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Event raises money for senior center. September 2010

The Member Newsletter of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce

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

Official ponders future of forest By Frank Reddy

A crowd of more than 50 turned out Aug. 18 for a discussion on what the future could hold for 10,000 acres of Dawson Forest. Commissioner Gary Pichon, who organized the meeting, spoke about the possibility of expanding upon the recreational usage

of the land, a tract currently owned by the city of Atlanta. Pichon said it was important for the community to come up with a plan for conserving the forested property. Many of those in attendance belonged to equestrian clubs around the state. Members of the clubs often use Dawson Forest for its horse trails that snake in and

out of the dense woods. Lenore Graham, with the Chattahoochee Trail Horse Association, said she would “promote keeping God’s earth the way he wanted it and leaving everything as natural as it can be.” Graham said a further expansion of the current trail system could be advantaSee FOREST | 3

File photo

Gary Pichon, a Dawson County Commissioner, talks with Liz Cole Aug. 18 during a discussion on the future of Dawson Forest.


There is a lot to be thankful for, count your blessings This year is flying by it seems. It is already September and the feeling of fall is in the air. Football is upon us and the holiday season isn’t far behind. Also, fall is for travelers going to and from numer-

ous festivals and let’s not forget the leaf lookers. Dawson County will be traveled a lot in the next few months. Whether it is driving directly to our county or by passing thru to another part of the mountains. It is a great time of

the year. We are truly blessed. If I could, let me remind myself and everyone else that money does not determine our blessings. If it did, then I would surely be in trouble. Even though the economy

is not where we want it to be, it is still a great time to be alive. Take advantage of that life each of us is blessed with each and every day. Be a blessing to someone else, you never know when we may not have that

opportunity. I think back to one of our local Dawson County favorites, the late Pastor Mark Weaver. Now, there was a man who made each day count. Weaver chose to enjoy the life that See BLESSINGS | 12





Join the right organizations, make the right associations I hope that when you decided to go into business the first thing you did was join our local chamber of commerce. We have the resources to assist you and if we don’t know the answer, we will find someone who does. In fact, some of our resource providers will be on site during the upcoming Business Expo Oct. 5 at the Lakeview Center. Even though we try our best to remind everyone of the benefits of membership, I know that the responsibilities of running your business may get in the way of keeping up with the details of what our organization has to offer. Here is a reminder of just one of the benefits of chamber membership — Hot Deals. I checked our Hot Deals page on recently and at that time, 12 of our members had one or more Hot Deals posted. This valuable advertising tool is available as part of your membership dues investment. It costs you nothing to post a Hot Deal. It is free advertising. A member and I were talking about the fact that it can take multiple impressions to get someone to remember you, your company name or your product or service. Hot Deals is a great way to keep your company’s name in front of the buying public. Even if the reader

doesn’t need the item you are promoting today, an impresWilliams sion is being made and hopefully that information will reside in their brain until they need something you offer at a future date. So use Hot Deals to make those multiple impressions by offering something on a continual basis. With Hot Deals, you can actually create a coupon or simply ask the customer to mention they saw your offer on Hot Deals. After all, do you really need the coupon returned? Don’t you simply want them to come into your place of business? In addition to joining your local chamber, you should also join an association specific to your industry or geographic location. With that said, I want to let you know that if you are licensed within the city of Dawsonville, you should consider attending the next organizational meeting of the Dawsonville Downtown Merchants. The group of business leaders has met once to brainstorm on ways to increase the business activity in the downtown area.

Tina Everett, business owner at Georgia Mountain Candle Company, is your contact person. Give Everett a call at (706) 708-6286 with your questions and ask her to include you on the contact list. The next meeting will be held at 6:15 p.m. Sept. 14 in the Gordon Pirkle Room at city hall.

Now, since we have been talking about ways to promote your business, I hope you are registered as an exhibitor at the upcoming Business Expo. Call the chamber office for an application and register right away. This year’s event promises to be a sell out once again. Hundreds of potential customers will

visit you at your booth to learn about your products and services. This fall promises to be a busy one. Stop by the chamber’s new office to see us soon. If you aren’t a member already, won’t you join us?

‘Use Hot Deals to make those multiple impressions by offering something on a continual basis.’

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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CALENDAR OF EVENTS Sept. 9: Chamber of Commerce luncheon will be held at noon at the Lakeview Center. Jeremy Porter of Atlanta Motorsports Park will be the guest speaker. For more information, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278. Sept. 17: United Way for Dawson County's Day of Caring and Campaign Kick-off. For more information on how to get involved, call (770) 7814110. Sept. 17: Join the Dawson County Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 970 at 6 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park for a POW/MIA service. Sept. 23: Laurelwood of Northeast Georgia Medical Center & Chestatee Regional Hospital will be offering a Free Parenting Seminar from 6 7:30 p.m. at the Lumpkin County Park & Recreation Center. Registration is required for the seminar as seating is limited. For more information or to register, call (770) 2197641 or e-mail Sept. 23: All are invited to join Pamela Adams, regional development director for Constant Contact for a full day workshop hosted by numerous Northeast Georgia Chambers of Commerce. The event will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cleveland United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 112 East Kytle StreetCleveland, GA 30528. The seminar is free to Dawson County Chamber of Commerce members. For more information or to register, call (706) 265-6278.

