different theatre from wars past. E-mails, and in some cases cell phones, make communication somewhat better, but also the rules of engagement have changed. Despite any of our polit-

ical views, our troops are fighting a war where the respect and love of life are not the same as ours. And as with our vets that we will celebrate and honor with wars past, we respect and care for those who

guard our country and protect us now. Once again, and for the third time, Dawsonville will be one of only two regional sites in Georgia to hold the blessing of the Veteran’s Day National

Committee as they prepare for Veteran’s Day festivities and remembrances. Many have worked behind the scenes, but no

See VETERANS, Page 5

Jay Walker

Page 2 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009

Marketing, advertising seminar planned There is a commercial on television that has a line that goes something like this: “Reducing your advertising budget is like turning off your open sign to save electricity.” In tough economic times, budget cuts are necessary and it is tempting to think of your advertising and marketing line items as discretionary. They are not. You want your company’s name to be fresh

in your prospects’ and customers’ minds for their needs today and in the future. How to do that is today’s big question. Your Business Development Council of the chamber has been hard at work to assemble a great line-up of experts in marketing and advertising. See the line-up below of topics and speakers. Opportunities are opening up as we speak

in the areas of social media. I will attend the class myself and I am particularly anxious to learn about how to use this rapidly evolving opportunity that is coursing its way through the world-wide-Web. There are so many ways to market your company. From print media, email, snail mail and more, just how do you put it together? This class is for you.

We have kept this to a minimal cost of $5 for chamber members. Nonmembers may also attend for $10. Please call the chamber right away to reserve your space at (706) 2656278. I send a huge thank you to Appalachian Community Bank for sponsoring this event. The class will be held from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 20 at Appalachian Community Bank’s community room

located at 30 Main Street in downtown Dawsonville. October is a very busy month. I hope to see you at a chamber event soon. Won’t you join us?


Marketing/Advertising seminar 1-4 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Appalachian Community Bank community room Panelist list: John Hall Publisher Morris Media Group - Dawson Community News/Forsyth County News Randy Lohrenz Regional Marketing Director Dawson News & Advertiser Ken Cook Co-host Social Media Edge Steve Carter President

Promoxie Solutions Jim Powell Manager, Channel 4 Windstream Cable Television Jennifer Policky Account Executive Comcast Spotlight Atlanta Comcast Television Vernon Smith Owner/President Lakeview Publishing Company

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.

Appraisal Advisor, LLC Industrial, Retail, Office, Land Martinn E. Winters Certified General Real Estate Appraiser Office: 706.265.2537 • Fax: 706.265.2539

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



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

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Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009 • Page 3


Picnic raises more than $400

Chamber events October Oct. 19: College Career Seminar will be held from 4-7 p.m. at the Adult earning Center, free of charge. Community leaders will provide information on how to get a job or enroll in college. For more information, call (706) 2651690 or e-mail Kathy Davis at Oct. 20: Dawson County Chamber of Commerce will host “Marketing and Advertising in a Fast-Pace World,” from 1-4 p.m. at the Appalachian Community Bank community center, 30 Main Street, Dawsonville. Fee will be $5 for chamber members and $10 for nonmembers. For more information or to R.S.V.P., call (706) 265-6278. Special thanks to sponsor Appalachian Community Bank. Oct. 24-25: 42nd Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival will be held in downtown Dawsonville. The event is sponsored by KARE for Kids. For more information, call (706) 2656278. Oct. 27: Appalachian Community Bank, 4300 Dawson Forest Road, will host Business After Hours from 5-7 p.m. The cash drawing (Chamber’s Economic Stimulus Package) is sponsored by AFLAC-Sharon Reagan, Anderson Family Medicine-Dr. Larry Anderson, The Norton Agency-Kristie Myers, R&D Caulking-Mike Downs, United Community Bank-James Askew, Van Keith Insurance Agency of Dawsonville-Ann Grizzle and


Denny Insurance Group-Denny Putlak. Remember, you must be present to win if your name is drawn. A costume contest will be held, so dress your best. For security purposes, do not wear any masks that would cover your head and face.

