A HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PUBLICATION | YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS
HENRYCOUNTY.COM HAMPTON • LOCUST GROVE • MCDONOUGH • STOCKBRIDGE DECEMBER 2020
SHOPPING WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING MAIN STREET PROGRAMS RALLY COMMUNITY SUPPORT PAGE 6
MAIN STREET LOCUST GROVE, GA
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR LASTING MEMORIES OF 2020 PAGE 4
MAIN STREET PROGRAMS RALLY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES PAGE 6
CELEBRATING LOCAL EDUCATORS, SCHOOLS PAGE 14 HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
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MISSION STATEMENT: To serve as a voice for the business community, provide quality service and programs that meet the needs of members, improve the economic environment of the community, and create a legacy of leadership for the future.
DID YOU KNOW:
Following the CDC safety guidelines will help keep our schools and economy open. During this holiday season with coronavirus a real and constant threat, go one step further and shop small business and shop local. Visit the Chamber’s Directory at henrycounty.com for a list of Henry County small businesses in every category of products and services on your list.
VISIT TOGETHER4HENRY.COM FOR COVID-19 UPDATES
IN THIS ISSUE 4
Lasting Memories of 2020
There’s More to Offer and Celebrate by Looking Ahead
Main Street Programs Rally Community Support for Local Businesses
Welcome to new and renewing members
Happening in Henry
Visit Henry County, GA Launches Artisan Trail Ahead of Holiday Shopping Season
Celebrating Local Educators, Schools
The Henry County Chamber of Commerce Magazine is published by the Henry County Chamber in partnership with the Henry Herald. For editorial information contact Barbara Ingram, email@example.com. For advertising opportunities contact Mary Ann Holland, (770) 957-9161 x223, firstname.lastname@example.org. HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OUR CHAMBER… BELONG. ENGAGE. LEAD. PROSPER
CHRISTY CHEWNING Member Engagement Coordinator Central Georgia EMC 2020 Chair Henry County Board of Directors
LASTING MEMORIES OF 2020 Christmas Gift Suggestions “To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” — Oren Arnold Here we are closing out the year 2020. This year has been one that will last in our memories. In February, I took the office of Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce. We celebrated Henry County at the Georgia State Capitol in February. Then early March after our Women’s Summit, our world changed. COVID-19 closed our businesses for what we thought would be a two-week period. We began to speak of the new normal by May. Your Henry County Chamber of Commerce launched a website, Together4Henry.com to help you find COVID-19 related resources. Our Conventions and Visitors Bureau began a Help for Hospitality Food Drive. The programming for our membership switched to online sessions. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee brought us monthly community book club discussions. Each book was thoughtprovoking and changing for some and affirming for others. 4 | HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
The heart of the Chamber of Commerce volunteers and staff really shined through this season. Here we are in December; many of us are still working from home or limiting exposure to others to prevent the spread of this virus. While we are still facing challenges from this crisis, we do see hope on the horizon. Still, there has never been a better time to BELONG to the Henry County Chamber of Commerce. We have helped our members ENGAGE in new ways of conducting business. You chose to LEAD by making business decisions with resiliency in mind. As we move into the next year, Henry County will PROSPER by supporting one another. Thank you for supporting me and our Chamber of Commerce through 2020 and beyond. I will encourage you again to shop local this holiday season. Grace and Peace be with you all.
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE THERE’S MORE TO OFFER AND CELEBRATE BY LOOKING AHEAD I am sure I am not the only person who is fine-tuning budgets and plans for 2021. No; I haven’t waited until the last minute to work on them. It is just that as I look at the program of work ahead, I find new opportunities to expand how we support and empower our members and our community. Don’t get me wrong; it is intimidating. But it is also liberating. Wait. Hear me out. This year, individually and organizationally, we faced challenges. For a few hours, days, or even weeks, we JOSEPH HENNING scratched our heads and bemoaned the President & CEO need to change our ways and embrace Henry County Chamber this “new normal.” In March, when the of Commerce Chamber team began working from home, we thought it was going to be very short-lived. And then April came and went. And May did the same. Finally, June arrived, and we returned to the offices. But we have not returned to that business-as-usual that we saw in 2019. We embraced technology to stay connected with our members. We offered a virtual job fair. We engaged subjectmatter experts to provide guidance, tips, and support. We lead conversations on justice and equity and race relations. We started discussing how we take these services and expand on them in 2021. You know what? We realized we were looking forward; we weren’t going back. We let go of the comfort and security of that “normal.”
