Chamber of Commerce 73rd annual dinner

Published 3:34 pm Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors announced today that the 73rd Annual Dinner would be held on March 8th, 7 pm (reception at 6 pm) at the Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club. Valerie Roberson, chair of the Chamber stated “We are glad to be able to bring the dinner back after not holding it in 2021.” “We are looking forward to presenting the accomplishments of the Chamber in 2021 and recognizing several outstanding businesses and individuals,” stated Doug Dean, outgoing chair of the Chamber. Outgoing board members for 2021 are Melody Godfrey/Country Financial, Heath Hamilton/National Realty Company, Kathy Murdock/Kathy & Company Boutique & Eli Tinsley/Planters First Bank.

“We will follow “social distancing guidelines”, due to COVID, and will limit the number of chairs at each table and the number of tables in the rooms,” stated Monica Simmons, President “and it is advisable to purchase your tickets as soon as possible, due to limited seating. Tickets are $40 each and tables of 8 are $320. The deadline to purchase tickets is February 22nd.

As in the past, we will recognize outgoing board members, the Volunteer of the Year, the Exceedingly Excellent Teacher, and the incoming Board of Directors and Officers for 2022. We will also present awards to the small, medium, and large business of the year.

We will be accepting nominations for the Exceedingly Excellent Teacher, the small, medium, and large business of the year until Feb. 22nd.  You can find the nomination forms on the Chamber website, in our newsletter, or we can email or fax them to you.

The presenting sponsor for the dinner is Crisp Regional Health Services. Other sponsorship opportunities are available, please contact the Chamber for information.

For reservations or more information, call the Chamber 273-1668 or email us at

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Beal-Shephard tries to weather the storm over City HallBy Neil B. McGahee Managing Editor Cordele City Commissioner Vesta Beal-Shephard was elected in 2001 to represent the people of Ward One. By all accounts, she has done a very good job of relating to the citizens living in her ward. Recently, however, a dark cloud has settled over City Hall. From the first day of his term, newly-elected commission chairman Joshua Antwan Deriso began taking verbal snipes on social media at some of the other commissioners. Shephard says she just ignored it at first but on April 9, Deriso posted on Facebook “…It was much anticipated for Comm. Rainey to be against change. Comission (sp) Shephard fights against me the hardest…does not know much about government at all…She needs to be voted out next year 2023.” A few days later, he posted live saying …“I am totally over the games, the political stuff…a lot of people want to make what I said about Commissioner Shephard something about disagreement with Commissioner Shephard. It was her ignorance and short-sightedness…not able to understand what we can do as a government. “When there were people in charge that didn’t look like us…white people… she didn’t question anything. Since I became chairman, she has blocked everything…you don’t know what you are doing; you don’t know what you are talking about.” Shephard winces as she listens to Deriso. “I don’t do drama and I don’t do pettiness,” she said. “I refute everything he has said about me. I’m not angry with Josh; I am somewhat disturbed that he has targeted me, a citizen of Cordele; a black female…he accused me of loving white folks. Well I do love white folks, and brown folks and black folks — Haitian, Jamaican, Indian, Cuban, Mexican — I have no discrimination to anyone. My job is to facilitate for people in this ward and when I vote, I vote my conviction.” Shephard said she doesn’t know why Deriso has such hard feelings against her. “It’s so sad, I have to say that I never saw it coming,” she said. ”But I have to voice my opinion.” But one sad thing has evolved from this. “This is the first time I have been discriminated against by a fellow commissioner,” she said. “I used to invite people to my home if they had a problem. But I had to stop that. If you want to meet with me, we will have to go to a public area or to my office at city hall. I am going to keep my distance for the simple reason that I don’t want to endanger myself.