November 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. R.S.V.P. by Nov. 9, by calling (706) 265-6278. Lunch is $12.50 with a reservation or $15 without. Non-members may attend at $18 per person. Pre-payment is required. Nov. 14: Musical “Turning Thirty,” sponsored by the Dawson County Woman’s Club will be held from 7-9 p.m. at Dawson County Middle School. Five talented Atlanta actors and their band perform an uplifting story of a young man’s successful battle with cancer. Event will be $15 per ticket or $25 per couple. Proceeds benefit Relay for Life. For more information, call Cindy at (706) 344-1288. Nov. 16: Are you ready to tee off? Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament at Chestatee Golf Club. Registration will begin at 11 a.m. and the event will begin with a shotgun start at noon. The tournament will be a Lauderdale format. Compete in the hole in one and other contests. For more information, call (706) 2656278.

Photo/Michele Hester

Doris Cook, left, sits down with Betty and Ernest Nalley last month for a hotdog fundraiser. Sponsored by Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, the event raised more than $400 for United Way for Dawson County.

Veterans honor missing soldiers Vietnam Veterans, from left, Tommy Matera and Gary Pichon bow their heads in prayer before placing a wreath in memory of soldiers missing in action or prisoners of war on National MIA/POW Day at Veterans Memorial Park on Sept. 18.

Photo/Michele Hester

Page 4 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009



Ceremony recalls 9/11 Eighth annual event held at Station 1 By Elizabeth Hamilton Staff writer

Residents of Dawson County recently gathered at Fire Staion 1 to pay tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the eighth anniversary of the event. “Everyone remembers exactly where they were when they first heard the news,” said Chad Rogers, one of two chaplains for Dawson County Public Safety. “Every individual that is standing here this morning was affected in some way by what happened in 2001.” He reflected on the lives lost during the tragedy, and challenged

those present to make the most of each day, expressing love and thanks to family members and co-workers. “Sept. 11 reminds us of where we all are today,” Rogers said. “There were people killed that did not get to kiss their loved ones goodbye, words they could have said that they did not get the chance to say. “Enjoy the blessings that you have right now today. Let’s not be hasty in remembering the past, but let us be hasty in taking care of the necessities today. We never know when tragedy will hit.” The flags in front of the station were flown at

half staff, as ordered by Gov. Sonny Perdue. Capt. Jamerson Kerby of Dawson County Emergency Services was one of several public safety members to attend the ceremony, and said it was a tasteful and appropriate way to honor those who are no longer with us. “Even eight years later, we still need to remember what happened and take some time out of our day to pay our respects,” Kerby said. “Chad Rogers delivered an excellent message, and this year has been the biggest turnout so far.” Billy Thurmond, director of emergency services, was pleased with the turnout. “It continues to grow

Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton

Members of the community bowed their heads for a moment of silence during the Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony. each year,” Thurmond said. “This is an occasion that we always want to remember, and remem-

ber those who lost their lives that day.” The ceremony ended with a moment of silence shortly after 9

a.m., recog n i z i n g t h e time when the first aircraft crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.

College and career seminar to be held Oct. 19 From staff reports

The Dawson Adult Learning Center of Lanier Technical College has teamed up with area business professionals to provide expert advice to anyone looking for a job, trying to get a better job or considering enrolling in college. The free college and career seminar will be held from 4-6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 19 at the Adult Learning Center, located at 388 Hwy. 9

North, Dawsonville. Linda Williams, president of the chamber of commerce, will provide information on business trends in Dawson County and industries that are succeeding. She will also explain the Work Ready test and how to apply for the $50 and $100 incentives currently being offered. Jay Walker, manager of the local Kroger in Dawsonville and current chairman of the chamber's board of directors,

will go over the type of employee businesses prefer and the attitude and skills that employers are seeking. Human Resources Director of Dawson County Jay Sessions, will provide advice on the best methods to employ in a job interview. He can explain the impression that appearance and body language can give an employer. Randy Case, English instructor with the Adult

Learning Center, will present the steps to writing a powerful resume and the type of resume that would be most successful for your situation or skills. Shannon Obermeier, Dual Enrollment Specialist with Lanier Tech, will answer questions on enrolling in Lanier Tech and financial aid resources available. The event is free and open to anyone who would like to attend. Reservations are rec-

ommended but not required. For additional information, call the Adult Learning Center at (706)

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

265-1690 Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or e-mail Kathy Davis at

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

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009 • Page 5



Businesses promote Photos/Michele Hester

Above, Katie Garbos, 5, rolls a strike in Wii bowling at the Dawson County Library’s booth at the Business Expo. Left, Liberty Tax Services invited Lady Liberty, Amanda Remington, to the chamber’s expo last week.