Sept. 28: Chestate State Bank, Hwy. 400 location, will host Business After Hours from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call (706) 216-2265. Special thanks to AFLAC, Sharon Reagan; Anderson Family Medicine, Dr. Larry Anderson;, Barbara Roberts; The Norton Agency, Kristie Myers; United Community Bank, James Askew; and Van Keith Insurance of Dawsonville, Ann Grizzle for sponsoring the cash drawing. Remember, you must be present to win if your name is drawn. The cash drawing is currently at $500. Sept. 30: Reverse Raffle. Who will win $10,000 cash? A major fundraiser for the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, the event is tons of fun and there will be a number of prize winners. Tickets are $100 each and entitle two people to attend the drawing party at the Lakeview Center. Food will be provided and a cash bar will be available. Ticket sales are limited to a maximum of 350 tickets, so chances of winning are excellent. Every 25th number drawn will win a door prize valued at least $100 or more. The very last ticket drawn is the grand prizewinner. You do not have to be present to win. Special thanks to The Norton Agency for sponsoring the Drawing Party. For more information or to buy a ticket, call (706) 2656278.

Lake Lanier discussed at August luncheon By Michele Hester

The fate of Lake Lanier and its levels topped talks last month during the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce luncheon Aug. 12. Wilton Rooks, vice president of technology with the Lake Lanier Association, spoke at the meeting, filling in for the association’s president Val Perry, who was unable to attend. Joanna Cloud, who was recently selected as the group’s executive director, was also in attendance. Rooks gave a presentation outlining the association’s mission and programs to act as an education and resource for many government and private groups interested in the health of the lake. He also talked about the current lake levels and Georgia’s water withdrawal war with Florida and Alabama. “The water level through most of the


Forest geous for those interested in horseback-riding, cycling, jogging and other activities. Pichon said the chief idea of the meeting was to “talk about how we can turn this land into permanent public green space.” Added Pichon: “I don’t want to see it fall into private hands and turn into something we have no control over, because you’ll never assemble that kind of land again. That’s my concern.” Marty Williams, vice president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce said Pichon is

summer stayed right around full pool at 1071 feet, but with the drought we seem to be in now, it’s a little less than that,” he said. Rooks said there are talks now to raise the lake level to 1073 feet to create additional water supply for Georgia and downstream users. Founded in 1966, the Lake Lanier Association is the oldest volunteer group working to protect the high water quality, as well as the Lake Lanier water level and to preserve its valuable legacy for future generations. The chamber aims to educate its members with monthly guests who discuss issues that affect the local business and residential communities. The chamber’s next luncheon is at noon Sept. 9, when Jeremy Porter with Atlanta Motorsports Park, a complex under construction in western Dawson County, will be the guest speaker. For more information, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

on the right track. “I’m all for it,” Williams said. “Gary’s vision on this is just great. It’s the perfect place for it. It would really make Dawson County stand out.” While the future is uncertain for the city of Atlanta tract, there has been talk from officials about creation of a reservoir on the property. Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is looking at potentially buying the property to provide regional water solutions. The local authority and a private company have plans to buy the land in Dawson Forest, damming a portion of Shoal Creek to build a 2,000-acre reservoir. At the meeting, Pichon

called the Dawson Forest tract a “crown jewel in the crown” of the Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area, more than 15,000 acres of nearby state-owned land. “With all of this land together, that’s where it starts to get interesting,” Pichon said. “When you start to string it all together, the possibilities are exciting...there’s potential for a grand outdoor park,” he said. Following the meeting, Pichon said he hoped “to raise awareness, and maybe someone can help get this started.” He said that perhaps a parks authority could be created at the state level to get the ball rolling financially.



