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Annual meeting caps a busy Chamber year
rigsby signs 1
Rigsby signs copy of his book ”Unthinkable” for guests at Thursday night’s annual Chamber meeting. - photo by Photo by Patrick Donahue

Effingham County Superintendent of Schools Rand Shearouse took the gavel from outgoing president Alice DeForest, beginning his tenure as president of the Effingham Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber’s annual meeting Thursday night.
Shearouse said he was grateful to serve as Chamber president.
“Because of you, our Chamber continues to be effective, visible and responsible in today’s changing economy,” he told members and their guests. “We believe in shopping locally and doing what we all can do to strengthen our economy.”
Shearouse also said the Chamber supports the county’s push to renew the special purpose local option sales tax.
“In the wake of changing markets, everyone has had to adapt and become more creative in their business,” he said. “Along with the challenges that face individual businesses and our Chamber members, we also acknowledge the same impact on local government, local and state agencies, non-profit groups and civic organizations.”
The Chamber is helping local businesses weather a turbulent economy, Shearouse noted, through workshops, networking and events such as the Small Business Summit.
“We believe that helping our members survive and succeed in this economic climate is a major priority,” he said. 
Also on tap are several new events, including an Oktoberfest this fall and the first of what is hoped to be an annual Taste of Effingham.
“We are also implementing a new marketing and events focus where we will be creating new events for the community to enjoy,” Shearouse said,
“in addition to adding a new tourism program. We are working with the county and our cities in building and marketing Effingham County to visitors from the region and beyond.”
Shearouse said the Chamber also will continue to work closely with the Effingham Industrial Development Authority and applauded the start of the Gateways project.
“This program will improve our community’s image and curb appeal,” he said. 
DeForest said it had been her honor and privilege to serve as Chamber president.
“We must not lose sight of our community’s history, traditions and values,” she said. “I truly believe that they make ours a community of choice.”