VETERANS from 1 one more than the chamber’s own Pam Hamalainen, to bring the attention and respect to the Dawson County vets that they so deserve. Dawson County is one of only 41 designated sites nationwide that serves as a model community for the events that it holds in the

Veterans honor. Gov. Perdue has invited the local committee to be recognized at the Annual Veteran’s Day Proclamation Signing Ceremony at 1 p.m. Oct. 29 in the north wing of the state capitol. Several events are planned in honor of our vet-

erans, including a parade grand marshaled by S/Sgt Waymon Tate and CWO-4 William Bill Garner starting at 2:30 p.m. on Veteran’s Day. All veterans, active military, Dawson County Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS will be honored and represented.

As well, a private banquet will be held for our veterans and their spouses before the parade at Dawson County Middle School at 1 p.m. As our family ends each day in prayer, our son Hayden is the first to pray for my nephew, Justin Taylor, who currently

serves as a mortar specialist in Afghanistan. Though I pray for his safety and cherish the day that he returns unharmed, I am proud that he has role models who have gone before him in battle, such as those like Capt. Larry Freeland and the fore mentioned in the parade, who

have set an unprecedented standard in leadership and bravery for us all. For more information on Veterans Day events, contact Pam Hamalainen or Linda Williams at the chamber at (706) 265-6278. Jay Walker Chairman

Page 6 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009



One stop wedding, pageant shop Ribbon cutting ceremony celebrates local business

Gloria Smith, left, and Carey Robinson of Appalachian Community Bank browse through the formal dress selections at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Christi’s Bridal and Formal Wear last month.

By Elizabeth Hamilton Staff writer

Going to prom is a milestone in the lives of most young girls, and the search for the perfect dress, date and dinner location comes second next to the day that every little girl dreams of: Her wedding day. From prom dress to wedding dress, shoes, jewelry and even formal attire for the guys, C h r i s t i ’s B r i d a l a n d Formal Wear is North G e o rg i a ’s o n e s t o p bridal store for the “big day.” “I love my job,” said Christi Franklin, owner and founder of the store. “I love being a part of the big day. It’s l i ke g e t t i n g m a r r i e d everyday.” Franklin opened the store in December 2008, and recently celebrated the opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony sponsored by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. “It is always great to welcome the first business of a new category to the community,” said Linda Williams, president of the chamber. “It is also a positive thing t o fi l l a n i c h e i n t h e community that hasn’t been served.” Williams added that

Photos/Elizabeth Hamilton

Franklin made a wise choice in opening her bu s i n e s s i n D aw s o n County due to the seve r a l eve n t fa c i l i t i e s offered throughout the county, as well as the natural beauty of the North Georgia mountains. Franklin left a full time position in corporate human resources, an industry in which s h e wo r ke d f o r 1 0 years, to open her own business. “While I was working in HR I planned weddings on the side,” Franklin said. “The nature of my job was p l a n n i n g eve n t s , a n d when I started planning more and more weddings, I realized that it was what I really loved a n d r e a l l y wa n t e d t o do.”

A Georgia native and r e s i d e n t o f D aw s o n County since 1992, Franklin said she chose to open a business here because there was not a store of its caliber in the surrounding area. “When I got married in 2003, there was nothing here. I had to drive t o G w i n n e t t C o u n t y, Alpharetta, Buckhead and Atlanta to get everything that I needed,” Franklin said. She described her business as a “one stop shop,” a convenience to limit travel on the part of the client to get everything they need for their special occasion. The unique shop offers prom and pageant gowns, tuxedo rentals, as well as invitations,

jewelry, shoes, accessories and more. Franklin noted that s h e w e l c o m e d a n ew aspect to her business that completes the wedding package. Cindi Harper has more than 20 years ex p e r i e n c e p l a n n i n g weddings and other eve n t s , a n d r e c e n t l y joined Franklin to offer her expertise in event design, entertainment, formal wear, photograp h y, t r ave l a r r a n g e ments and accommodations, to name a few. Christi’s Bridal and Formal Wear is located at 66 South 400 Center Lane, Suite 230-235 in Dawsonville. For more information, call (706) 2658500.