This is our opportunity to shake up that normal that brought us to this time. Wanting to go back does not benefit any of us. It weakens our mental state, and it weakens our organizations. I don’t know when we will return to in-person activities. And that’s okay. We know that our Annual Banquet and the Women’s EmPOWERment Summit will be virtual events. We have never tried to undertake such a large event in the virtual world. But I am confident this great team at the Chamber with the support of our strong volunteer leadership will celebrate their successes. I don’t want to return to the “way we’ve always done it” mentality. I believe that there is a great deal more for us to offer and celebrate by looking forward. I hope you will join us as we look forward to 2021. I am confident it will continue to strengthen our local economy. Join me in letting go of what we thought was normal. Let’s continue to support and encourage change and new opportunities. Have a wonderful (and safe) holiday season. I am looking forward to working with you in the year ahead.
MONDAY, JANUARY 25 • 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM Kicking off the Community Dialogue panel discussions in January 2021 is the book, “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man” by Emmanuel Acho. The book shines light on difficult and ultimately “uncomfortable” topics like “reverse racism”, white privilege, and being an ally, striking up much needed conversation. Join in on the discussion to help promote the understanding of racism and race relations.
Register now >>
Go to January 25 at henrycounty.com/events
Community Dialogue discussions began In June of 2020. The Henry County Chamber of of Commerce launched the monthly series of book discussions, centered around the topic of racial injustice and unrest throughout the nation. Each book had a panel discussion via Zoom and Facebook, featuring panelists from local businesses and leaders in the community. Thousands of people within the community tuned into these discussions, being able to give their input and have their voices heard. In preparation for 2021, the Chamber hosted a round-up discussion on November 23, 2020. Previous panel members were invited back to discuss changes they witnessed in the community, if any, and their thoughts on the path forward.
Community Dialogue Available On-Demand
To view previous Community Dialogue discussion broadcasts, check the Chamber’s Facebook Timeline @HenryCountyChamberofCommerce or our YouTube Channel. HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MAIN STREET PROGRAMS RALLY COMMUNITY SUPPORT FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES Main Street programs advocate a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment, and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets--distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership, and a sense of community. Henry County has four robust Main Street Programs, in the cities of McDonough, Locust Grove, Stockbridge and Hampton. The Chamber reached out to the city Main Street leadership to coordinate support for Shop Small, Shop Local efforts to support businesses during the holiday season.
CITY OF LOCUST GROVE
CITY OF MCDONOUGH
The City of Locust Grove kicked off the holiday season scheduling two virtual events, the annual Lighting of the Tree on Thanksgiving night and the introduction of a Christmas Carpool Cinema. The Christmas Carpool Cinema, a production of the Locust Grove Main Street Program, will take place on December 5 at Claude Gray Park, 99 Frances Ward Dr. in Locust Grove at 6:00 PM. Planning events that focus on helping Locust Grove businesses thrive is one of the primary functions of the city’s Main Street Program.
Moye’s Pharmacy is one of the Locust Grove businesses featured in the Main Street monthly newsletter showcasing holiday sales and promotions.
Anna Ogg has served as the Main Street Program Director for the City of Locust Grove for the past five years. In her role as Main Street Manager, Anna works with the Locust Grove Downtown Development Authority, Historic Preservation Commission, and Main Street Inc. non-profit organization to preserve, promote, and revitalize the city’s historic commercial core. Anna works closely with businesses and stakeholders throughout the City to promote all Locust Grove has to offer. In her role as Main Street Manager, she also coordinates most city-sponsored events.
