The Gap Gazer: August 2018

Dear faithful reader,

Once again one handed typing and many proofreads! I acquired a staph infection in my finger joint replacement and it may be a bit of a long haul (looks long looking forward to 6 weeks of antibiotic IV's 3 x a day but will be shorter looking backward once they are over!) My husband has become quite a handsome gentle IV tech and my activity level doesn't make me the ideal patient. Could be worse, God has blessed me with no greater loss.

This Gazer was very carefully researched and the Mayor even gave me time for an interview as I wanted to clarify all my facts. I am hopeful that I have laid out all issues in accurate terms and that my own opinions only are presented in my editorial. This Gazer issue is designed to inform and encourage readers to make their own decisions on prevailing issues and perhaps take some action.


Kathy Matthews

Editor: The Gap Gazer


616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

News tips are appreciated!

Volume 9, Issue 8

Left: Future plans are to obtain a grant to make the Dog Park Handicap Accessible

Right: Being an effective Alderman takes much effort and time but you could be an element of change!

Seeking Aldermen Candidates

As of July 20th, only one candidate of the three seats open on the Aldermen Board is seeking re-election on the Nov. 2nd ballot. The 4 year terms of John Ravnum, Chuck Coffey and Jerry Hopson are expiring. Hopson has most recently chaired the Historical Committee; Coffey has overseen Water and Sewer; and Ravnum has been responsible for Tourism and Finance. Ravnum has picked up a re-election petition.

According to Carolyn O’Dell, Administrator of Elections in the county, petitions for candidacy must be picked up at the County Election Commission housed at 1802 Main Street in Tazewell, signed with at least 25 residential supporters, and returned the commission building by noon on August 16. These individuals will be listed on the ballot by name. Write in candidates have until September 17 at noon to sign a “Certificate of Write In Candidacy”. This potential write in alderman's name will not appear on the ballot but then can officially be written in. The candidate will have to wage an effort for write in votes.

Any candidate must have resided in the city of Cumberland Gap and been registered to vote there for at least a year. If not all available seats are filled, responsibility reverts to the Board. According to the Gap City Charter, the Board shall fill the vacancy by appointment, though the circumstances specifically described there are not exactly the ones which will be in effect. O’Dell says that in a small city such as the Gap, the mayor may even be able to ask an alderman who did not rerun to fill the position until the next two-year election. Regardless of term of the open seat, the term of an appointment will only be two years.

Heartworm Study in the Gap

Dr. Charles Faulkner, associate professor of parasitology at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine and his students are doing a study on the occurrences of heart-worm passed through Gap mosquitoes. The group is both testing the actual mosquito population as heartworm carriers and Gap dogs for this disease. A mosquito trap is set up across from the Cumberland Gap Dog Park, others are in locations around the town. It was postulated that mosquitoes in an area of multiple dog usage may be infected. Many dogs in town have been tested for heartworm with the permission of owners and according to one of Faulkner’s research students, only one dog has tested positive.

Owners who keep heartworm medicine up to date have little to worry about even if a prevalence of heartworm infected mosquitoes were found. Traps are baited with dry ice which gives off carbon dioxide, a waste product of respiration, and fools the mosquitoes into thinking animals and humans are near, This result of this phase has not yet been determined as the study is still in progress.

Planning Grant Obtained by Board

The Board of Aldermen submitted and received a $50,000 grant which is intended “to develop a Downtown Master Plan and Trail Facility Development Plan in cooperation with LMU, The National Park, local Schools, Servolution, the Cumberland Trail Authority and the County Health Department.” $45,000 is designated to pay professional planning and design consultants (the grant comes with its own managers) and $5000 is for any travel expenses. The final product is to be a written “plan used to improve health and recreation opportunities in Cumberland Gap and Northern Claiborne County.” According to the grant’s lengthy paperwork: This area has been identified as an “economically depressed area”, prone to “heart disease, food insecurity, and high healthcare costs”. This plan is designed to “identify initiatives and strategies to promote outdoor activities and healthy living.” The concluding goal “is to provide an open process to gain a diverse range of feedback and participation from stakeholders from throughout the region and increased opportunities for outdoor recreation...” No money is designated to build anything or change anything; instead the $50,000 is intended to pay for the development of a written plan produced by the managers who came with the grant.

