Wednesday, December 30, 2020

January-February 2021

The holiday season comes to Gerton -- as it always does (some things just stay the same!) Fresh greens and bright red bows line our scenic by-way on every road sign. Happy holidays to all.

Though we have not gathered as a community since February, we decorated the center with wreaths and a lighted Christmas tree shined brightly each night through the month of December. 
The lighted tree at night greeted all who came by en route to their various destinations. We hope this lighted tree lifted the spirits of all who looked our way!

Calendar of Events

No UHNGCC Activities until further Notice

January 1 - Friday, first day of 2021
January 18, Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
February 2, Tuesday, Groundhog Day
February 14, Sunday, Valentine's Day
February 15, Monday, President's Day

President's Note

Few of us could have imagined at the start of this new decade that 2020 would have brought a Pandemic that would have so impacted our Community, Nation and the World. Most of us would like to have 20/20 vision from a medical perspective and I have thought about what clarity the year 2020 has brought to me personally and hopefully to others here in Gerton. I have been reminded about the importance of Kindness, Neighbors and Respect. We may not all have the same political, religious or ethnic backgrounds but we all are neighbors and strive for a safe and thriving community. My hope is that each of us can take the best of what has been brought into a clearer focus this past 12 months into 2021 to make Gerton a more special place to live.

On behalf of the Board of Directors I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year. We closed out the year with over 5,000 pounds of food and supplies being donated to Hickory Nut Gorge outreach – this is a huge accomplishment and shows our concern for those in need. We also kept up with our Highway Clean up program and did some basic maintenance to several areas of our Community Center Building. A special Thanks goes out to those that helped collect and assemble the greenery for our Holiday decorations place on our local street signs.

Finally, I want to Thank everyone who contributes their time and donations to our Community Center. A membership letter will be sent shortly to all members, our dues are $10 per person and since we are a 501(c) (3) any gift including your dues are tax deductible. If you are not currently a member you can request to be added to our organization by sending your contribution directly to UHNGCC PO Box 222, Gerton, NC 28735. We look forward to meeting again in 2021 once the virus is under control.

Happy New Year!

Stan Mobley

Chestnuts in bloom in Chestnut Hills, which will celebrate 100 years in 2022!

In the midst of November, when we think the colors of fall are behind us, all along the road toward Lake Lure, we have a reminder of spring at the end of fall! The shrub is called: Euonymous Alatus OR Winged Spindle OR Burning Bush. Perhaps the last name is the easiest to remember. The pink are not buds, but leaves!

UHNGCC Provides a Year of Help to Hickory Gorge Outreach:  Over 2.5 Tons of Food Given in 2020

Without question, the biggest call for good since the pandemic shut us down has been our community's support of the Outreach's food bank. Someone from the board has picked up food supplies from the post office twice a month. For example, in November, we took 326 pounds on November 16 and another
285 pounds on November 19. 

Our goal was to assist Outreach in their need to supply over 200 families with a Thanksgiving basket. On the shelves below, the food is stacked awaiting the prep team to assemble those baskets. Most of what is shown here was collected from neighbors in the Gerton community who have been generous with their gifts. 

Our last delivery to Hickory Nut Outreach took two cars on December 10. We dropped off 697 pounds, bringing our total for 2020 to over 5,000 pounds! There was no other organization, church, or school who provided more assistance in food supplies than Gerton. Jim Earnhardt, above, stands with some of the food we delivered. 

In the new year, UHNGCC will continue to collect food supplies and deliver to Hickory Nut Outreach. A new list of food supplies will be emailed in January.

