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Resignations at Chamber of Commerce bring reorganization

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Three of the people largely involved with staging the Chamber of Commerce's biggest and perhaps most successful AppleFest ever have left the organization, raising issues for the organization to deal with.

President Lesley Lewis resigned on Oct. 14, less than two weeks following AppleFest, the biggest event of the year for the chamber.

Shortly after Lewis' departure, co-administrators Gretchen Atkinson and Lindy Palmer also tendered their resignations.

Since the departures, Bill Miller has been serving as acting chairman of the chamber board. Miller told the DCI in an email, "I will step down at the January chamber meeting or when a new president is elected. I will retain the position of treasurer if the [new] board so desires."

Two new office personnel have also been brought into the organization to perform administrative duties.

Lewis told the DCI that internal issues with the chamber's organization had contributed to her decision to step down at this time. She noted a lack of support for projects, particularly during the busy Apple-Fest season.

"I decided that my time would be better spent on projects that actually help my business and my family," she explained.

Lewis' tenure as board chair was characterized by her positive, high-energy personal style and direct approach to completing tasks and to solving problems. But as she explained, the chamber organization's close relationship with town government wasn't contributing to success. She noted, "I put my heart and soul into the chamber for the last several years. This AppleFest was a massive success - we made over $12,000, more than in years past, and had more vendors than ever before."

The Cedaredge Area Chamber of Commerce is closely linked with town government. When asked, Mayor Pat Means said, "I can tell you there was not [personal] opposition to Lesley. There were some issues where we felt the chamber wasn't on the mark."

Means cited some specific matters relating to communication and coordination including chamber website content. Means said she thought that town hall was "very supportive" of the chamber.

Lewis said, "I [worked] to make the chamber successful. But it was obvious that I could not do it alone."

Lewis said she will continue being involved in community activities. She is involved with the high school parents group and said she plans to work with an artists' co-op gallery planning to open in Cedaredge.

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Surface Creek
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