City celebrates its 150th anniversary By Michele Hester

Dozens of couples twisted the night away Aug. 14 as the City of Dawsonville celebrated its 150th birthday. Proceeds from the Southern Nights Dinner Dance benefit the Dawson County Senior Center’s elevator fund. Margie Weaver, who runs the center, said she was overjoyed at the turnout. “Look at all these people here, and they’re having such a good time,” she said. Dawsonville Mayor Pro-Tem Calvin Byrd agreed. “I couldn’t believe the crowd, and the decorations were great,” he said. “It’s always good to celebrate an anniversary like that but when you can help an organization that does so much for the city and the county...this was just a great overall event.” The dinner and dance featured a live and silent auction, while Athens-based Country River Band kept the crowd of over 100 dancing the night away. Dawsonville residents Scotty and Molly Bennett, who spent most of the evening on the dance floor, want to

see more events like Saturday night’s dance. “Just because we’re older doesn’t mean we want to sit at home. I’d like to see something like this once a month, to give us somewhere to congregate, meet people, have a good time and do something for the community,” Scotty Bennett said. The senior center is a two-floor facility located at Veterans Memorial Park geared toward providing a social outlet for area seniors. Weaver said an elevator, which is expected to cost about $40,000, is the center’s greatest need. “We’re about half way there,” said Weaver, who added the center could offer more programs if there was an elevator at the facility. Another elevator fundraiser is planned for next month when local country music artist Kurt Thomas will perform Sept. 18 at the Lakeview Center. Thomas has appeared on stage with the Zac Brown Band, opened for Kenny Chesney and was the winner of CMT’s Next Big Star contest. For more information, call the senior center at (706) 344-3700.

‘I’d like to see something like this once a month... .’ Scotty Bennett Dawson County resident

Scotty and Molly Bennett spent most of the night Aug. 14 on the dance floor at city hall for the City of Dawsonville’s 150th birthday celebration. Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Officials and local leaders gathered Aug. 13 for a ceremony marking the recent revitalization of Veterans Memorial Park.

Trail dedicated By Frank Reddy

Officials with Dawson County government gathered last month to mark the dedication of Veterans Memorial Park’s newest additions. Revitalization efforts for the park included the addition of a nearly milelong exercise trail open to bicyclists and foot traffic, as well as a new playground. Lisa Henson, director of parks and recreation, described the decades-old park as a “diamond in the rough. “If you go to any other county and look at their park system and look at their parks, you won’t find a one that’s this old that looks as beautiful as this one does,” Henson said. Those attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony included several county commissioners, government officials and local

residents who frequent the Dawson County Senior Center. The senior center is located inside Veterans Memorial Park, which makes the new trail a strategically-placed addition. The trail takes visitors past five new exercise stations designed specifically for senior citizens. “The path really ties the park together,” said James Tolbert, facilities director. “Places like this are where people actually meet people. This is where families and com-

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

‘The path really ties the park together.’ James Tolbert Facilities director munities are built.” Henson said Dawson County wants to “continue to sustain this park and continue to see it grow and prosper.” The park is located at 186 Recreation Road off Hwy. 9 North.

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


Federal funds boost broadband By Frank Reddy

Windstream Corporation is slated to receive $13 million in federal funding for broadband development projects. Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the projects are designed to bring highspeed Internet access to unserved homes and businesses in rural communities. Announced by the Georgia office of the governor on Aug. 4, Windstream will receive $6.9 million, which will be matched by $2.3 million in outside capital. The second award of $5.1 million will be matched with $1.7 million from Windstream to provide broadband services as well. Charlie Auvermann with the Development Authority of Dawson County said the authority is “thrilled. “It can ultimately bring more broadband capacity to businesses that are

home-owned,” he said. “Any capacity increases we can get, whether it’s through the North Georgia Network or through Windstream, it benefits Dawson County.” Announcements made in the past six months regarding the North Georgia Network “run in parallel” with the recent news for Windstream, Auvermann said. The North Georgia Network is an initiative by the Economic Development Authorities of Dawson, Habersham, Lumpkin, Union and White Counties to stimulate economic growth by improving the broadband infrastructure in the North Georgia region. In a statement released Aug. 4, Gov. Sonny Perdue said broadband access “is vital in the 21st century. We firmly believe with the right resources the communities that will benefit from this grant can compete with any other community in the world.”

Raffle boasts $10,000 prize By Frank Reddy

Feeling lucky? Those interested in taking a gamble on a $10,000 cash prize can buy a ticket for the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce reverse raffle drawing party Sept. 30. Tickets are available at the chamber office or through one of its board members. Chamber President Linda Williams said there are still plenty of tickets left at $100 each. In total, 350 tickets will be sold for the drawing, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Lakeview Center. Williams said everyone’s “got a good chance to win” at the event.

She said every 25th number that’s drawn wins a door prize with “the value of at least $100, so there’s good odds of winning something nice.” For many, Williams said, the party itself is worth buying the ticket. “There are some people who come just for the see who wins big,” she said. In addition, she said, “heavy hors d’oeuvres” and coffee and tea will be served. There will also be a cash bar available at the event. Proceeds from the raffle support many chamber activities and initiatives throughout the year. For more information on the chamber’s reverse raffle, call (706) 2656278.

