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Meetings can provide friends, food and facts
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I've probably been an "organizational" person most of my life.
Being more than seven years older than my only sibling, I relied on outside groups for much of my social life. In my little hometown, that meant church groups, school clubs and a junior woman's club. So going to meetings has been commonplace.

In my present situation, I find the same is true: I look forward to meetings rather than seeking to avoid them. It's nice to visit with seldom-seen friends, the food is usually delicious and my recent outings have resulted in some good news.

Although the Tree Preservation/Arbor Day event was not technically a meeting, it was great to chat with my old friend Ben Overstreet, whose family farm received this year's tree preservation award; they have been growing award-winning corn for decades, and they are also good conservationists.

The Rock Creek Park setting also served as a memorial tribute to good friend Dave Hinderliter, who had headed the county's tree preservation committee for years. And now there is "a quiet spot" with bench, tree and plaque to honor his many contributions to Dawson County.

The May meeting of the Dawson County Woman's Club featured Dr. Damon Gibbs, superintendent of the local school system.

He not only explained the rationale for and implementation of the new 6-7 grades middle school and 8-9 junior high, he was very optimistic about the system's ability to handle impending growth, giving much credit to former superintendents and boards of education for their forward-looking planning.

The growth to which Dr. Gibbs referred includes not only the two new shopping centers, but also two large housing developments, which will bring jobs, revenue, as well as an influx of new students.

He was also enthusiastic about some electronic innovations and the use of the new performing arts building.

Although that building required much more money than the Pauline Ivey estate's generous gift to the system for that purpose, the gift provided an excellent starting point.

So, I want to divert from my topic to express the gratitude of many to the late Mrs. Ivey and especially to Betty Ann Bagley, her administrator: Many good things have been provided from that estate.

One of those "good things" is the money given to the senior center, which will allow expanded services in a new building between the Center and the Bowen Pavilion.

That covered shelter was the scene of the retired educators' annual picnic, where there were again good friends, good food and new information.

Vickie Carlisle was installed as the new president, giving Lois Zangara and Nicky Gilleland a rest.

There was discussion of a possible project in the community park in downtown Dawsonville, which I hope is already under development.

Another development with which I'm pleased (having nothing to do with my meetings) is the location for an expanded Good Shepherd Clinic.

It is an ideal place for a very worthy and much needed group, and a wonderful contribution by the Northeast Medical System.

I couldn't attend this year's Relay for Life event, but I am happy that it was a success. Thanks, Kris Rowan. And I'm glad that we can still contribute to its total at United Community Bank.

Now go enjoy the Community Chorale's concert of Broadway tunes. And watch for announcement of an interesting historical program on June 6.

In the midst of much disturbing news, isn't it encouraging to hear some optimistic facts!

Helen Taylor's column appears periodically in the Dawson County News.