Friday, January 25, 2019

March - April 2019

A new (but temporary) stop light has been added to the Gerton thoroughfare on 74A. The light will be removed when the work has been finished across the street from the campground area. To date, over 500 loads of rock and mud have been removed to an area off Grant Mountain Road. Read below for more information on the project and its progress....

President's Note about Road Construction on Lower End of Gerton Proper...

Travelling east on Gerton Hwy, near the intersection of Grant Mountain Road, is getting pretty sporty these days.  There's water, mud and heavy equipment moving across the roadway at varying intervals.  This all started last summer with a trickle of water down the mountain and across our scenic highway.  Heavy rain in the fall exacerbated the problem, now a full-blown mud/land-slide. 
     Alert to the situation DOT maintenance crews began cleaning up the mess and opening up existing culvert drains.  The rains kept coming and the earth continued sliding.  It was obvious DOT's limited maintenance budget and small equipment could not contain the slide.  Time to get additional help.
     NC DOT asked for and received Federal Emergency aid in the amount $1.2 million.  A local Contractor and Geologist were brought in to assess the situation.  Short of driving very expensive  pilings into bedrock there is no way to stop the slide.  Only Mother Nature can do that.
     So as of today here's the plan.  Clean up and haul away the fallen debris.  Near as I can figure they have moved about 300 tons so far.  Clean out the roadside swale and culvert drains under the road.  Dig a containment bowl/trench about one third of the way up the hill.  Lay a rip-rap wall on the south side of the bowl.  Plant Leyland Pines in front of the rip-rap and  Mat Grass horizontally across the hillside.
     Is this the ultimate solution?  No.  The Geologist thinks the hillside will  "continue to fail"..  This remedial investment will, however, keep the mud and water off the highway until Mother Nature does her thing.  The Contractor has built a road on the west side of the slide area for DOT maintenance crews to clean debris from the bowl as necessary.
     Scheduled completion date May 1st.  Until then, be patient, obey the traffic signal and pray for abundant sunshine.
                                                              Jack Bancer

Calendar of Events

March 19, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Community Covered Dish Dinner. Program: Joan Rhodes, Human Resource Coordinator for Barry Callebaut, the chocolate company in Edneyville. She will bring chocolate samples! (Surely, many of you have been curious about the building on the road to Hendersonville)

April 17, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. - Community Covered Dish Dinner. Program: Justin McVrey of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, who will be speaking about Living Safely with Bears.

April 20, Saturday - 8 a.m.- 2 p.m. - SALE ON THE TRAIL. Breakfast, Community Sale, Home-baked cakes and pies.

April 21, Sunday - EASTER

April 21, Sunday - Easter Egg Hunt at 2 p.m. and Resurrection Egg Story told by Syble Freeman after the hunt. For all children 12 and under.

The ECHO OF THE GORGE is published bi-monthly, a newsletter
of the UHNGCC.
Copies are available in the Gerton Post Office or the issue may be found online:
News and pictures may be sent to Margaret Whitt at
Photographers for this issue: Margaret Whitt, Sylvia Sane, Jane Lawson, Stacie James.
Officers of the 2019 UHNGCC: President - Jack Bancer;
Vice-President - Jim Earnhardt; Secretary - Susie Bancer; Treasurer - Sylvia Sane;
Board - Stan Mobley, Syble Freeman, Jean Bradley, Margaret Whitt, Karen Owensby

10th Annual SALE ON THE TRAIL -- April 20

The first big fundraiser of the new year for UHNGCC will take place this year on Easter Saturday, April 20. We will begin the day with a community breakfast, community yard sale , and home-baked cakes, pies, candy, cookies, brownies---all beginning at 8 a.m. The event will end between 1 and 2 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Hickory Nut Chamber of Commerce and will consist of 19-miles of yard sales--Gerton begins the event, right at the top of the gorge, which then continues through Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, and Bill's Creek.

Please bring items that you wish to donate for the community sale, beginning mid-March from 9 to 10 each day....A sign will be placed on the door with a number to call if you show up with stuff and the center is closed. Bring your friends to breakfast and enjoy the day shopping the gorge -- take home a cake for dessert or a gift for a friend.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Easter Egg Hunt

UHNGCC will sponsor its annual Easter egg hunt on Easter Sunday, April 21, at 2 p.m. All children 12 and under are invited to search for eggs and prizes will be awarded. Afterwards, Syble Freeman will tell the Resurrection Egg story, as is our tradition.

