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May. 21, 2019
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Changes coming to Lake Lanier Association

By Pamela A. Keene
 
The leadership of the Lake Lanier Association is changing in the coming months. Of course, it will continue to be Lake Lanier’s chief advocacy organization, and its signature programs and initiatives will be its focus.
 
Perhaps the biggest news is that long-time Executive Director Joanna Cloud will be leaving her position in mid-May to accept a new job at Marine Specialties Inc. She joined the association as executive director in 2010. 
 
“The board and membership has been incredibly supportive of the work we have accomplished in the past 10 years,” Cloud said. “The opportunity to begin a new chapter of my life presented itself with Marine Specialties and it’s time to make a change. I know the association will continue to grow and thrive under new leadership and I certainly will continue to support its goals and board.”
 
At the annual meeting in mid-April, Wilton Rooks announced the end of his two-year term as president. “The board will be voting on new leadership at our next board meeting this month (April) and adopting a revised organizational structure and bylaws,” Rooks said at the annual meeting. “The changes will streamline the organization and further solidify and clarify our work processes.” 
 
At the April board meeting, the following officers were elected: President, John Barker; VP Administration and Staff, Billy Powell; VP Marketing, Sheila Davis; VP Operations, Rich York; and VP Political Action, Mike Berg. 

Editor’s Note: Lakeside News will feature an in-depth article about Joanna Cloud and her service to the Lake Lanier Association in our June issue.

Lake Lanier Association’s annual meeting details lake’s economic impact
 
More than 400 people gathered at Aqualand Marina for this year’s annual meeting of the Lake Lanier Association in mid-April. The event, which has grown in attendance over the past six years, showcases the work of the 2,500-member group that has significantly raised its profile through public-facing initiatives. 
 
Following the afternoon’s vendor fair and “A Taste of Lake” restaurant samplings, Association President Wilton Rooks reported about the 53-year-old organization’s ongoing programs, including Abandoned Boats and Derelict Docks, Solar Lights, Shore Sweep and general advocacy for the lake.
 
The groups’ current initiatives include awareness for the 100-foot rule that requires boats slow to idle speed within 100 feet of other boats and stationary objects; ongoing maintenance of the nearly 300 solar lights installed by the association on the lake to help with night-time navigation; shoreline protection/rip-rap installation on five islands with permits for seven more; and Shore Sweep, set for September 14, 2019.
 
“As our signature initiative, Shore Sweep continues to be very successful,” Rooks said. “In the past 30 years, our volunteers have easily pulled more than 1,000 tons of trash, debris and garbage from the lake.” 
 
Funding for the group comes from main sources: 54 percent from personal memberships, with an increase in 2018 of nearly 350 new memberships; 25 percent from business memberships, with 21 new business signing on; and 21 percent from grants and other money. 
 
Again this year the Georgia General Assembly has earmarked a line item of $25,000 to be used through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to help remove abandoned docks and derelict boats. Those funds are typically matched by some of the counties adjacent to the lake.
 
The meeting’s keynote speaker, Georgia Representative Marc Morris of District 26, shared other achievements of this year’s Georgia General Assembly, particularly those related to the lake. He set the tone for his remarks with the tagline “three waters, one cannabis and one cop.”
 
The three water issues were related to HB 314, which requires titling of all vessels and passed both legislative bodies; and HR 51, which authorizes the formation of a commission between Georgia and Tennessee and Georgia and North Carolina to conduct a joint survey of the northern and eastern boundaries of Georgia that are shared with the other two states; and HB 49, the proposed inter-basin transfers of water resources within the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which had no committee hearing in the House of Representatives and therefore was not acted on. 
 
HB 324, which addressed the issue of growing and selling cannabis for medical purposes in Georgia, also passed, he reported. Morris shared a personal story about one of the youngsters who was often present at the Georgia general Assembly as the bill worked its way through the legislative process. 
HB 118 also passed, changing the punishment for making an unlawful request for emergency services from a misdemeanor to a felony if it results causes harm, serious bodily injury or death.
 
In his role with the Georgia General Assembly and various committees, Morris is also the incoming chair of the Lake Lanier Legislative Caucus.
 
Membership in the Lake Lanier Association is $50 per individual or family. For more information about the group, its projects and leadership, visit www.lakelanier.org or call 770 503-7757. 

 Lanier by the numbers
  • $300 million local economic impact annually
  • •1 million annual visitors according to the Corps of Engineers
  • 60 percent of Georgians rely on Lake Lanier for drinking water
  • 26,000 boats are registered as personal property (resulting in an additional $4.4 million in personal property taxes)
 
Posted online 4/29/19
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