Businesses in the City of McDonough are creating a hometown Christmas Experience in their appeal to the community to visit their establishments throughout the holiday season. Participating merchants and restaurants are vying for bragging rights to be the Best Decorated Business with votes tallied from December 1-22 at the McDonough Welcome Center. Winners will be announced via Facebook on January 5th for cash prizes for 1st, 2nd or 3rd place and the “People’s Choice” for best merchant’s display.” Cinderella Bennett, the Main Street Manager of the McDonough Welcome Center and CityWide Event Coordinator, leverages many tools to support the downtown McDonough business district. She recently served as a panelist on the Chamber’s November 5th Business Booster Luncheon webinar where she invited the local community to “Come #ShopSmall With Us” in the McDonough business district.
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Contact: Jennifer Siebenaler 36 Mill Rd., McDonough, GA 30253 (770) 898-2420
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CITY OF STOCKBRIDGE
The Stockbridge Main Street Program began promoting Shop Small in Stockbridge early in the holiday season featuring inviting videos of small businesses in the city on their Facebook page. In addition, before Thanksgiving, an informative webinar entitled “Maximizing Sales, Dining, and Shopping During a Socially Distant Holiday Season” broadcast live giving tips on how to increase sales and welcome more customers for in-store shopping during the coronavirus pandemic.
CITY OF HAMPTON
The annual lighting of the Christmas Tree on November 26 signaled the beginning of the holiday season in the City of Hampton. The Hampton Main Street Program promoted the event alongside the push for community support of Hampton businesses through its annual Shop Small Saturday showcase of downtown businesses on November 28. This month, the Hampton Main Street Program encourages everyone to attend its annual Christmas Parade scheduled on December 5 at 5:30 PM. Pre-parade events include Cookies with Mrs. Claus and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the City of Hampton Christmas Tree.
The Shop Small theme is carried throughout December through a partnership with the Georgia Small Business Development Center offering free classes targeting the needs of small business and entrepreneurs. Kira Harris-Braggs brings more than 25 years of community building, economic development, project management, public affairs, and public information experience to the Stockbridge Main Street Program. In her position with the City of Stockbridge, Kira oversees management of the Stockbridge Main Street Program and implementation of the four National Main Street programmatic thrusts (design, economic restructuring, promotion, and organization), while also providing administrative support to the Main Street Advisory Board. In addition, she serves as the liaison between city government, downtown business owners, and the community, regarding Main Street initiatives.
The City of Hampton welcomed Kenda Woodard-Amin as their new Main Street Manager in March of 2020. Kenda brings more than 25 years of strategic event planning to the position. She uses her wealth of experience drawn from working closely with local merchant associations, downtown development authorities, local historic preservation commissions, downtown business owners and elected officials, to help keep the downtown business community front and center. Kenda is currently enrolled in the Main Street America Institute pursuing her Main Street America Revitalization Professional (MSARP) credentials.
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Henry County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Proudly Serving Henry County
Publication of HenryCounty.com is made possible in part by the support of the Board Members of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce.
