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Chamber honors announced
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Covington dentist Melvin O'Neal Baker is the recipient of the R.O. Arnold Award, given annually by the Covington/Newton Chamber of Commerce.

The 61-year-old Oxford resident earned the honor for his lifetime of service to the community. The award was presented Thursday at the chamber's 2011 annual meeting, held at DeKalb Technical College's Newton Campus.

Dr. Baker has been in dentistry 34 years. He earned a degree in biology at Clark University and attained his dentistry degree from the Medical College of Georgia.

Louise Adams, who presented the award, noted that Dr. Baker is chairman of the board of the Washington Street Community Center, a steward of St. Paul AME Church, and was the 2010 winner of the prestigious of the Martin Luther King I Have A Dream Award and a Legends award in 2010 from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Also Thursday, the Dick James Small Business Award was given to Merryvale Assisted Living. Its director, Gena McLendon, accepted the honor.

The Spirit of Excellence Award for extraordinary volunteer service for the chamber was given to Ric Burnette of Wheeler Funeral Home.

Guest speaker for the evening was Ga. Secretary of State Brian Kemp.