Family Fun Holidays In The Hickory Nut Gorge 

Outside activities lighten spirits in Lake Lure 


Lake Lure, NC: The Chamber of Commerce of Hickory Nut Gorge invites families to participate in two outside events designed to lighten spirits for the holidays. Activities include a beachside bonfire for New Year’s Eve and the infamous Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day. 
“People need something light and happy right now after such a challenging year, and we have the perfect backdrop for outdoor, socially distant activities the whole family can enjoy,” said Laura Doster, Chamber Director.  
  • A New Year’s Eve beachside bonfire with fireworks will be held at the beach in Lake Lure. The event will take place from 7-9:30, with fireworks going off at 9pm. A cash bar with beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks will be available. General admission is $10 per person and includes access to the beach, party favors, fun activities and music. (In case of inclement weather, event will be postponed to a future date to be announced. Pre-purchased tickets will be accepted.) 
  • The Polar Plunge returns to Lake Lure on New Year’s Day! Gates at the beach will open at 10am, The Plunge is at 12 noon. There is a Registration Fee of $20 per person.  On-line registration will be offered soon.  Proceeds to support Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure Fire & Rescue and Hickory Nut Gorge EMS.  
If you want to lighten your holidays, bring your family to Lake Lure. Check the website: for additional details and to register for these events online. Participation is limited in response to COVID, so pre-registration is required for the New Year’s Eve Fireworks and the Polar Plunge. 
# # # 
About The Chamber of Commerce of Hickory Nut Gorge: Our mission is to 
promote economic progress and quality of life in the Hickory Nut Gorge community while helping to protect the natural integrity and unity of the communities of the Gorge. The Chamber is a catalyst for the creation of activities and opportunities for both visitors and residents and promotes an atmosphere that encourages visitation, business growth, and a strong sense of community. 

Gerton's first snow on November 30 offers an appearance of wild turkeys, having just missed the Thanksgiving celebration!

WNCCommunities Offers Its First Virtual Presentation of the George H.V. Cecil Honors Program

 In the 71st year, more than 62 people gathered on zoom with more watching on YouTube on the evening of December 3 as western North Carolina communities were celebrated for the work they contributed in 2020. Seventy clubs entered the streamed-down form of the application process, and the collected $35,000 from major sponsors--Harrah's of Cherokee, Duke Energy, Biltmore Farms, First Citizens, The McClure Fund, Farm Central, Farm Bureau, Wells Fargo, and Carolina Farm Credit--will be equally divided among all who submitted the application. UHNGCC will receive its check for $500 in the next week.

The Honors Program has been named for George H.V. Cecil, the Founding Father of the WNCCommunities, who passed away this fall. His name will also appear on the George H.V. Cecil Scholarship Program, another program that he birthed. 

This year a total of 4,555 volunteers gave 112,180 hours of volunteer time, an investment of more than $3 million to enhance the lives of people in our communities. This year, 60 percent of the clubs participated in helping people with food insecurities, while another 20 percent helped neighbors by sharing their internet connectivity. High speed internet connectivity is increasingly a growing need throughout our region. UHNGCC does not presently have internet connectivity. The third largest area of communal giving came in making masks and distributing them throughout the area. 

The Farms to Families Food Boxes, in which 22 communities participated, delivered 50,000 boxes of food to those in need over eight months.

UHNGCC was named both in participating in our large giving to Hickory Nut Outreach in Lake Lure, and again in coordinating with Outreach to help with their growing client list. UHNGCC has given over TWO TONS of Food to Outreach since our collection for them began in earnest in March. 

Another victory, in which UHNGCC participated, was in helping the 2020 Census increase its participation. With a grant from Dogwood Health Trust, 2,907 names were added to the census helping our region gain an additional $4 million per year or $40 million over the next ten years.

The only traditional awards given out this year were The President's Awards--given to those clubs that have participated for 25 years or 50 years. UHNGCC has long been a member of the President's Club. New members this year were Spring Creek and Walnut Community, both in Madison County.

The Calico Cat, Junior, went to Golden Valley Community Club in Rutherford County and the Calico Cat was awarded to Glenville Community Development Club, for building a new 700 sq. ft. building in which to receive their intake items for their re-sale store. The Calico Cats are awarded to the clubs that have done the most to enhance their building that for many are the heart of their communities. Over the years, the UHNGCC has won the Calico Cat or Calico Cat Junior FIVE times. Our cats are displayed in the rear of the Center.

