A little bit of this, that for winter day

Jan. 21, 2013 @ 01:56 AM

 

A little bit of this and that for a winter’s day ....

That was some interesting week of weather, wasn’t it? I don’t ever remember it raining, without let-up, for so many days in a row. Then such a quick and steady snowfall. Now I get a sense of what Noah felt like.

The landslide on Newfound Gap Road through the Smokies looks serious and long-term, which would be a shame for national park visitors and local tourism. Hard to see how they can get that monster of a landslide fixed quickly. It may be a prolonged closure like the rockslide that shut down Interstate 40 at the Carolina-Tennessee line a couple of years ago. ...

Gatlinburg is taking this situation seriously, as it should. On Friday they sent out a statement from Vicki Simms, interim director of the Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, to remind people that the city “is very accessible by alternative routes.” Simms said Gatlinburg “is accustomed to redirecting traffic around the park for weather-related issues. This situation is no different from those circumstances. We have taken measures to distribute alternate route information to our Gatlinburg businesses and their frontline employees so that visitors can get to and from their desired destinations.” By the way, when will that “interim” tag be removed from Vicki Simms’ title? She would make a great director of the new CVB and deserves a shot at it. ...

We often look at the Parkway that dissects Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as the barometer of commercial activity, but have you driven along Dolly Parton Parkway lately? This road (Highway 411 or Newport Highway) has a lot of stuff happening on it. O’Reilly Auto Parts is about to open near City Hall. The new restaurant will open in a few weeks. Campbell Cunningham & Taylor opened its relocated eye clinic next to Gondolier (moved from Forks of the River Parkway). Burger King is going great across from the high school. The Election Commission remodeled its warehouse to accommodate offices, and the building looks great. Oh, and one more nice thing unrelated to development. Art students at Sevier County High did a terrific job enhancing the Ray Reagan Industrial Park sign. ...

Congratulations to Jane Foraker, director of the Sevier Senior Center, on her recent marriage. She has done a bang-up job at the center since becoming director, and a nicer person you won’t meet. ... In case you think the workers at Dollywood get to vacation during the three months the park is closed, think again. Rides are taken down, inspected and reassembled. Employees for the new season have to be hired and trained. It’s a busy time despite the park being closed to visitors....

Here’s a good idea for local churches. The Sevier County Library is giving away books to churches during two days next month. The giveaway is set for noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 8 and 10-4 Feb. 9. Church representatives need to bring some documentation showing church affiliation. There will be an assortment of religion-themed books, family books, books on grief and self-help and story collections to improve any church library. This event is sponsored by Friends of King Family, Kodak and Seymour libraries. ...

Members of the local Martin Luther King Jr. Planning Committee are a little worried that attendance at the annual march and program on Monday will be hurt by the president’s inauguration on the same day. President Obama actually will be sworn in today, as required by the Constitution, but the ceremony and parade are set for Monday. Let’s make sure our local MLK committee is not disappointed. ...

— Stan Voit is editor of The Mountain Press. His column appears each Sunday. He can be reached at 428-0748, ext. 217, or e-mail to svoit@themountainpress.com.