Christi Franklin, front center, recently celebrated the opening of her business with a ribbon cutting ceremony sponsored last month by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce.

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009 • Page 7



Chamber’s cash prize grows to $2,950 Costume contest at October event By Michele Hester Staff Writer

It’s hard to turn down a good tailgate party, especially when there’s a $2,775 cash grand prize involved. Chestatee State Bank invited chamber members to show support for their favorite team during the monthly Business After Hours event held at the bank Sept. 22. While the red and black dominated most of the evening, Tennessee orange also had a good showing. In the end, no one took home the grand prize, because Janice Hale, of Hillcrest Orchards, was not present when her name was drawn for the cash. The cash drawing increases to $2,950 for this month’s Business After Hours, which will be held from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 27 at

Chestatee State Bank invited chamber members to show support for their favorite team during the monthly Business After Hours event held at the bank Sept. 22. Appalachian Community Bank’s Ga. 400 branch on Dawson Forest Road. Everyone is invited to begin trick-or-treating early by wearing their Halloween costume and entering the costume contest. For security purposes, please do not wear any masks that would cover

your head and face. For more information, call (706) 265-5090. The chamber would like to thank the following sponsors for donating to the cash prize drawing: AFLAC, Anderson Family Medicine, The Norton Agency, R&D Caulking Inc., United Community Bank, Van Keith Insurance

Photos/Michele Hester

Chasity Wysotski, of Prudential Georgia Realty, won a Georgia Bulldog tailgate cooler, courtesy of Kroger during the event. Kroger manager and chairman of the chamber’s board Jay Walker presented the gift. Agency of Dawsonville and Denny Insurance Group. Special recognition also goes out to Paul

Thomas Chocolates, Anidawehi Spa and Wellness Center, Bella Sol Salon, Dawson County Arts Council, Jeanette

Walker, Ashlyn’s Attic, Yorkie Doodle Embroidery and Kroger for donating door prizes for the event.

Chamber golf tournament rescheduled for Nov. 16 By Elizabeth Hamilton Staff writer

Calling all local businesses and golfers: The Dawson County Chamber of Commerce's 11th Annual Golf Tournament has been rescheduled for Nov. 16 at Chestatee Golf Club. A fundraiser that supports the efforts of the chamber, registra-

tion will begin at 11 and the shotgun start will be at noon. As in years past, play will be in the Ft. Lauderdale format that will include 3 hole-in-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 an 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. $10,000, courtesy of Chestatee State Bank, is the prize for the hole-in-one competition.

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 register teams on the morning of, if necessary. For more information, contact the chamber at (706) 2656278.

Page 8 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009 • Page 9



Chamber Chronicle is the monthly newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. The editorial content includes Chamber News and goals of interest to the business and residential community. The Chamber will keep the community informed about ribbon cuttings, business expansions, chamber functions QUICK TAKES and events, community events and the benefits of Chamber membership through Chamber Advertising offered only to Chronicle. Chamber members. Delivery...Dawson Community News Subscribers, All Dawson County Chamber Members Size...10” X 9.5” Frequency...Monthly 2nd Wednesday of Every Month Deadline: Monday One Week Prior to Publication

The Chronicle is mailed to all subscribers of the Dawson Community News, plus all Chamber members. Additional copies are available at the Chamber office.

Dawson Community News A Community Newspaper Serving Community Needs

Call Jennifer Lyness at 770-887-3126 for rates

Page 10 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009



Chamber members give back at ‘Day of Caring’ United Way sets $100,000 goal By Elizabeth Hamilton Staff writer

Dozens of chamber of commerce members got their hands dirty Sept. 18 when they took the morning off from work and participated in United Way for Dawson County’s annual Day of Caring. Among other activities, volunteers cleaned kennels and walked dogs at the Dawson County Humane Society and did

landscape work at Abba House and the Dawson County Senior Center. “Giving back to the community we live and work in is a part of our company culture,” said Jim Devrise, vice president of Nordson, which has had employees participate in Day of Caring for 12 years. Jane Alvarez of SunTrust said employees at the bank volunteered because “we want to become a vital part of the

community.” Helping those in need is a key issue for the United Way for Dawson County, which has seen demand for services rise due to the poor economy. Following the Day of Caring volunteers met for lunch and United Way for Dawson County announced a goal to raise $100,000 over the next few months. “We see more need now than we have in my 35 years as a teacher and administrator,” said Nicky Gilleland, honorary campaign chair and former superintendent of

Dawson County Schools. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this big of a need.” “The only way we can relieve this situation is by giving and living united,” he said. “I want to thank you for the giving of your time and the giving of your heart to our community.” In the past six years, more than $424,000 has been allocated to local United Way partners, including American Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Court Appointed Special Advocates and 4-H Dawson County.

