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The Gap Gazer: February 2019


Greetings Faithful Readers!

Enjoy this latest issue. I participated in the polar bear dip (my husband wimped out!) I felt a little shaky since I did not have Walt to hang on to but still glad I rose to the challenge. Amazing how cold the creek is when the air temperature and the water temperature are supposedly the same. I dedicated my jump to dog rescue (see the editorial in this paper). I was the oldest jumper at 68 and a half! (The Bible says I have 70 years allotted to me so I figure that I have a year and a half left on my body warranty. After this, though my body may wear a bit but I can develop my inner self and soul.)

Found an interesting ordinance in the 375 pages of Gap ordinances (more pages than citizens!?) Either the town needs to establish a workhouse or actually read what they have on record! I published this discovery without comment...it made me smile!!

Kathy Matthews

Editor: The Gap Gazer

lough@prodigy.net

616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

Upcoming events, news and any other ideas welcome.

Volume 11, Issue 2

L: Elly Jo Matthews (Eleanor, named after E. Roosevelt) 1.5 years old

R: Freya Jo Matthews 16 years old . Pack Leader

Town Tidbits

The Aldermen Board is Again Complete.

The empty seats left by a lack of candidates in the November election were filled by the prescribed procedure during the first meeting of 2019. Potential candidate Michael Tuten withdrew prior to the January meeting and the Board approved longtime residents Kathy Maxwell and John Douglas to fill the vacant positions.

Let There be Light.

No more dark corners on the town walking trail or in the Dog Park parking lot. Responding to a need for safe nightly walking conditions for dog walkers, students and others, the Aldermen Board installed light posts through the Powell Valley Electrical Co-op and the rails to trails path is now lighted. The cost of these lights will be approximately $183 a month.

Building in the 21st Century.

The Aldermen Board approved the purchase of the most recent 2018 Building codes as required by State law. Without these updated codes, no building activity could be approved in the Gap.

Volunteer Fire Department.

There are forty eight certified Lincoln Memorial University Volunteer Fire Fighters serving on the town’s fire department. The department not only lent their insurance to the polar bear dip, they also are investigating another smoke detector distribution program. Through the connections of a past student fire fighter, the department was given a donation of 30 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus suits which would have cost many thousand dollars apiece..


Punishable by Hard Labor

The Cumberland Gap Municipal Code is 375 pages long. On page 10 of the introducto-ry material, Ordinance 13-2004 Section 3: Penalty Clause declares that violating ordinances of the town is ‘unlawful’ and prescribes a penalty of “not more than $50 and costs for each separate violation”. When such person “is fined for violating any provision of the supplement and defaults on payment, he may be required to perform hard labor, within or without the workhouse, to the extent that his physical condition shall permit, until the penalty is discharged by payment, or until the person has fully discharged the penalty”.


Successful Dippers 2019

The Polar Bear Dip Matures

A long line of dippers waited to plunge into just over fifty-degree water (temperature verified by the official thermometer bearer Mayor Neal Pucciarelli) at noon on January 1, 2019. The first 20 received Chicago Chili Dogs donated by the Old Mill B&B. The Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op provided hot coffee. Two statements claiming individual responsibility needed to be signed this year; one for the event organizer and one for the Cumberland Gap Fire Department who used their insurance to fulfill the town’s policy requirement.


Judge Ralph McClanahan dressed the ringmaster part as he capably announced each dipper and the cause represented. Family seemed to rule as many dedicated their jumps to their mothers. Each dipper chose an old-time rock classic to accompany their adventure; Volunteer Fire Department members guided the approach to the creek. During prior years, dives, flops and cannonballs reigned. This year, with the more rigid town insurance regulations, signs were pointed out to each participant which visually prohibited any such creative antics. Most courageously approached their nemesis, Gap Creek; took deep breaths, submerged, and dripped back up the steps; smiling in fulfillment. Some raised hands in victory, others grimaced at the shock of cold water as they emerged. The dippers ages ranged from eight to sixty-eight and a half.

A large gallery watched and ooh-ed, ahh-ed and clapped as each brave soul completed the challenge. This year, the 29 inch deep plunge area was well defined with ropes, buoys and floats. Only two participants came anywhere near these protectants. One dipper when asked ‘why?’ replied, “Because I can.” Bragging rights? Bucket List? Personal challenge? Some watching were overheard to whisper to friends, “if you will do it, I will next year” giving themselves an out when the time came. Their missions complete, the daring souls who for individual reasons answered the challenge, grouped around the Judge for a final photo of their completed quest. It would be an entire year before the choice to plunge would again loom. Thanks to Judge Ralph and his buddy Sally for organizing this unique yearly event!

Matthews’ Musings


We lost our beloved dog Ziggy in December. He lived long enough to develop cancer and died doing what he did best. His last breath was used terrorizing our neighbor's cats. What a canyon in our hearts my little buddy left.

Our remaining dog, Freya, celebrated her 16th Christmas! We have learned through the loss of Ziggy and have turned our gentle giant Freya over to our God, to take when the time is right and to thank with gratitude as Freya still smiles and bobs through her days here.

Elly, the Dachshund/Beagle mix has joined our pack after a drive on the wings of a snowstorm to get her in North Carolina, found through a Dachshund rescue site! She has identical doxle heritage and the same independent spirit Ziggy had; she is our new brat dog. She was quite shy at first, scared of the doggy door, afraid of men and hesitant to cross thresholds and door-ways. Then my little red hoarder emerged, amidst piles of toys and pig’s ears. Chewing up objects such as dryer balls and earmuffs just to let us know they were on the floor. She snuggled into the bed with us the first night and took over with moans and squirms. She wiggles with every hair on her sleek body when she is happy and gets the zoomies about midnight. She carefully guards her stash on her living room chair and has declared that no one uses her chair without permission. She loves to play fight with Walt and cuddle with me. She doesn’t fear Freya but gives her the respect due to an ancient dog survivor. I have to buy her jingly tags as an 18 month old puppy can creep around stealthily compared to the home we once had of two older dogs and an occasional visitor.

Doggy joy has returned to the Matthews household. Ziggy’s mischievous memories wrap my heart as Elly begins her own story with us. We have been and are so blessed.

Upcoming Events Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the music of mountain life with Steve and Debbie Gulley. Jan. 19 , Feb. 16. Mar. 16 @7:30 pm - LMU Convention Center. $12 at the door

Save the Dates:

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

Art Extravaganza - June 1, 2019 Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op

Genealogy Jamboree - October 18-19, 2019

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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