Invite your friends to this event, too!

UHNGCC Walkers Log in Another Year:

Since May 2010, in the recent return of continuous and regular exercise, the following walkers charted a total of 1,898 miles in the calendar year 2018. No one in all the years of our tracking has come close to topping the perennial champion: Sylvia Sane, this year peaking out at 489 miles. This winter, the group has become rather mindful of the weather. If it is below 35 degrees, we just stay home--and maybe we "walk" or maybe we sit.

Jean Bradley - 299
Toni Eastman - 56
Joan Erskine - 42
Syble Freeman - 6
Guests - 10
Lynn Morehead - 248
Gayle Morris - 90
Meg Mumpower - 42
Patty O'Kelly - 314
Lana Roberts - 135
Sylvia Sane - 489
Margaret Whitt- 167


                                            2019  Operating Budget                             


                               2018                   2018                    2019

                             Budget                Actual                  Budget

DUES                    $800                    $995                    $1000


     Exercise             250                      232                        250
     Meetings            500                       -0-                          -0-
     Other                  500                      780                        800
     Gerton XI Fest  2000                    2403                      2500
     Summer Play    2000                    1650                      2000
     Sale on Trail     1200                     1180                     1500
     July 4th               200                       336                       350
     Afternoon Tea  1000                        716                       -0-
     50/50                  500                        526                       600
     Building              300                        245                       300
     Store                3000                      3250                      3000
TOTALS           $12,250                 $12,313                 $12,300
Not accounted for in budget:  Prize Money from County and Region.
Savings Account Balance:  January 1, 2019                    $11,876.24
                                                                     2018                  2018                 2019
                                                                   Budget                Actual              Budget
     Lawn Care                                             $2000                 $2125               $2200
     Pest Control                                              700                      659                   700
     Heating Oil                                                 -0-                        -0-                    -0-
     Utilities                                                      900                      767                   800
     Propane Tank Rental/Fill                            80                        88                   100
     Heating Inspection                                    250                      224                   250
     Heating Repairs                                        300                        95                   200
     Cleaning Building Interior                           -0-                       -0-                    600
INSURANCE                                               1700                     2393                 2400
TAXES                                                          100                          84                   100
     Napkins, Plates, Utensils                         300                        306                   300
     ECHO Printing                                         400                        474                   500
     PO Box/Safe Deposit Box Rent               150                        102                   100
BUILDING PROJECTS                              1000                       1365                1500
     GertonFest                                              400                          451                 450
     Easter Egg Hunt                                       25                             43                   50
     July 4th Cookout                                     200                          158                  200
     Sale on Trail Food                                  100                            85                  100
     Summer Play                                          300                          141                  200
     Thanksgiving Turkey                              100                            -0-                    50
     Afternoon Tea                                         300                           -0-                    -0-
     Misc.                                                       245                           212                 200
SCHOLARSHIPS                                      1200                         1000                 500
RENTAL SPACE REPAIRS                       500                            -0-                   300
BUILDING REPAIRS                                1000                         3471                  500
TOTAL                                                 $12,250                    $14,243            $12,300

Ice came to Gerton on the weekend of January 12-13, and, as a result, this towering tree on the banks of Chestnut Hills Pond took a fatal tumble into the pond. Another tree fell across Pond Lane, but Dave at the Gerton Fire Department came, as soon as contacted, to saw down the tree and push it to the side of the road. If your street is blocked, the GFD is the first place to notify. They want to make sure that all roads have open access. Thanks to Dave and the Gerton Fire Department.

Rules for the UHNGCC College Scholarship

The following rules were approved at the November 2017 UHNGCC board meeting. The application will be available in the Gerton Post Office in May and will also be published in the ECHO for May-June 2019. The deadline for turning in the completed application will be on May 15.

The candidates, who are considering applying for the $500 scholarship, will satisfy these eligibility requirements.

1.  Any person living in the community, who is seeking a degree or certificate from a non-profit, accredited post-secondary institution may apply.

2.  A person may apply and receive the scholarship a maximum of TWO TIMES. But they may not be in consecutive years.

3.  Along with the scholarship application, the applicant must supply the name and address of the school. The winner's check for $500 will be made out to the school and mailed directly to that school with the check noted: to be applied to (the winning applicant's) tuition cost.

4. Depending on the number of applicants in any year, no more than TWO awards to two people will be given. The maximum amount of money awarded in one year will be $1,000.