Photo/Elizabeth Hamilton

David Seabolt, left, and John Riney, both employees of Nordson, help spread mulch around Abba House on Sept. 18 during United Way’s annual Day of Caring.

Insurance commissioner speaks at luncheon event By Michele Hester Staff Writer

Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John Oxendine told members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce that Georgia government should rearrange its schedules to better serve the people. Oxendine was the guest speaker at the chamber’s

Sept. 10 luncheon. “Why do all t h e s e governm e n t s close at Oxendine around 4:30 p.m. when you’re still at work making money that enables you to pay taxes and support the govern-

September totals were unavailable as of press time, check back next month for September and October totals

ment?” Oxendine asked. “It’s kind of like let’s hurry up and close before the people we work for have a chance to call and ask for help.” Oxendine announced earlier this year his intentions to run for governor. He is the second candidate for governor who has spoken to the chamber in recent weeks.

Republican U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal, of Gainesville, met with the chamber membership in August. Secretary of State Karen Handel will be the guest speaker in November. Speaking to the chamber, Oxendine focused on his current duties as Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner, a position he has

held since 1994. Currently the longest serving Republican Statewide Constitutional Officer, Oxendine said he applies small business principals to Georgia state government by running his department under budget with fewer employees than the office had 15 years ago. “I’ve often said being an elected official should

be like being a firefighter, being a police officer, being a teacher, being a minister. We normally don’t go into those jobs and professions because you want fame and glory,” Oxendine said. “You go into it because you want to make the community better, and that’s what being a public official should be about.”

Timothy A.Annis,D.C.

Jeremy Elzey

Elzey Exterminating Co., Inc. (Residential & Commercial) Free Termite inspections

1992 Dr. Bramblett Rd. Cumming, GA 30040

Office # 678-455-9200 Cell # 678-887-0038

Dr.Timothy A.Annis 66 South 400 Center Lane,Suite 105 Dawsonville,GA 30534

(706) 216-4875

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009 • Page 11

New members Elrod Heating and Cooling Terry Elrod (678) 648-5443 59 Hwy. 9 South Dawsonville, GA 300534 Mari Livsey (706) 692-1164 P.O. Box 1134 Jasper, GA 30143 Dawson County Wee Books Program Inc. Marge Carey, Treasurer

(706) 216-2307 176 Nix Point Road Dawsonville, GA 30534 The Abacus Group Pepper Pettit (404) 401-8586 6470 Highway 400 Bldg. C, Suite 101 Cumming, GA Trail & Son Inc. Ben Trail (706) 974-7046 3898 War Hill Park Road Dawsonville, GA 30534

Mountain View Home and Gift Michelle Ergle (706) 344-1247 355 Quill Drive, Suite 120 Dawsonville, GA 30534

Thank You Chamber Building Fund Sponsors

New Name Counseling and Teaching Center Jason or Kim Glaze (706) 265-8128 200 Old Dawson Village Road Suite 110 Dawsonville, GA 30534

Special thanks to the following members that renewed in September A.D.S. Inc. Regions Bank Visiting Angels of Lake Lanier

Southern Select Properties LLC Graphic Innovations

• Don’t miss the chamber’s marketing seminar to be held from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Appalachian Community Bank community center. • Congratulations to Herb Burnsed for being honored with the Lake Gibson Leadership Award. • The following have been nominated for two year terms (20102011)to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. The slate will be presented to the membership for approval at the Nov. 12, 2009 meeting. Kathy Fuller – KC Fuller and Associates Peter Hill – Hill Design Associates Architects Inc. Rhonda Tower – Tower Automotive Mike Underwood – First Citizens Bank of Georgia Taylor Wallace – Premier Landcare 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 • October 2009



