Suwanee honors city's top volunteers

SUWANEE -- City leaders Tuesday honored residents who have given their time and resources to better their community.

Dick Cunningham, a partner at the Suwanee location of Ippolito's, was presented the prestigious Gold Award for Best Sponsor by the Southeast Festival and Events Association. This award is the association's highest honor, and Cunningham was nominated for his selfless service and contributions to the Suwanee Day Festival.

According to Amy Doherty, the city's events planner, Cunningham was asked to feed 50 soldiers during this past Suwanee Day Festival. "We were expecting pizza and Coke," said Doherty, but Cunningham treated all 50 soldiers to a gourmet meal, not charging any of the cost back to the city. A month later, those same soldiers were deployed.

"I'm just happy to be here in Suwanee," Cunningham said when he accepted the plaque presented to him. "Dick is one of the anchors here in Suwanee. He just never says 'no,'" Mayor Dave Williams said.

Primrose School of Suwanee West is the only other business in the city to win the prestigious Gold Award.

Jessica Roth, Suwanee's assistant to the city manager, presented each member of the Community Garden Founders Committee with a gift and a "thank you" on Tuesday. The 16 committee members worked for nine months planning and guiding what is already Georgia's largest organic community garden. Harvest Farm Community Garden, which opens late next month, has all of its 76 plots reserved, and there is a waiting list of about 20 people who want a plot in the garden.

Roth estimated that the committee members have put in more than 1,000 volunteer hours working on the garden.

Also on Tuesday, a Managing Board of seven people was named. The board will be responsible for oversight and general management of Harvest Farm Community Garden.

City to observe Arbor Day, Earth Hour

For the 20th consecutive year, Suwanee will observe Arbor Day. On April 30, city staff and residents will plant trees to add to the tree canopy in the city.

Councilman Jimmy Burnett has spearheaded the Arbor Day initiative for 15 years in Suwanee.

City leaders also signed on to participate in Earth Hour again this year. From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, lights in City Hall and other government buildings will be turned off, demonstrating the city's commitment to halting climate change and conserving energy.