2020 BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Christy Chewning, Chair, Central Georgia EMC Lincoln Parks, Chair-elect, Web Mobile Fusion Sharon Ponder, Immediate Past Chair, Bennett International Group Shaun Mock, Secretary/Treasurer, Snapping Shoals EMC Laura Turner, CVB Chair, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Dr. Elna Poulard, Vice Chair for Government and Education, Family Support Circle Morrelle McCrary, Vice Chair for Economic and Community Development, RAM-Tech PC Solutions Steve Nail, Vice Chair for Chamber Development, Nail Heating & Air Conditioning Joseph Henning, President & CEO
CLASS OF 2020 Scott Mahone, Mercer University Kedon Williams, Southern States, LLC Kerry Arnold, Heritage Bank Sharon Ponder, Bennett International Group Steve Nail, Nail Heating & Air Conditioning CLASS OF 2021 Carolyn Wright Fraser, Edward Jones Financial Adviser Morrelle McCrary, RAM-Tech PC Solutions Christy Chewning, Central Georgia EMC Dr. Elna Poulard, Family Support Circle Kevin Demmitt, Clayton State University Thomas Williams, Kaiser Permanente CLASS OF 2022 Brent Huckaby, BB&T Lincoln Parks, Web Mobile Fusion Kena Ceasar, Ameris Bank Maggy Martinez, Starbound PR Firm
Lydia Pierre, Pierre Branding Group Rosa Marroquin, Georgia Power CHAIR APPOINTEES Laura Turner, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Dr. Murray Williams, Southern Crescent Technical College
Mayor Steve Hutchison, City of Hampton Mayor Billy Copeland, City of McDonough Mayor Anthony Ford, City of Stockbridge Chair June Wood, Henry County Board of Commissioners Josh Fenn, Henry County Development Authority Dr. Lily Henson, Henry County Hospital Authority
Shaun Mock, Snapping Shoals EMC EX OFFICIO MEMBERS Dr. Mary Elizabeth Davis, Henry County Schools Superintendent Scott Harrison, Henry County Water Authority Amy Kuhns, Leadership Henry Chair Don Dunlap, Youth Leadership Henry Chair Mayor Robert Price, City of Locust Grove
CHAMBER STAFF Joseph Henning, President & CEO Barbara Ingram, Director of Communications Gary Sparrow, Director of Membership Phyllis Reeves, Office Manager CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU STAFF Laura Luker, Director of Tourism Aisha White, Digital Content Manager Janna Szeto, Partner Relations Manager
HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
MEMBER NEWS STOCKBRIDGE CARES GRANTS ASSIST SMALL BUSINESSES Last month, we announced the partnership between the City of Stockbridge and the Henry County Chamber of Commerce to administer the Stockbridge CARES Grant program. “This fund is specifically meant to target small businesses and not-for-profit organizations to reimburse them for expenses incurred due to COVID -19,” explains Joseph B. Henning, Chamber president and CEO. “In partnership with the City,” Henning continues, “the Henry County Chamber of Commerce will be accepting, reviewing, and recommending submitted applications from businesses licensed in Stockbridge.” The Stockbridge CARES Grant will provide grants up to $10,000 to eligible small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Grant funding can be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses incurred by the business between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. To receive grant funding, the applicant must: • Be an eligible for-profit business or not-for-profit organization licensed in the City of Stockbridge, Georgia; • Have 20 or fewer employees; • Be in an industry that has been affected by the COVID-19 emergency;
IT’S HAPPENING IN HENRY December 2020
Yule Forest Christmas Tree Farm Pick from pre-cut trees or choose and cut your own. www.yuleforest.com 3565 Hwy. 155 N, Stockbridge, 770-954-9356 A Farmstead Christmas at Southern Belle Farm Come to the farm for our Christmas in the Country celebrations! While you are here, visit with Santa for FREE! Bring your family to experience all the activities we have available during our Christmas season. Nothing says Christmas quite like Mimi’s homemade cakes, donuts, and sweets! Visit www.southernbellefarm.com/christmas for hours of operation.
Jingle Ring Virtual Santa Thru December 26 at Tanger Outlet Center in Locust Grove Live from the North Pole, it’s Santa and Mrs. Claus, ready to spread virtual holiday magic with you and your family from all over the globe! Visit www. tangeroutlet.com/locustgrove/events/december for details and to schedule your visit with Santa. Hats for Hope – You are Good Thru December 31 at Tanger Outlet Center in Locust Grove ‘Tis the Season for Giving! Now through December 31st, buy a Goodness Gives Beanie at Shopper Services for $15 to help those in need. Together with Delivering Good, Tanger will donate all proceeds as well as clothing and more to 1,000 families recovering from poverty. The national charity, Delivering Good helps families and individuals facing poverty, homelessness and job loss. A Hometown Christmas Experience Thru December 31, Downtown McDonough Square A Celebration for the Season! Come visit our lovely Downtown McDonough Square and vote for your favorite display. The Theme for the decorations will be a variety of styles and décor of what the holiday means to you. Merchant windows will be at their finest with decorations for all to enjoy.