‘I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to serving the citizens of Dawson County.’ Justin Power Clerk of courts

Justin Power enjoys cake after the swearing in ceremony Aug. 16 at the Dawson County Courthouse. File photo

Power sworn in as clerk By Frank Reddy

It was a “proud day” for the family and friends of Justin Power, who showed up Aug. 16 at the Dawson County courthouse. During a ceremony, Justin Power was sworn in as the new Dawson County clerk of courts. Probate Judge Jennifer Burt led Power through the oath of office, while dozens of friends, family and officials listened. “We’re all very excited about having Justin as our new clerk of courts, and we’d like to welcome him aboard,” Burt said. Following the ceremony, Power said he was honored. “This is something that’s very important for me,” he said. “I’m looking forward to this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to serving the

citizens of Dawson County.” Those in attendance at the ceremony gathered afterward for cake and punch. Father, George Power, congratulated his son. “I’m very proud of him today,” he said. “His whole family’s proud today.” In the Aug. 10 runoff election, Power received 1,925 votes or about 55 percent of the vote. His opponent, Gaye Cantrell, got 1,575 or about 45 percent. Power and Cantrell were the two top vote-getters in the July 20 special election to succeed former Clerk of Courts Becky McCord. The contest featured 10 candidates. Power, 28, is a local real estate agent. He said he’s anxious to get to work. His first day officially as the clerk of court was Aug. 17.



Donated Kias rev up tech programs By Carolyn Crist DCN regional staff

Automotive technology students at Lanier Technical College and North Georgia Technical College will see a substantial addition to their classes this fall - a new Kia Sorento. Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia donated 20 new cars to the Technical College System of Georgia recently, and college presidents received a “key to the future” to jump-start the relationship between Kia and college students. “There’s a lot of interest in our program, and we’re actually doing an expansion to add onto that building,” said Lanier Tech President Russell Vandiver. “This really fell into place and will allow us to expand the capabilities of the

program.” Kia first announced it would build an automotive manufacturing facility in Georgia in 2006, and the Kia Georgia Training Center opened its doors in 2008. Technical college presidents toured the Kia plant in West Point when they received the keys to the cars. “I’ve seen a lot of manufacturing plants, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Vandiver said. “I saw sheet metal go in one end of the building and a car come out of the other end. Their processes are so good it makes the facility look small.” The donation will help technical college students grasp new technology available in cars. “We can’t go out and get new vehicles with all the bells and whistles to really work on them. You’re talking a lot of

money there,” Vandiver said. “This gives the opportunity to teach maintenance in a way we wouldn’t be able to do.” The Lanier Tech automotive technology training program, featured at the Dawson County campus, has seen an increase in enrollment during the past few years as the demand for local auto services went up locally. “Our automotive program includes theory and practical application of service and repair of all vehicles sold in the United States,” said Chris Cooper, automotive technology instructor. “The addition of the Kia Sorento will further enhance our training abilities by providing the latest year model for student diagnostic and troubleshooting routines.” North Georgia Tech’s automotive technology program emphasizes hands-on training

in electrical, fuel, ignition and emission systems. Students assemble motor parts in the classroom, and advanced classes feature diagnosis and various problem-solving scenarios. “We’re really excited about it. It’s been at least nine or 10 years since we’ve received a new vehicle from manufacturers with the way the economy is,” said Kevin McCurry, one of the automotive technology instructors. “We have a good fleet of vehicles, but this is a great addition with the latest and greatest technology to use in lab demonstrations.” McCurry hopes to use the vehicle soon to teach brake systems but said he needs to learn the technology first. “In all reality, this is the latest vehicle on the road by Kia, so we need to get up to speed on the car before we

transfer it to the students,” he said with a laugh. “Basic technology is the same, though, so we can start using it for that.” McCurry is looking forward to the diversity the Sorento will add to the collection. Most graduates in the program work in independent garages, where local residents bring many types of cars. With a downturned economy, people are also seeking more repairs rather than buying new cars, he said. “Diversity is important, and I speak from experience. I went to a General Motors school and worked on GM for 10 years, and that can be an advantage but also a handicap,” he said. “The more makes and models we can expose the students to, the better it will be for them in the field.”

Car park developer speaking at luncheon By Frank Reddy

During the Sept. 9 chamber luncheon, Developer Jeremy Porter said he plans to talk about the progress and future of Atlanta Motorsports Park in western Dawson County. Porter, who is the developer of an underconstruction country club for car enthusiasts, said he’ll talk about “what we are, what we’re not, how many jobs have been created since we’ve come and how many local companies we’ve hired.” The monthly event, which is scheduled for noon Sept. 9 at the Lakeview Center, gives guest speakers a chance to speak to hundreds of community leaders and officials.