2020 has been a year like no other (as we are fully aware) in our collective lives. Thanks to all who participated in the ways you have to help those whose needs may be greater than our own.  We look forward to gathering in summer to celebrate July 4 as only small town America knows how to do it! 

Greenery Workshop Produces Hangings for all the Street Signs

On the morning of Monday, December 7, at 10 a.m.--the first Monday of December, as is our tradition--five of us gathered at the center, wearing masks. We turned on the fans opened the windows and doors and began work....

The various greens were laid out on tarps on the floor. Thanks to Sarah Gayle, Jim Earnhardt, Stan Mobley, and Mike Hamlin for doing the collecting of the greens.
Sylvia Sane, Jim Earnhardt, Sarah Gayle, Stan Mobley, and Margaret Whitt (not pictured) began to gather assorted greens, tie them together, attach a red bow, and place on the counting table. We needed 41. Sylvia purchased new red ribbons but also brought her iron down to the center and took the wrinkled ones--all the new ones were wrinkled--and ironed them before they were attached.

And this is what the finished greens looked like. Stan Mobley and Mike Hamlin then took the 41 bows and placed them on all street signs going off 74A, various signs, the post office. Just take a look as you drive the straightaway during the holiday season.
Sylvia Sane locates the timer and sets it for turn-on-at-6 p.m. and turn-off-at-10 p.m. We hope the Christmas lights shining out in the dark of night will add a moment of cheer to the many passersby.

Spectacular Sight in the Night Sky on Winter Solstice

Beginning on December 20 and on to the next several nights, in the southwestern sky in Gerton, you could see Saturn aligning with Jupiter. This picture was taken over the Smoky Mountains. (@greatsmokynps by @mt_productionsandphotos) 

The paths of the planets Jupiter and Saturn align every 20 years or so, but rarely so closely (both to each other and to the earth) as in Christmas week.  In astrology/astronomy the appearance of the two planets together is called a "conjunction."  Estimates of the last time vary from 1227 to 1625, but there is some speculation that this celestial event was also the "Star of Bethlehem."  

 The Department of Transportation--on their social media sites--features UHNGCC for being the first member of the Adopt-a-Highway program--and notes that we are still at it! Don't miss the next opportunity to keep Gerton (literally) clean!

Neighborhood News

Neighbor Passes Away

Anne Topping Bourne, 56, of Gerton, N. C., passed away on Sunday, November 29, 2020, at Advent Health in Hendersonville. Anne was born in Murphy, N. C. to the late Francis and Betsy Bourne on November 19, 1964. She lived in Murphy for a number of years before moving to the Asheville area. 
Anne graduated from TC Roberson High school. From there she attended Sweet Briar College, UNC-Chapel Hill, the University of Richmond, and DeVry University. Anne had a passion for learning and for teaching. 

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by brothers, Tripp Bourne, Hubert Bourne, and by her sister, Elizabeth Bourne Morgan. She is survived by a brother, Clarke Bourne and his wife, Judy of Hayesville, N.C. Anne had several nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. Anne was appreciated for her love of family, friends, and her animals. She was devoted to those she loved and was delighted in the love returned. Anne was always adopting animals that needed a home. 
Her graveside service was held at 1 p.m., Wednesday, December 9 at Calvary Episcopal Churchyard, 2840 Hendersonville Road, Fletcher, with the Rev. J. Clarkson officiating. Per Covid19 restrictions, masks were required at the graveside service.
Memorials are requested to honor Anne at Asheville Humane Society at www. or the charity of your choice. Morris Funeral and Cremation Care is serving the family and condolences may be sent to them through our website at


Echo of the Gorge is published six times a year (bi-monthly) by the UHNGCC. News notes and photos may be sent to is always welcome. Photos this issue: Gloria Anders, Margaret Whitt, Karen Owensby, Syble Freeman, Chuck Mallory. 
UHNGCC Officers and Board for 2021: Stan Mobley, President; Jim Earnhardt, Vice President; Karen Owensby, Secretary; Sylvia Sane, Treasurer; Board: Jean Bradley, Margaret Whitt, Chuck Mallory.