10 | HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
• Demonstrate the incurred income loss because of the COVID-19 emergency; and • Demonstrate the need for working capital for eligible expenses (see below for eligible expenses). Grant funds must be used for expenditures incurred by the eligible applicant between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020 that meet the following criteria: • Necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to COVID-19 (such as resulting from employment or business interruptions due to COVID-19); • Used for its working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or costs incurred by the business that are related to reopening the eligible business. “Recently,” Henning adds, “the City oversight committee approved the removal of the prior PPP qualifier which has allowed more Stockbridge employers to apply.” “In addition, based on City Council’s expressed desired,” he concludes, “We are identifying and working with some local organizations to support the residents of Stockbridge with rental assistance and utility needs. We look forward to announcing those opportunities soon.” Questions regarding the Stockbridge CARES Act Grant may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Funds will be available and approved on a first come basis. For more information and access to the application, visit:
www.henrycounty.com/news/ Santa & Mrs. Claus on the McDonough Square December 4, 5, 12 & 19 Visit www.mcdonoughga.org for times. Henry County High Schools DRUMLINE BATTLE Virtual Gala December 4, 7:00 PM A Virtual Fundraiser for A Friend’s House. Show streaming live at www.AFriendsHouse.com Cookies with Mrs. Claus December 5, 3 PM – 5 PM, Historic Train Depot, Hampton Christmas at Home Parade December 5, 5:30 PM – 7 PM, Downtown Hampton Come join us for the Christmas at Home Parade, complete with Santa and his elves. Remember to bring your camera for pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, at the Christmas Tree, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. This year the parade will line up at Hampton First Baptist Church, 85 McDonough Street, Hampton, at 4:30 p.m.
This event is co-sponsored by the Hampton Business and Merchants Association and the City of Hampton. For more information, please contact Donna Walls at 770-289-2401. Christmas Carpool Cinema – The Polar Express December 5, 6 PM – 9 PM, Claude Grey Park (99 Frances Ward Dr. Locust Grove) www.visitlocustgrove.com 770-692-2320 Miracle Mission Hope House Christmas Toys Giveaway December 19, 466 Simpson St., McDonough Call to register to receive toys: 770-412-2950 Toy Drive through December 15. Donations are received on Thursdays, 10 AM – 2 PM. Contact Mr. Djery Princival or Mrs. Winifred Davis, 770-412-2940
MEMBER NEWS HENRY COUNTY SCHOOLS BOE APPOINTS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER During the September meeting of the Henry County Board of Education, the board members appointed Shanika Clay to serve as the next Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Henry County Schools. A licensed certified public accountant, Clay started her professional career with PricewaterhouseCoopers after completing her bachelor’s and master’s studies at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville. Clay joined the Henry County Schools team in July 2019
as the Financial Efficiency and Effectiveness Director. In this role, she was responsible for assessing and redesigning core processes of the financial services function. Clay will partner with the retiring CFO, Christy Willis, through the end of this year and assume leadership in January 2021. Clay shared, “I am humbled and excited to support the strategic imperatives of the Henry County Board of Education, while continuing to facilitate a stable and transparent financial environment.” Before joining Henry County Schools, Clay worked for General Electric as a Vice President of Data and Analytics, enabling finance, human resources and information technology communities.
THE HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WELCOMES NEW COUNTY LEADERSHIP On behalf of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and our more than 700 businesses and organizations, the Chamber welcomes the Henry County Board of Commissioners Chair-Elect Carlotta Harrell and Sheriff-Elect Reginald Scandrett in their new leadership positions. We look forward to aligning with them to achieve our common goals for the benefit of Henry County and its business community.
BOC Chair-Elect Carlotta Harrell Prepares for Swearing-in on December 16
Chair-Elect Carlotta Harrell assumes the leadership role of Henry County Board of Commissioners Chair on December 16. In preparing to take the helm, she has assembled a slate of transition team members to help her identify effective models of governing as she tackles challenges and changes in the areas of community policing, innovative economic development , and life improvements. Consistent with her background and experience, Chair-Elect Harrell is making public safety one of her key focus areas. “As someone who has served with both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as well as the Henry County Police Department, public safety is always front of mind for me,” said Harrell. “A primary focus will be strengthening the bonds of trust between the community and our officers.” Harrell, a small business owner and former law enforcement officer of 20 years, was elected with nearly 59% of the vote in last month’s general election.