The Atlanta Motorsports Park plan calls for about two miles of road course for twoand four-wheel vehicles. Other planned features include a members-only lounge, 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, pool and hiking trails. The park is currently involved in a lawsuit with the Hamryka Family, who are owners of a horse training business located directly across from the motorsports site on Duck Thurmond Road. The Hamrykas contend the city of Dawsonville violated zoning procedure when approving Porter’s rezoning request in April 2009. Porter calls the lawsuit “abusive and frivolous,” and is optimistic in moving forward with further construction of the park.

• Thank you to Greg of Greg Scott Construction for volunteer helpers and Calvin Byrd of North Georgia Trailer Center Inc. for providing a truck for the move to our new building. • Thank you to United Community Bank for furnishing our new visitor area. • Don’t forget to buy your ticket for the Reverse Raffle. For more information, call (706) 265-6278. • Shop chamber members first. • Shopping local keeps sales tax dollars working for you. • Are you certified Work Ready? Please let the chamber know when you have a special event. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 7


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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

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Principal picked for leadership class By Frank Reddy

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Three-year-old Angelique Frankland enjoys the new play cottage at the Dawson County Library. The child-sized house was added to the children’s department recently in honor of late librarian Betty Bean.

Cottage honors librarian By Frank Reddy

Staff at the Dawson County Library have honored the work of a late children’s librarian by adding something fun for the kids at the local branch. Dollars raised through a memorial fund allowed the library to purchase a play cottage in memory of Betty Bean, a longtime librarian who worked in the children’s section. Bean worked at the Dawson County Library from 1996-2006. On April 19, 2010, she died at the age of 85. Jackie George, a librarian who worked with Bean, said she was “a wonderful, wonderful lady and storyteller. The children loved her.” George said the cottage was a fitting memorial to Bean.

“The fact that the children love it ... she loved to be around children, and she would want them to be happy,” George said. Branch Manager Stacey Leonhardt said Bean the children, indeed, love the new cottage. “It’s been quite popular,” Leonhardt said. “We have parents who have a hard time getting their kids away from the cottage. They don’t want to leave the library.” Library staff also added a hop-scotch board and books to the children’s area with the $500 raised through the memorial fund. For more information about the Dawson County Library, call (706) 3443690, or visit

Dawson County High School’s principal has been selected to take part in a statewide program that promotes leadership in school administrators. Principal Jute Wilson was nominated among 29 other principals in the state of Georgia, who will attend the eight day-long program in September. According to Allene Magill, executive director, the Professional Association of Georgia Educators is intended to “deepen principals’ knowledge, capability and confidence to lead change on behalf of students across the state.” Wilson said the program is “a first class operation. I am looking forward to meeting with principals around the state to discuss methods to keep moving our school forward.” The sessions are provided at no cost to the principal or school district. The network will be led by two national experts from the Schlechty Center, a nonprofit organization “committed to partnering with school leaders across the country to transform their classrooms, schools and school districts to places focused on compliance.” According to its Web site, PAGE is the state’s largest organization for

August totals Telephone referrals: 2,362 Walk-in visitors: 417

‘I am looking forward to meeting with principals around the state to discuss methods to keep moving our school forward.’ Jute Wilson Principal professional educators, including more than 80,000 teachers, administrators and support personnel “providing professional learning to enhance competence and confidence, build leadership and increase student achievement.” For more information, visit

Timothy A.Annis,D.C.

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

(706) 216-4875 | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 11


Aflac welcomes associate By Michele Hester

Sharon Reagan and Wayne Chelf know the importance of networking during chamber of commerce functions. The pair met at the chamber’s July Business After Hours held at the Dawson County Arts Center, and within weeks Chelf had joined Reagan’s Aflac Insurance team of associates. “What we do is such a needed industry,” Reagan said. “It’s such a needed service and bringing Wayne on, he’s got different resources, he’s got different connections than I do, so it’s just going to make our team and Aflac grow.” Aflac offers supplemental insurance with policies covering accidents, disability, dental work, specified health events, hospital confinement, hospital intensive care,

vision and cancer. Chelf joined the Aflac team Aug. 1 after retiring as an education administrator. “One of the things that always concerned me the whole 15 years in Georgia with education is the way major med is handled in school systems is so confusing — so impersonal and becoming more so each day. You’ve got to rely on nothing more than a computer,” he said. “Having decided to leave that field, I’ve still got an affinity for trying to take care of and help those people.” Chelf describes his style as more of a consultant than an insurance salesman. “Anybody that deals with me will find out I’m not a hard sale,” he said. “But I do think I’m a pretty good consultant and want to help individuals. It’s a win-win all the way around.” Chelf can be reached at (706) 265-1262.