Ambassadors take time to relax, unwind By Michele Hester Staff writer

As Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, volunteers in the Ambassador Program are usually busy with registration while other chamber members are enjoying the chamber’s monthly events. Last month, the group took a much deserved evening for themselves and met for an early dinner at the Kani House and later tried to find their way out of Uncle Shuck’s Corn Maze. Recently, several ambassadors shared a

little about themselves and discussed the reasons they stay so active. For Ambassador Chairman Denny Putlak, his work with the chamber is a “labor of love.” “As chamber ambassadors, we have the opportunity to get really connected with the local community and all the wonderful events that the chamber sponsors each year,” he said. Ambassador Lori Lewis, who represents three chamber businesses (Stelor Handyman, Dawson County Homebuilders Association and the Tigers Touchdown Club), said her work as

an ambassador “has helped build my reputation within the community and given me a chance to meet many people.” “There is nothing better than being able to get out and be involved with this great community,” she said. Jane Alvarez, branch manager at Suntrust in Dawsonville, agrees and is “immensely enjoying becoming involved in the community,” she said. Ambassador Ed Combs also enjoys his involvement because it allows him to build his REMAX real estate business while also pro-

moting business growth in Dawson County. The ambassadors are a group of volunteers that act as liaisons between the chamber and its membership. Ambassadors meet once a month to share success stories. They also spend a great deal of time promoting the chamber through various activities such as Business After Hours events, new business ribbon cuttings and personally meeting new and existing members. For more information on the chamber’s Ambassador Program, call (706) 265-6278.

Photo/Michele Hester

Chamber Ambassdors, from left, Lori Lewis and Inez and Bob Couch enjoy dinner at the Kani House last month.

Ambassador Spotlight By Michele Hester Staff Writer

Each month a different business or organization sponsors the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador’s Breakfast, held at Ryan’s in Dawsonville the fourth Wednesday of the month. Kroger sponsored the group’s Sept. 23 meeting. Kroger is an active contributor to the Dawson County community, with employees continuously taking time away from work to volunteer, collecting funds for local organizations and

Dawsonville Kroger giving back in so many ways. Store manager Jay Walker, who is also chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, credits his entire staff at Kroger for being the unsung heroes that allow him and the store to participate and contribute so much to the county. “The people who work for me do a phenomenal job. We couldn’t do it without them,”

Walker he said. The Children’s Miracle Network, Scottish Rite

Hospital and United Way are also important causes for Walker and his employees. Dawsonville Kroger employees have been the top contributors to the area’s United Way campaign for the last several years. Kroger is also a major contributor to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and plays an active role each year in organizing the chamber’s annual community picnic each September at Amicalola Falls State Park. Breakfast sponsorships, at a reasonable cost, are still

available for ambassador breakfasts through the year. 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 1015 minutes to briefly speak on their business and includes a short profile in the Chamber Chronicle. To register to sponsor an ambassador breakfast or for more information about the program, call (706) 2161750.

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • September 2009 • Page 13



Annual picnic draws crowd, honors volunteers By Elizabeth Hamilton Staff Writer

Dawson County bid farewell to summer Sept. 8 during the 13th Annual Community Picnic at Amicalola Falls State Park. The free community picnic served up an estimated 800 hamburgers and 900 hot dogs. It also featured activities ranging from face painting and hayrides to performances by th e Dawson County High School Chamber Singers and Relative to Him, a local vocal group. “We had an excellent turnout this year, with over 700 people attending,” said Linda Williams, president of t he Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. “We were pleased with the event and with the families and children who came out to enjoy themselves. “We appreciate the positive feedback that we’ve received, and are glad that those who attended had a good time. We enjoyed ourselves as well.” Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the event has also provided an opportunity to pay tribute to public safety personnel who risk their lives serving the community. This year, a special tribute recognized the men and women of the Meth Task Force, volun-

Students from various vocational clubs at Dawson County High School and employees of United Community Bank wrap hot dogs to be served during the community picnic.

Photos/Elizabeth Hamilton

Ted Bearden lets 2-year-old Bailey Swafford get a closer glimpse at a screech owl during the annual community picnic, held in September at Amicalola Falls State Park. teers who work behind the scenes to make Dawson County a drugfree community. “We are so fortunate in this county to have these volunteers, because in so many ways, we are dependent on dedicated people such as yourselves to make the place that we call home a better place to live each and every day,” said Jay Walker, chamber chairman who presented a plaque to the group. Walker noted that the group gathered 800 signatures for a petition that

removed drug paraphernalia from local convenient stores. “We are so appreciative of this group and can’t thank you enough for what you do,” he said. Bob King, a task force board member, accepted the award on behalf of the group. “We are not a legal task force, but rather a group of volunteers working together to educate the public and provide community support for people to make positive changes and decisions in their lives,” King said.