For a complete list of the Chair-Elect Harrell’s transition team, visit: www.henrycounty.com/news.
Sheriff-Elect Reginald Scandrett Readies for December 17 Swearing-in
Career law enforcement officer and newly elected Henry County Sheriff, Reginald B. Scandrett, will be sworn in on December 17. Sheriff-Elect Scandrett retired in 2019 from the position of Chief Deputy of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office where he was responsible for managing all of the agency’s law enforcement operations, which included the DeKalb County Jail Division, Field Division, Court Division, Training Division, and Reserves Division. He brings a wealth of educational excellence, tactical expertise, and a broad portfolio of leadership success to his new position as the head of Henry County’s Sheriff’s Department. In his first speech after the election, Sheriff-Elect Scandrett said, “I’m excited to be the Sheriff for all. I was a democratic candidate, but I will certainly be a Henry County sheriff for all.” Scandrett is one of three first Black Sheriffs elected in the history of their counties in Georgia. The others are Craig Owens, Cobb County, and Keybo Taylor in Gwinnett County. “We think that this county will be a beacon of light for the 158 counties that are in Georgia. It’s time to make that happen. As we do that we think we can be a shining example for the State of Georgia. Let’s come together, Henry County. Let’s take the Henry County Sheriff’s Office to the next level.” HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
CHAMBER NEWS VISIT HENRY COUNTY, GA LAUNCHES ARTISAN TRAIL AHEAD OF HOLIDAY SHOPPING SEASON By Laura Luker, Director Henry County Conventions & Visitors Bureau There is a new resource for holiday gifts this year for those seeking custom creations while also supporting Henry County small businesses. Visit Henry County, GA rolled out a new artisan trail webpage in early November featuring local shops that offer Georgia-made, handcrafted goods. Whether website visitors are looking for locally baked desserts or barnwood candleholders, the new page offers a wealth of one-of-a-kind suggestions. “The idea for the trail was brought to us by the City of Stockbridge’s Main Street Program,” said Director of Tourism Laura Luker. “They recognized they had a number of artisan businesses within their city and worked with us to build a robust list encompassing many of our partner entities.” Visit Henry County, GA’s artisan trail ranges from local food and handmade items to experiences and accommodations that offer unique amenities and services. Visitors and residents alike can use the site to build an itinerary for a trip, or with the holiday season upon us, use it to plan thoughtful and curated
gifts for loved ones. Unique lodging, meals, gifts and snack ideas can all be found on one page. Being mindful of COVID-19 safety protocols does not mean you can’t shop local. Many of the small businesses featured also offer curbside pick-up, online ordering, gift cards and in some cases even private appointments so you can support these critical small businesses and observe CDC recommendations. Learn more about the Artisan Trail at VisitHenryCountyGeorgia.com. Unique holiday gifts and Georgia grown decorations are found along the Artisan Trail in Henry County. For locally handmade goods and items, Southern Belle Farms is one of the locations listed on the Artisan Trail.
The Henry County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) is a division of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce. The CVB’s mission is to inspire tourism by engaging partners and the community in order to build a sense of hospitality for Henry County visitors and stimulate economic development.
TAKING A NEW TACK By Don Dunlap, Chair Youth Leadership Henry With all the fall closures, our board was planning a later than usual start to our regular program days, beginning with a November 17 orientation session. The week before that event, a new surge of coronavirus infections prompted us to re-evaluate our program, due to new restrictions for visitors at many of our destination organizations and their duration forecast through the first half of 2021. Our board decided that we should cancel our regular slate of program days for the Class of 2021 after all. This does not mean that there is not still a Youth Leadership Henry Class of 2021! We will still be delivering many components of the program, albeit not during regular inperson program days. As you read this, the class is finishing their Clifton Strengths assessments of their individual top five leadership traits, and how to apply them as they develop their personal leadership style. We will be providing opportunities for them to put this to work in a variety of service and volunteer opportunities through the balance of the year. With an eye to their futures, we will be doing a survey of career 12 | HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
and volunteer interests to match up their interests with local practitioners in those industries/organizations. As we go into the spring, we will be finding other avenues to ensure that this class gets to learn those things about how our community works that have made previous classes into a deep bench of Henry County leaders for the past 24 years. To keep up with this year’s class and see previous classes, just “like” our Facebook page; and/or follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @YLHenry.
