LANSING — The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce held its annual meeting at the Timber Rivers Venue Tuesday, June 18, where members celebrated the work and accomplishments of the past year. The festivities included mingling, dinner, awards and Chamber announcements.

While guests talked and enjoyed food from a variety of Ashe County businesses, music was provided live by the Lucky Strikes. Eventually, the meeting transitioned to yearly business and honoring people in the community.

The meeting was the last Chamber event of Karen Powell’s time as chairwoman of the board of directors, with her one-year term ending that night. Powell said it had been a pleasure serving as the head of the board and was proud of the growth the Chamber accomplished in her time in the role.

“Our Chamber membership continues to grow, with 68 new members to join since this time last year, and we are now 450 members strong,” Powell wrote in her “Letter from the Chair” piece in the 2019 Annual Report. “The vibrancy and investment through new business start-ups ranging from retail, downtown loft accommodations and services are evident in towns and communities across the county.”

Replacing Powell is Andy Guion, part-owner of The Hotel Tavern restaurant, Chamber Tourism Committee Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Guion said he’s excited to serves as the board’s Chair and continue the work done by Powell and everyone else who came before him.

Up next for the evening were awards and honors for people in the community. Chamber Education Committee Chairwoman Joallen Lowder, presented scholarships to graduating seniors in Ashe County. The Chamber gave out $5,000 worth of scholarships to students this year, according to Lowder.

Powell honored WKSK owner and DJ Jan Cadell, saying that Cadell was a pillar of the community and a staple of the Ashe County airways. Cadell was unable to attend due to poor health, but his son, Graham Cadell, and daughter, Charlotte Thompson, were on-hand to thank the Chamber and speak on Jan Cadell’s behalf. Both spoke and thanked the Chamber for the honor and asked for those in attendance to keep Jan Cadell in their prayers.

The final presenter was Cameron Current, member of the Member Services Committee. Current presented awards to Ashe County Arts Council Executive Director Jane Lonon and Arts Council Board of Directors Chairman Ed Perzel. Lonon, who is retiring at the end of the month, was honored for her work in the community, while Perzel received his award on behalf of the Arts Council for its work in the community.

Last to speak was Guion, who gave words of encouragement to member businesses and the Chamber for their next financial year, before closing out the meeting.

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