The Gap Gazer: December 2018

Faithful Readers,

I have only a page to publish each month yet it becomes a quite a project to choose what best needs to be addressed and what readers need to know about our little community. I love to share places to visit and enjoy as I did last month and in the issues describing events and the National Park.

Each month a list of upcoming opportunities is presented to the best of my knowledge (as I rarely have events reported to the Gazer but I uncover all that I can!) This month was a challenge to research and to write journalistically. Only in my Musings do I allow personal beliefs to come through and if my convictions are evident in the articles, I am sorry as some of these issues were difficult to investigate because participants were not always forthcoming.

Still as a responsible journalist and a town citizen, I try my hardest to present what I uncover. I love my new hometown and am not causing drama purposely but rather believe "secrets keep a community or individual sick". We have the ability to work together if we are concerned and know what is going on. It is a shame when facts are so cloaked that it takes investigation to uncover the truth if these actions are indeed best for the community.

Doing my job for my readers,

Kathy Matthews

Editor: The Gap Gazer


616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

Upcoming events, news and any other ideas welcome.

Volume 10, Issue 12

L: And the Night Before Christmas...

R: Atop his faithful sleigh, the town fire truck...

Two Seats Remain Empty

Last month’s Gazer reported on the absence of candidates for the Aldermen Board. Mayor Pucciarelli further investigated and using the same sources that the November Gazer did, verified the procedures needed to fill these seats. There are at least three candidates being approached and the new board, with the reseated John Ravnum will be asked to nominate and vote on fill-in Board members to serve no longer than the 2 years until the next election. Jerry Hopson and Chuck Coffey attended their last meetings as elected members in November. Both have dedicated themselves to their positions, are returning to private life and have no desire to serve further. The next Board meeting on December 3 at 7 pm is where town citizens can voice their opinions on what the board’s make up shall be. The philosophies and beliefs of candidates determine the direction the town takes.

Cool, Clear Water...

When life was easier and less political, Cumberland Gap water came out of Gap Cave through Gap Creek into the town. Now that the National Park owns the Cave and Lincoln Memorial University owns the water rights, the town still needs water to drink, preferably the clear clean water which goes by its name. Past aldermen boards assigned the water rights to the college and sold the current tower for $1 to a private citizen when they deter-mined it unusable. The current administration did nothing to cause these water issues but has the responsibility of fixing these poorly made choices. LMU has not asked the town to leave their Cumberland Gap Water system formally but has expressed interest in the town finding their own water source. LMU has total rights to sell more of the water flowing through the town to bottling companies, but up until now has sold water to their water’s name-bearer, Cumberland Gap. The Mayor stated that the town was investigating digging their own well but many details have yet to be investigated. The water is flowing beneath us and appears to be usable. The water tower might be able to be refurbished and site of the tower seems a possible site. The town does not own the land or the tower and must negotiate with the owner. Last month the water loss jumped much higher in the billing from the college and the town has decided to pay this and watch future billings to determine the issue. The future of Cumberland Gap water seems as conflicted as the past has been.

Spending A $50,000 Grant

At the November 5th aldermen meeting, the Health Grant project manager, Bryan Hill, presented a facsimile of a map of Cumberland Gap marked by colored dots. He explained he was investigating through survey where the inhabitants of the town lived, worked and played. Mr. Hill and Mayor Pucciarelli explained that they have identified 30 “stakeholders” (determined to be most involved in the study performed through this grant investigation). These specific stakeholders are being asked to meet with other area entities, such as the National Park and LMU, to investigate working together to the benefit of Gap and each other. Upon investigation, five past master plans and studies of the Gap were uncovered but were declared to be out dated for present usage. Mr. Hill and the Mayor deem this new health grant based “Master Plan” necessary for the town obtaining any future grants. (Pictured: Bryan Hill AICP of Community Development Partners LLC $50,000 Health Grant Manager)

Mr. Hill proclaimed that the Gap was a ‘rental community for LMU students’ as well as a future ‘trailhead’ for the planned Cumberland Trail System and these factors were part of his study. He also mentioned other towns he believed were comparable to the Gap and is offering to send members of the board to visit these to observe and ask questions.

The Gazer editor conducted a brief interview with Mr. Hill after the aldermen meeting and was given a card to contact “Community Development Partners LLC,” represented by Mr. Hill as the Gap Project Manager with any other inquiries. Mr. Hill was sent questions through the contact addresses on this card and also invited to set up a Gazer interview but has not at publication time acknowledged these requests. The website of the company he represents states that the business believes that “Good plans bring together technical expertise with public feedback to prioritize community needs, public infrastructure and future facilities.” They have obtained and are managing the $50,000 health study grant for the Gap. The stated goal is a written master plan which can be used to obtain grants and direct the aldermen in future decisions.

Matthews’ Musing!

I started dedicating my time to the Gap Gazer nine years ago because Walt wanted to know what was going on in our new community. This is still our contribution to our adopted hometown. The information presented in this edition of the Gazer is as journalistically accurate as I could research and report it. I did not cover the sale of the lot in the middle of town because that is a bit cloaked in secrecy but I am following the situation despite the unwillingness of anyone to yet talk about this.

I was actually unsure if current citizens really cared that only those willing to run were assured the opportunity to set the direction for the town. Only one incumbent ran for three seats and there are very few citizen participants at published town Aldermen meetings. (Jerry and Chuck deserve a Thank You for their dedication by all their neighbors here. Both sacrificed so much time doing what they deemed best.) A couple of comments in the recent Board meeting did disturb me. When the health grant manager referred to the Gap as basically a rental community, I was uneasy as Walt and I retired here because of the peace, beauty, climate and small-town charm. We had last lived in Houston which teamed with things to do as well as crime. During the same meeting, one board member stated that the ordinance against business signs in residentially zoned areas was to keep parked cars and traffic from disturbing private citizens. No one stood up for Roslyn Ave. when the LMU students wanted a dog park (with traffic and parked cars) in a private neighborhood and the then Mayor gave them the location despite the neighbors’ request to put it on LMU owned land. I would like to think that despite the transient rental population in this town, permanent citizens would stand up for each other and the reasons we settled here. Let those who volunteer to direct the town at least know what you want out of this community. They will not know unless each citizen takes a few minutes to become informed and express their opinions.

Upcoming Events Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the music of mountain life with Steve and Debbie Gulley. Dec, 15 & Jan. 19 @ 7:30 pm - LMU Convention Center. $12 at the door.

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.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town Santa Claus will be in various locations in the Gap, December 14 & 15th and December 21st & 22nd. Bring your camera and come get a picture with Santa.

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

The Antique Day with Arts & Crafts returns! April 27, 2019. More info in later Gazers.

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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