Due to the pandemic, experiences like this visit to learn about public safety operations by the YLH Class of 2020 are no longer an option. The YLH Class of 2021will gain the knowledge about Henry County using new and ingenious ways.
CHAMBER NEWS NO VIRTUAL BUSINESS BOOSTER LUNCHEON THIS MONTH Virtual Business Booster Luncheon will return in January 2021 To all of you, Happy Holidays and Best Wishes
VIRTUAL BUSINESS BOOSTER LUNCHEON – NOVEMBER RECAP Holiday Shoppers Encouraged to Shop Small – Shop Local to Support Local Economy
The Virtual Business Booster Luncheon that took place on November 5 was a great success! The meeting discussed ways to make “shop small, shop local” the new normal focused on helping our businesses survive a third coronavirus surge. While the official Small Business Saturday takes place on November 28, the Chamber assembled a panel of local small business champions to talk about how they were making environments safe as well as catering to customers who want curbside service or want to shop online. The panelists work year-round supporting the businesses in their communities. Cinderella Bennett is the Main Street
Manager of McDonough and the Welcome Center Manager and Citywide Events Manager. She is promoting the downtown businesses using many levers within her purview. Laura Luker, Director of Tourism for the Henry County Convention & Visitors Bureau, announced the Artisan Trail, which shows off the local businesses that create handcrafted, one-of-a-kind goods. Holly Duffey, General Manager at Tanger Outlets Locust Grove, spoke about the many promotions supporting every single store in their outlet. Joseph Henning, President & CEO of the Henry County Chamber of Commerce which is committed to offering numerous programs and resources to all businesses, served as the moderator, and emphasized the importance of spending money locally! “Helping local businesses during this difficult time not only affects the people running it but also can have positive impact on the entire community,” said Henning.
Henry County Tax Commissioner’s Office
140 Henry Parkway • McDonough, GA 30253
Michael Harris Tax Commissioner
Holiday shopping along Henry County’s Artisan Trail will uncover unique handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items. Bring the family and pick from a variety of trees, fresh wreaths and garland for an unforgettable experience at Yule Forest located at 3565 Hwy. 155 N., in Stockbridge, GA.
(770) 288-8139 email@example.com • www.henrytc.org HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
CELEBRATING LOCAL EDUCATORS, SCHOOLS Class of 2020 Raises Bar with Graduation Rate Increase While it may have had the most unusual of endings, the Class of 2020 closed out last school year by pushing the Henry County Schools overall graduation rate to a new high of 88.8 percent. The latest rate is an increase of 1.8 percentage points when compared with the previous year. Additionally, the district graduation rate remains five percentage points above the state’s average of 83.8 and third-highest among the 10 largest districts in Georgia. Henry County is fortunate to have great educators committed to teaching individuals from pre-K through college, whether public or private. These professionals remain committed to our community’s future, even amid the challenges of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are just a few of the recent successes and celebrations we would like to acknowledge.
ACT Scores Improve Across the Board In Henry County Schools, seniors in the Class of 2020 did not let the national pandemic stop their progression on the ACT, one of the nation’s standardized tests used for college admissions. Overall, district scores increased in all subject areas as well as the composite score while also outpacing the national performance change from 2019 to 2020. As a district, Henry County Schools matched or outpaced the state change in four of the five reporting areas. The district composite score increased by 0.4 points, to 19.7, a greater level of growth than that seen by the state and at a time when the national average decreased. The latest student performance metrics were welcomed news for Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis and district leaders. “It is simply remarkable the accomplishments of our Class of 2020,” said Davis. “Our students and teachers worked extremely hard last year, and despite the way the year ended, these results reveal one of the great highlights of 2020. Our board and district are proud to recognize these achievements.” 14 | HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
“We could not be more proud of last year’s seniors and the incredible work they completed to be able to graduate during a global pandemic,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “Our teachers and staff are proud of their work and celebrate this milestone alongside them.”