He shared how the group recently held a well-attended fair at the local high school, stressing healthy relationships and alternatives for nonnarcotic pain relief. Williams described the picnic as “one of those events that absolutely verifies the value of volunteers to a community and to our organization.” “This event could not and would not have happened without our volunteers and sponsors who have worked so hard for months to make the picnic successful,” she said.

Marilyn and Myron Strain enjoy free food from the Dawsonville Pool Room at the 13th Annual Community Picnic. “The picnic is a supreme volunteer effort.” Sponsors for the event included the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge, Kroger, the

Dawsonville Pool Room, United Community Bank, Coca-Cola of Gainesville, Mayfield Dairies, Len Foote Hike Inn, WalMart, Byrd’s Mini Storage and the City of Dawsonville.

Page 14 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009



Workforce initiative awarded $35,000 grant By Michele Hester Staff writer

Dawson County is one of five counties awarded a $35,000 state grant to improve the local workforce. A group of leaders in the county began working about a year ago to achieve the state’s Work Ready designation, which was created to ensure that Georgia’s workers have the best skills, easy access to training and world-class job opportunities. Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, applied for the grant in June to increase

awareness of the county’s Work Ready initiative. Work Ready is based on a skills assessment, certification for job seekers and a job profiling system for businesses. The goal is to generate a workforce that meets the needs of local businesses. “As the team leader for Dawson County’s Certified Work Ready process, the group is very appreciative of these grant funds. It has been challenging to get the word out to employers and job seekers alike about the benefits of the program without a budget to work with,” Williams said. To be designated a Certified Work Ready

Community, counties must encourage current workers and the available workforce to earn Work Ready Certificates, demonstrate a commitment to improve public high school graduation rates and build community commitment for the program. Williams said the goal to reach the designation in the next 18 months is in reach. “Thanks to Mr. Chelf at the high school, 100 percent of the 2009 senior class took the work ready test. That has played a big part toward us getting the community certified work ready,” she said.

Funds could be used to purchase incentives for students who improve attendance and test scores. “Fortunately, our graduation rate is well above the minimum required. We will be able to use some of these funds for software to help our students prepare for the graduation tests and for the Work Ready assessments as well,” Williams said. Reaching the county’s existing workforce has been the greatest challenge, according to Williams. She anticipates reaching the unemployed to be just as challenging.

“We’d like to use the funding to market the program. The grant will allow us to do an advertising campaign with newspapers, online media and we’ve even talked about a billboard,” she said. The grant will also allow the members of the local work ready team to print and distribute flyers through local agencies that serve families in need. “We want to do anything we can to market is and get the word out,” she said. Gov. Sonny Perdue announced last week more than 85 percent of Georgia’s communities

will be certified Work Ready with the addition of 30 new counties committing to the program. “Georgia’s communities are boosting their economic development credentials and helping their citizens improve their job skills,” Perdue said. “Becoming a Certified Work Ready Community is proof that a county is serious about developing a capable workforce and helps position Georgia for growth and innovation.” For more information about the Work Ready Initiative, call Linda Williams at (706) 2656278.

Dawsonville selected as regional Veterans Day site Nov. 11 event to include parade and recognition ceremony By Michele Hester Staff writer

For the third consecutive year, Dawson County is one of only two cities in the state selected by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. as a Veterans Day Regional Site. The Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, Dawson County and Dawsonville will hold the 5th Annual Veterans Day Celebration Nov. 11

in downtown Dawsonville. Festivities begin with a parade at 2:30 p.m., led by Grand Marshals S/Sgt. Waymon Tate and CWO-4 William (Bill) Garner. Formal ceremonies will be held at Dawson County Middle School at 3:30 p.m. with Capt. Larry Freeland serving as Master of Ceremony. Veterans and active military from all wars and all branches will be honored, as well as local Dawson County Law

Residents gather for a past Veterans Day service.

