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Lake Lanier safety group is pushing ahead with plans, ideas
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A Lake Lanier safety group is moving ahead with several initiatives since forming earlier this summer after two highly publicized boating accidents.

The Lake Lanier Water Safety Alliance, established by the Lake Lanier Association, has rolled out a website, lakelanier.org/safe-lake-initiatives, a compilation of safety resources available around the lake.

Business cards with the website’s name and a buy-one, get-one-free coupon to the Lanier World water park at Lake Lanier Islands resort were handed out at the recent Forrest Wood Cup fishing tournament “to increase community awareness of the safety initiative,” said Joanna Cloud, executive director of the association.

Another project under consideration is the creation of a boating safety “quick notes” guide that would be distributed at local businesses and “mailed to lake stakeholders in either boat registration, marina or Lake Lanier Association mailings,” Cloud said.

The alliance also is planning a meeting in October. One of the topics will be potential suggestions for state lawmakers to consider when they go into session in 2013, she said.

Lake Lanier has had a summer of tragedy, including a drowning this past weekend, when a Doraville man tried to swim to an island.

Two incidents early in the summer — one that killed two Buford boys, Griffin and Jake Prince, and one that killed a boy reported to be the stepson of entertainer Usher — drew regional to international attention.

Afterward, Lake Lanier Association, a Gainesville-based lake advocacy group, announced it would join with government and marine-based organizations around Lanier to promote general water safety through education, with efforts aimed at improving awareness and possible lobbying efforts for state legislation.

The group held an organizational meeting July 31 at Legacy Lodge & Conference Center at Lake Lanier Islands, drawing representatives from such groups and agencies as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Marine Trade Association, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Barefoot Sailing Club.

“We feel like water safety, just in general, is something we all need to focus on,” Cloud said in July.

“While boating fatalities are certainly really, really concerning, there’s a concern about water safety in general.”

The Hall County Board of Commissioners also agreed to establish a Lake Lanier safety panel, but nothing much has happened since.

“It was pretty well on my shoulders to move forward, and at this time, I’m not (doing anything further),” said board Chairman Tom Oliver, who lost his bid for a third four-year term.

Fellow Republican Dick Mecum, who takes over the job Jan. 1, defeated Oliver in an Aug. 21 primary runoff.

“I can get it started, but to keep it going is going to have to take somebody who’s going to be there a little longer than I am,” Oliver said.

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