Thank You Chamber Building Fund Sponsors

NEW MEMBERS North Georgia Premium Car Wash Caroline Black (706) 216-3094 804 Hwy. 400 South Dawsonville, GA 30534 Category: Car Wash

smHeart Card Dave Young (770) 889-4040 7830 Silversmith Court Cumming, GA 30028 Category: Promotional

Mountain Air of Dahlonega, LLC Randy Flake (706) 864-6224 P.O. Box 1535 Dahlonega, GA 30533 Category: Heating and Air

Dawson County Work Ready Community Linda Williams (706) 265-6278 P.O. Box 299 Dawsonville, GA 30534 Category: Non-Profit

International Stop Smoking & Weight Loss of N. GA Larry Levin (706) 344-1416 137 Prominence Court Dawsonville, GA 30534 larr11@bellsouthnet Category: Services

Amicalola Deer Park Sean Smith (706) 265-3484 51 Smith Circle Dawsonville, GA 30534 Category: Animal refuge

AUGUST MEMBER RENEWALS Special thanks to the following members that renewed memberships in August: Adolphsen Enterprises Inc. Dawson Learning Center Richard S. Bergen Jr. Scrubs-N-things

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Diane Lemley named ambassador of month ‘I decided I wanted to be more active and meet more people and do something for the county.’

By Michele Hester

After just a short time in the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Program, Diane Lemley has been recognized for her volunteerism with the group. Lemley was named Ambassador of the Month Sept. 1 during the group’s monthly meeting at the Dawsonville Comfort Inn. She attended several chamber events, where she volunteered to register guests, during the month of August. She also participated in the group’s Buddy Challenge by inviting a business associate to the chamber’s business after hours event and then introducing the individual to other chamber members at the event. Having attended chamber events prior to joining the Ambassador Program, Lemley said she wanted to be more

Diane Lemley Volunteer

involved in the community. “I decided I wanted to be more active and meet more people and do something for the county,” she said. Lemley and her husband Larry have been a part of Dawson County since the mid-1970s, initially owning a second home in

the area. The couple moved to Dawsonville full time in 2002. The ambassador’s next meeting is at 8 a.m. Oct. 6 at Comfort Inn on Beartooth Parkway, Dawsonville. For more information, call (706) 265-6278.

CHAMBER MEMBER TESTIMONIAL “I posted job openings on the chamber Web site for Amicalola Falls Lodge when I was the human resources director [at the lodge]. I retired early but it only lasted for about seven months. I checked out the chamber Web site for job postings and saw that the chamber was hiring. I applied for the position, Linda Williams hired me and I have been at the chamber for seven years now. I love my job and all our members. It is the greatest place to work and I hope to stay here until I retire again. Hopefully, it won’t be for a very long time.”


Blessings we have and take advantage of each day’s special moments. I sure do miss those bear hugs he would give and his special way of letting you know that everything is going to be all right ... because the truth of the matter is, it is going to be alright. Changing gears and getting back to the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, recently I had the opportunity to spend some time with another Dawson County favorite, Dwight Gilleland. If you have not had a chance to go by and see him at the Dawsonville True Value Hardware, you should make a point to. If he doesn’t have it, he will get it. ‘I sure do miss While visiting with Gilleland, I found out that he was instrumental in the for- those bear hugs mation of the Dawson he would give County Chamber of Commerce many years ago. and his special When asked “Why start up a Dawson County Chamber way of letting of Commerce?” he simply you know that said: “To help create an emphasis to shop local.” So in our theme this year of get- everything is ting back to basics, let’s all going to be all remember to shop local. As part of the emphasis to right.’ shop local, visit the Web site There is so much on the Web site to help create an awareness of your business. The Web site gets about 60,000 hits per month. We have a section where chamber members can spotlight ‘Hot Deals.’ If you have a special you want Dawson County and the world to know about, you can place it there. Also, as a chamber member you can have your business Web site linked in from the member directory section. This is just part of what the Chamber does in an effort to help try to create more revenue for your business. Please let us know if you have a concern or if you would like for us to bring some light to a particular subject. Collectively, we may accomplish much as we strive toward our goal of making Dawsonville and Dawson County the preferred locations for businesses and families. If quality jobs and quality of life are as important to you as it is to us, please help by getting involved with your Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. We welcome you. Mike Underwood Chairman | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 13


Varsity announces plans for restaurant in Dawson County By Michele Hester

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Kara Hewatt, of United Community Bank, draws a name for the chamber’s monthly cash prize drawing that is now at $500 for the September event, after representatives from Northeast Georgia Medical Center were not present when they were called.