File photo

Enforcement, fire and emergency services men and women. The public is invited to line the streets of

downtown Dawsonville and show support for all veterans and active military. A private banquet

will be held at 1 p.m. at the middle school, prior to the parade, for veterans and their families. Veterans Affairs of

Dawson County is currently accepting nominations for Veteran of the Year, who will be honored during the ceremony. Please submit, in your own words, a nomination for a veteran who has made a positive impact on our community this year. Nominations can be sent to Veterans Affairs of Dawson County, Attention: Pam Hamalainen, 200 Kathy Lane, Dawsonville, GA 30534, and should be no more than two paragraphs long. For more information, call (706) 265-6278.

Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009 • Page 15



Luncheon praises chamber members By Michele Hester

Left, Leadership Dawson co-chairs Doris Cook and Peter Hill present Herb Burnsed, right, with the Lake Gibson Leadership Award last Thursday during the chamber luncheon. Below, Chairman of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Jay Walker, right, presented Kroger corporate officials Peggy Prescott and David Herrington for Kroger’s commitment to giving back in Dawson County.

Staff writer

Last week’s chamber luncheon focused on giving back and paid tribute to the man responsible for so many local community service efforts over the years. Herb Burnsed thought he was being asked to attend the chamber’s luncheon last Thursday to honor a young leader in the community with the Lake Gibson Leadership Award. He soon learned he had been tricked. The award was for him. Created a few years ago by the alumni of Dawson County’s Leadership Academy, the Lake Gibson Leadership Award honors an individual who has made an impact on the community through his tireless efforts and achievements. Leadership Dawson alumni were in attendance for the award presentation. The former superintendent of Dawson County Schools, Burnsed has also served on the United Way for Dawson County and played a role in developing the organization in the county, Rotary, the chamber and Etowah Water and Sewer Authority, among others. “He is a great mentor to many folks, including myself. Herb exemplifies leadership for all of us,” said Doris Cook, co-chair of Leadership Dawson. “Dawson County is a better place because of his influence.” Surprised by the recognition, Burnsed said he was sure there are several people in the community more deserving. “The Leadership Dawson class is our future as we pre-

Photos/Michele Hester

“He is a great mentor to many folks, including myself. Herb exemplifies leadership for all of us.” - Doris Cook, co-chair of Leadership Dawson pare others to be leaders of this county,” Burnsed said. “I’m so appreciative. I want to thank everyone in Dawson County. My time here has been wonderful.” Luncheon guest speaker Peggy Prescott, a human resources director for the Kroger Corporation, also

encouraged those in attendance to give back and make a difference in the community. “I know you here today are part of the alumni group and some are just recent in the leadership program. I believe what this chamber is doing to educate and inspire leaders to become involved, by providing

opportunities for you to interact and explore and make a difference in Dawson County, demonstrates an amazing commitment,” Prescott said. As the meeting came to

close, Chairman Jay Walker presented Prescott and David Herrington, Kroger Zone Manager, with gifts of gratitude for all Kroger does for Dawson County.

Page 16 • Dawson Chamber Chronicle • October 2009

“A very special thanks goes to Chestatee State Bank. A talented group of truly service oriented people who creatively take dreams and make a fantastic reality possible. They have always helped us pursue our passion which is taking care of you. With a leader like Mr. Philip Hester, you know its going to be a win-win situation.” Dr. Matthew Dunford & Dr. Michelle Morrow Dawsonville Distinctive Dentistry “We have been banking with Chestatee State Bank since 1998. They have truly made banking more efficient for us, by providing the most up to date banking technologies, including remote deposit and a variety of user friendly online banking interfaces. Their customer service is just as extraordinary. They have always met all of our needs, and more. It has been a blessing to have been partnered with Chestatee State Bank for the last 11 years.”

“Chestatee State Bank provided personal service from their President, Philip Hester, my initial business loans and second mortgage, reliable banking service for business and personal accounts and friendly, prompt service on all occasions. Their Financial Advisory services and ancillary banking services have been handy and useful, their staff friendly and courteous at all times. I have used them exclusively for my business over the past 7 years since our start up.” Dr. Gary Berliner Chestatee Emergent Care

Drs. Craig and Wendy Harris Harris Family Dentistry

Main Office, Hwy. 53 & 400 • (706) 216-BANK With locations in downtown Dawsonville, Keith Bridge Commons-Cumming & Marble Hill

October 2009 Chamber Chronicle  

Expo brings a crowd

October 2009 Chamber Chronicle  

Expo brings a crowd