County businesses face a tough year because of the recession, but the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce stands ready to help, the group's leaders said.

"1991 is going to be a year of vast economic challenges for all businesses, but especially for small businesses," said Dwight O. Dingle, whose term as chamber president ended this month.

Thomas F. See, who was sworn in as president Saturday, said the chamber will make information available to members to help them solve whatever problems may arise as a result of the lean economy.

R. Wayne Barnes, chamber vice president, said the organization is considering sponsoring seminars "on survival" for small businesses and providing information on topics such as cutting costs and retraining employees.

Janet M. Gross, chamber treasurer, said, "Carroll County as awhole is doing OK, but if the recession gets deeper, we won't be insulated."

Almost 300 chamber members and guests attended the chamber's annual dinner at Martin's Westminster where three new officers and four new board members were installed.

See, a vice president at Union National Bank; Barnes, president of Barnes-Bollinger Insurance Services Inc.; and Gross, owner of a certified public accounting company, will serve one-year terms as officers. All three work in Westminster.

The chamber has about 600 members.

Dingle, manager of WTTR Radio in Westminster, said the group's accomplishments in the past year included reaccreditation by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a successful start to the "Leadership -- Carroll County" program.

Theprogram, which began last fall, is "like a college course where Carroll County is the classroom," he said. The course prepares current and prospective business leaders for service to the community, he said.

See said the chamber will continue to be "a pro-active organization" through its work with the state legislature and county commissioners. It also will continue its efforts to link the business and educational communities, he said.

At the end of his brief remarks, See,who served in the Army during the Vietnam War, mentioned the war inthe Persian Gulf.

"Let us hope and pray for a speedy conclusion and for the safety of those involved," he said.

Proceeds from the dinner, which was followed by a dance, benefit the Charles D. SchafferScholarship Foundation, which provides $500 scholarships to two graduating high school seniors in the county every year.

The dinner was expected to raise about $1,500, said George Sparks Jr. of New Windsor, foundation chairman. Schaffer, who died in 1983, was the chamber's executive director for 17 years.

The four new board members installed for three-year terms were: Danny Barkin, Carroll County Times publisher; Vincent A. Campanella, owner of a marketing and public relations company in Sykesville; Barbara Pease, senior vice president andchief financial officer at Carroll County Bank and Trust Co.; and Dottie Wells of O'Conor, Piper & Flynn Realtors in Westminster.

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