BAH at medical center By Michele Hester

A new family practice physician has opened an office in Dawson County and welcomed members of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce to check out the new medical center Aug. 24. Dawson Family Practice played host to the chamber’s monthly business after hours event and has now agreed to serve as the chamber’s top sponsor for the group’s annual business expo next month. “We’re glad to be a a part of the chamber,” said Dr. Rhamzi Ghosn as he showcased the new family practice office, located on Lumpkin Campground Road. A graduate of the

American University of Beirut, Ghosn is a board certified family physician who completed his residency at the St. Josephs Hospital Health Center in New York. As a family physician, Ghosn can diagnose and treat the full range of problems and all ages, ranging from infants to geriatric patients. Dawson Family Physicians is open Monday through Saturday, hours vary. For more information, call (706) 265-8439. The chamber’s next business after hours event will be held from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Ga. 400 branch of Chestatee State Bank. The chamber would like to thank the members who donated door prizes for last

month’s after hours event. The chamber would also like to thank the following cash prize drawing sponsors for their monthly monetary contributions: James AskewUnited Community Bank, Sharon Reagan-Aflac, Barbara, Ann Grizzle-Van Keith Insurance, Larry Anderson-Anderson Family Medicine and Kristie Myers-The Norton Agency. The chamber’s cash prize is now at $500 for the September event, after representatives from Northeast Georgia Medical Center were not present when they were called as last month’s winner. Remember, you must be present to take home the cash prize.

By Christmas, the words “What’ll ya have” will be ringing in Dawson County. The world-renowned Varsity announced plans last month to open a Jr. Varsity location along Ga. 400. Vice President John Browne said he was “very excited to get the process started.” The Varsity has owned about 2 acres on Ga. 400 north of Applebees, between Auto Zone and The Outside World, for about four years. Browne said contractors are ready to break ground as soon as the permitting is in place. Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, said his office has been working with an architect with the Varsity for several months. “In this location they’ll be bringing a new version while maintaining the Varsity Jr. look with a new style and a new floor plan,” Auvermann said. The official announcement to open the Dawsonville location came at the heels of the City of Atlanta placing restrictions on plans to remodel the Varsity Jr. on Lindbergh Drive. According to a letter to customers on The Varsity’s Web site, an agreement could not be reached with the City of Atlanta. The Lindbergh location, which had been around for 45 years and was a favorite of northside Atlantans, closed on Aug. 22. Commission Chair Mike Berg said he’s sure The Varsity’s world-famous

“Naked Dogs” and signature “Varsity Orange” will soon become favorites in Dawson County. “We’re extremely happy they’d pick our county,” he said. Browne said he was not sure how many jobs the new restaurant would bring to the county. “We will be hiring locally...a wide range of employees,” he said. Linda Williams, president of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce, said the Varsity’s willingness and desire to hire locally is “an excellent sign for a business. We look forward to them becoming ingrained in our community and encouraging their employees to be involved,” she said. According to Auvermann, the popular restaurant will be a major attraction for shoppers and will draw customers from the entire region. “The Varsity is not just an Atlanta icon, it is a Georgia tradition,” he said. “They know a thing or two about running a successful business. Maybe this move will get some of the other companies we have been talking with off the fence about opening in Dawson County.” Kaufmann Tire is currently under construction at the intersection of Ga. 400 and Beartooth Parkway. Grading along Ga. 400, just south of John Megel Chevrolet, is expected to make room for a Race Track convenience store and gas station. “Hopefully, this will be a jump start for others,” Williams said.



Reserve space for biz expo By Michele Hester

Frank Reddy Dawson Community News

Newly opened North Georgia Outfitters offers hunting, fishing and horseback riding gear. The business also offers guided outdoor tours.

One stop shop for outdoor fun From staff reports

North Georgia Outfitters in downtown Dawsonville held its ribbon cutting ceremony this month. Longtime residents Greg Gordon and Leland Thurmond founded the outdoor store with a focus on hunting, fishing, horseback riding and other activities. According to its Web site, Gordon and Thurmond “grew up playing their back yard in the beautiful North Georgia mountains. “They are well known locally for their passion for outdoor fun and adventure ... their passion inspired them to create North Georgia Outfitters.” Located on the square in downtown Dawsonville, the store also features a shooting range with certified techni-

Limited space is still available to reserve a booth at the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce 10th Annual Business Expo. Chamber members are invited to showcase their business and products from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 at the Lakeview Center, located at 2057 Dawson Forest Road, Dawsonville. The event, which also gives chamber members a networking opportunity, is free to the public and offers about 70 businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to hundreds of potential customers. As in year’s past, a variety of local restaurants and caterers will be on hand with samples of their delicious specialties. “It’s so important to shop locally. It

fuels the local economy,” said Linda Williams, president of the chamber. This year’s main sponsor is Dawson Family Physicians, a new family practice medical center located on Lumpkin Campground Road. Williams called the event a mini trade show of Dawson County. “With over 70 local businesses, you’re almost guaranteed to find several businesses you didn’t know were here in our county,” she said. Williams said the expo is a great way “to get your name and face out there.” “People like to do business with people they know,” she said. There will also be a number of door prizes drawn throughout the evening, and several grand prizes announced as the expo comes to a close. To register a booth or to learn more about the expo, call the chamber at (706) 265-6278.