5.  At the end of the academic year, the winner will report to the UHNGCC the progress towards their academic end goal.

Scholarship Application Questions:

1. School, church, community activities I have participated in.
2. Jobs I have held--volunteer activities count in this category
3. How would any of the above employers describe your work habits?
4. What are your strengths as a student? What are your weaknesses?
5. In a short paragraph, tell us your educational goals, and why you are applying for this scholarship.
6. The reason I chose (name of educational institution) is that....

A Note about the Journey Scholarship from WNCCommunities

It is an honor for WNC Communities to offer The Journey Scholarship
to youth in our communities preparing to enter college.  Last year,
$12,000 in scholarships was awarded to 13 deserving youth continuing
their education.

 The Journey Scholarship Application has been emailed to the high
school guidance counselors of the schools that are in or closest to
your community.  In addition, I ask you to please share this
application with the students in your community preparing to attend a
2 or 4 year college.

 The criteria for the scholarship application  is listed on page two.
The deadline to get the completed application postmarked and into the
WNC Communities Office is Friday, March 22, 2019.

 Please familiarize yourself with the application, particularly noting
the “Community Confirmation” section on the final page. This is where
a community officer needs to sign the application to help confirm the
student applying for The Journey Scholarship actually lives in,
participates in or their application is supported by your community.

If you have any questions call 828-252-4783 or email
Thank you for your commitment to the youth in your community.

January Program

During the business meeting, the above budget for the new year was passed.

True to her nature, Syble Freeman makes our program guests welcome at the cold January 15 evening meeting. We had a good turnout for an informative program about how tax assessments are done for real property in Henderson County. 
Luke Small and Kevin Hensley from the County Tax office give an informative overview of the process of mass appraisal, which occurs every four years. We are taxed on 100 percent of fair market value. 

Darlene Burgess, tax administrator, further explained that there are 82,000 parcels for a total tax base of $13.9 billion in Henderson County, a Tier 3 county (perhaps among the smaller counties in the largest counties in the state). A comparable to us would be Goldsboro. Since the program, we have all received our new appraisals. You may file an appeal up to May 15. For further information or details, check out their website at
Copies of the informative Henderson County 2019 Reappraisal Guide are available at the clubhouse. 

 February Program

Because of cold and icy rain our regular meeting was postponed a week--from February 19 to February 26. We had 20 neighbors who gathered for, as usual, wonderful food choices. 
 Here, Russell Anders holds forth at one of our tables decorated in red, white, and blue to honor President's Day. Thanks to Anne Bourne and Jim Earnhardt for hosting.
 On the bottom of each potted hyacinth was a number that corresponded with a number on the bottom of a chair. The person sitting in the chair with the matching number took the flower home. Here, Karen Owensby smiles as she realizes that the hyacinth is hers. Even though our numbers were small, we had our 50/50 raffle:$45 for the club and $45 for winner, Margaret Whitt.

Neighbor and highly acclaimed Gerton potter Mike Hamlin gave a talk and slide presentation about his artwork. He showed pictures of his studio, his equipment, and then items from nature that inspire his designs -- most notably the acorn, the mushroom, and the raindrop. He had a selection of finished pieces for sale at 20 percent off his prices from galleries. 

He presently shows in about a dozen galleries across the country. He graduated in ceramics from Columbus (Ohio) School of Art and Design, and has earned his living from his art for the past decade. Examples of his work on display last night included many bud vases in turquoise, blues, and purples. His work may be viewed on his website:

Mike uses his passion for gardening to create pieces that can add a calming manner to your days. Besides, they are also stunning. Think of Hamlin Ceramics when you have a special person (including yourself) to whom you wish to give a gift. Here in Gerton, we are proud to call Mike our neighbor.

Neighborhood News

Little Bearwallow Falls is the site of the new John Myers climbing area on the Wildcat Rock Trail. Peter Barr (who is climbing in this picture) and Conserving Carolina received the national annual achievement award from the Coalition of Recreational Trails in Washington for its design and construction. We are so proud of Peter and happy that this trail in our backyard is getting a lot of use. The trailhead parking lot had to be expanded to accommodate all of the hikers' and climbers' cars!
Carolers at Christmas time from Bearwallow Baptist out in greater Gerton at the James residence on the evening of December 23--a surprise visit and a great way to spread Christmas cheer. Stacie James managed to catch Karen Owensby, Pat Davis, Joan Erskine, and Syble Freeman. (Ed.Note: Contributions to the CHIMES fund may be sent to Bearwallow Baptist Church.)