Forsythe Named Teacher of the Year James Forsythe, an Exceptional Student Education teacher at Luella High School, was named the 2020 Teacher of the Year for Henry County Schools. Forsythe, a 12-year veteran teacher in Henry County Schools, was named a finalist during the evening event along with Melanie Kellam (McDonough Middle School) and Tabatha Wesley (Timber Ridge Elementary). “I’m thankful for the recognition as Teacher of the Year for Henry County Schools,” said Forsythe. “When you truly love what you do and dedicate yourself to doing your best, I believe everyone wins in the end.” Superintendent of Schools Mary Elizabeth Davis shared remarks with honorees and special guests, while the 2019 HCS Teacher of the Year, Janaé Cohen from Red Oak Elementary, shared reflections, and inspiration from her time as the district’s top teacher.
CHAMBER FEATURE “The teachers represented here carry the unique distinction of this recognition during one of the most challenging times in education,” said Davis. “The 52 teachers we celebrated can do anything, and we are fortunate to have them as a part of the Henry County Schools family. We are exceptionally proud of Mr. Forsythe and his impact on the young lives of his ESE students at Luella High School.”
HCS Announces Educational Support Personnel of the Year
Henry County Schools honored 61 of its Educational Support Personnel of the Year (ESPY) winners from all schools and departments across the district and named Annette Alexander the 2020 HCS Educational Support Personnel of the Year. Alexander got her start in Henry County Schools at McDonough Middle School as a substitute, quickly impressing and making an immediate impact in the lives of students and on the community. She eventually worked her way into a full-time position at the school. She was in shock upon hearing her name announced as the winner, and the Interrelated Paraprofessional shared her humbleness after the ceremony concluded. “I feel overjoyed,” said Alexander. “It’s an amazing feeling I can’t even explain anymore. Winning the first district ESPY means that now it is my turn to reach out and help others by giving back. I love serving the community.” The Educational Support Personnel of the Year recognition involves each school and department selecting their top support staff member at the conclusion of each school year, and those individuals are then eligible for the district’s award. A selection committee had the tough task of whittling the list down to just three finalists for this year’s overall winner. Alexander was a finalist along with Premlata Miller (Counselor of the Year – New Hope Elementary) and Nathalie Sealock (Union Grove High School) for the first-ever district award for the top support personnel.
“This year’s ESPY event was a perfect way to share our appreciation for the hard work and dedication that each one of our support staff and personnel members exhibits on a routine basis to support learning for all of our students,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “We truly have the best employees, and they deserve celebrations such as this for all they do.”
BOE, Chamber Board Proclaim Dec. 14 School Heroes Day On Nov. 9, the Board of Education proclaimed Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, as School Heroes Day in Henry County Schools. The Henry County Chamber Board followed with a similar proclamation on Nov. 18. “We have seen the amazing and selfless actions that our educators throughout the County have done this year,” explain Chamber President Joseph Henning. “Whether HCS educators, private school teachers, or college faculty, we want to join Henry County Schools in recognizing and supporting these key players in December 14, our County’s strength.”
SCHOOL HEROES DAY
Working with HCS staff, the Chamber is inviting (and encouraging) businesses, leaders, and residents to take a moment on Dec. 14 to spotlight local educators.
Here is a list of some things you can do: • Using provided chalk, write a message of gratitude on the sidewalks at local schools. • Send a thank-you note to your child’s teacher(s). • Drop some doughnuts (or other treats) off at the school. • Tie a purple ribbon around your mailbox or tree to show your support. • Wear purple on Dec. 14. • Wear a cape that day to acknowledge School Heroes Day. • Put a sign in your yard thanking teachers. • Arrive at the school early and applaud or honk your horn as the staff enters school that morning. • Share a story of a teacher that impacted you on social media with the hashtag #OurFutureStartsWithATeacher. • Follow the CDC guidelines for keeping our schools and communities safe during the coronavirus pandemic. HENRY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.henrycounty.com
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