‘They are well known locally for their passion for outdoor fun and adventure... .’ cians who assist customers with their archery needs. The business also organizes outdoor adventures including guided hunting, fishing, horseback trips, as well as kayak canoe and tube rentals for river outings. Reservations may be made online or by visiting the store. For more information, call (706) 265-0020 or visit

File photo

Rosalind Chambers, left, and Doris Cook try samples of the food available by local restaurants and caters at the chamber’s Business Expo last year. | DAWSON CHAMBER CHRONICLE | 15


They watch the pets while you’re away By Frank Reddy

Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Kayakers Jimmi Smith, left, and Richard Grove paddle to be the first out in the Dawson County Jaycees Inaugural Canoe and Kayak Race on the Etowah River Aug. 7. Smith won the solo kayak class with a time of just under an hour and a half in the 9.1 mile race.

Canoe, kayak race deemed a success By Michele Hester

A canoe and kayak race last month brought over 30 paddling enthusiasts to Dawson County for a day on the Etowah River. Sponsored by the Dawson County Jaycees, organizers said the inaugural event was a big success. “We learned our ropes this year and had a pretty good turn out without much advertising,” said David McKee. “And we met three professional kayakers who have agreed to help us out next year and can get 3040 participants each for us.” Proceeds from the race, which included participants of all ages, benefit the Dawson County Senior Center’s elevator fund. “I think everyone had a good time,”

McKee said. At just 9 years old, Katie Centofanti, who was the youngest solo competitor in the race, had fun paddling down the river with her dad and brother. While her tiny arms weren’t as fast as the others in her class, her competitors know she’ll be one to watch out for in next year’s race. McKee said the Jaycees hope to make the 9.1 mile race an annual event. Commissioner Gary Pichon, who was just moments away from winning his class, agreed the event was a success. “They had good food; the people were nice. Registration was easy, we got good T-shirts and a great river to paddle on,” he said. “I had a great time. I’m glad I came.”

Pet Watch Inc. has been serving residents of Dawson and Forsyth counties for 15 years. The business takes pride in “creating peace of mind for the client.” Owner Beth Fasnacht said the professional pet sitting service is the “first and only continuing pet sitting company in Forsyth and Dawson counties.” Staff of Pet Watch Inc. visit homes and take care of people’s pets when they’re on vacation or gone for the day. “We walk them, spend time with them, exercise them, feed them,” said Fasnacht, adding that staff members will also pick up the mail, newspaper and “check the home all over to make sure everything is OK, that everything

is secure.” The business also does daily dog walking. “We go out and walk people’s dogs for them when they’re working long hours,” she said. “A lot of people leave home at 5 or 6 in the morning and don’t get home until 5 or 6 at night, and we come mid-day and walk their dogs.” She said the business also does housesitting for people who don’t have pets. Fasnacht said all 25 pet sitters in the business have extensive background checks done before they are employed. They are also all trained in pet first aid and CPR. For more information about Pet Watch Inc., call (770) 887-7930 or visit

Workshop aims to help businesses reach customers From staff reports

Building relationships with current customers is key to growing business. A workshop scheduled on Sept. 23 is designed to help business owners and managers reach customers with professional e-mail communications that make their business look great. Join Pamela Adams, regional development director for Constant Contact, for a full day workshop designed to help business owners take advantage of the current “best practices” in planning, designing and sending e-mail campaigns. The event will be held at Cleveland United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall, located at 112 East Kytle St., Cleveland, Ga. Part one of the seminar will be a dis-

cussion on winning strategies for getting and keeping quality subscribers, increasing deliverability and open rates, how to avoid spam and how to use email marketing to build business and drive sales. Part two will be a a hands-on workshop that guides participants through the tools and features of Constant Contact. The seminar is free to all members of the Banks, Blairsville-Union, Dahlonega-Lumpkin, Dawson, Habersham, Hart, Toccoa-Stephens and White counties chambers of commerce. There will be a $10 fee for one seminar or $15 for both if you are not a chamber member. For more information or to register, call (706) 265-6278.



In these uncertain times, it is nice to know there are still some things you can count on close to home. At Chestatee State Bank we are still taking care of our customers and their businesses, just as we have been for over a decade. Come see us. DOWNTOWN MAIN BRANCH WE’RE LENDING MONEY. HOW CAN WE HELP YOU?

L-R: Jim Curry, Russell Hewatt, Wanda Smith, Adam Buice, and Philip Hester

L-R: Cheryl Hunsinger, Amanda Gibson, and Susan Bergstrom

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

(706) 216-2265

September 2010 Chamber Chronicle  

Official ponders future of forest