The town incurred no costs in obtaining this grant. Mayor Pucciarelli did admit that he was disappointed in the extent of the grant once it was awarded but defends it as “free money” and believes the demographics and plan may be needed to obtain other grants. The mayor observed that the Gap is “aging out” and that this plan could provide ideas for the future when the town will be a trailhead on the Cumberland Linear trail.

Enjoy the National Park

For reservations (always recommended!) Call the National Park @ 606-248-2817 or buy in person at the Visitors Center(1st exit past Tunnel in Kentucky)

Gap Cave Tours & Hensley Settlement Tours

Both tours held all days except Thursdays

Gap Cave

$8 adults $4 Senior Pass and Children 5-12. Depart from Daniel Boone Parking area in the Gap at 1 pm. Return at 3 pm

Hensley Settlement

$10 adults $5 children under 12 and Senior Passes. Reservation holders meet at Visitors’ center at noon, returning at 4 pm

Matthews Musings:

Getting such a large grant may be a feather in the Gap’s hat but no one is announcing this too loudly. Those benefiting monetarily are the grant writers. There is no physical benefit to the Gap. Funds cannot be used to research a city well nor can they be used to actually bring recommendations into fruition. The grant proposal was based on the premise that the citizens of our area are deprived of healthy opportunities (we actually live in a National Park which is full of healthy activities if one chooses to avail oneself.) I am familiar with grant double speak from my educational grant experiences. I invite the reader to reread the quotes I took from the 13 page grant (or ask at the city hall for the complete prospectus) and decide if this grant truly benefits the Gap or if perhaps time would be better spent looking for available monies for action in the Gap. Perhaps, one avenue would be to develop the necessary water well research to free us from dependence on LMU’s dispersion of Arthur Shawanee water substituted for the water which bears our name?

No citizen currently seems interested in filling leadership positions in the Gap. Mayor Pucciarelli has put in a lot of effort and learning as a first term mayor. He professes to have what he believes are the town’s best interests at heart. This “planning” grant doesn’t appear as valuable to our town as were the lessons learned pursuing it. It would help greatly if concerned citizens would step up and direct the board towards goals identified in street and coffee shop conversations in the Gap. If nothing changes, nothing changes. You could be the element of positive change.

Upcoming Events Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the music of mountain life. August 18 & Sept 22 @ 7:30 pm - LMU Convention Center. $12 at the door.

2nd Annual Duck Derby Race to benefit Servolution Health Services (SHS) will be held on September 9, 2018.

Harvest Moon Gala Oct. 13, 2018. Art, food, music, children’s activities Seasonal art for sale & wine tasting. . 11 am - 8 pm Sponsored by Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op.

Pumpkin Lites Halloween. More info later.

Victorian Christmas Mother and Father Christmas, 10 am at the Victorian home on Colwyn; as well as tree lighting and town merchant Christmas for all. Whole day celebration on Dec. 1, 2018. Festival of lights in the Gap.

Polar Bear Dip! Jan. 1, 2019 Noon In front of Little Congress Bicycle Museum.

Gap Gazer Statement of Ownership and Responsibility The Gap Gazer is the creation of Kathy Jo Matthews, a Gap resident, and she alone is responsible for the content. The town government and other agencies have no responsibility for publication and distribution of the Gazer. All articles are based on research and are as factually accurate as the editor can present them. Contact the editor at the phone numbers and email address listed in this issue if any questions arise in the veracity of the news presented. The news in each issue is as journalistically correct and as impartially presented as possible. Events posted are all in the immediate tri-state area and if an event is missed, that usually means no one contacted the editor with the information. The ”Matthews’ Musings” is an editorial and, while still based on fact, may contain editorial comment and opinion. Distribution is via email and through stacks of newspapers distributed to the Gap Post Office, the Gap Creek Coffee House, The Pineapple Tearoom, The National Park and the Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op. The Gazer contains no advertising and is responsible to no one for funding. All printing is at the editor’s expense, eliminating any connections with another entity. The Gap Gazer is produced monthly and is in its 8th year of continuous publication.

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