The town of Cumberland Gap is gearing up for the first annual heritage festival, which is to be held on Saturday, June 26th between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., and anticipation levels throughout the region are heightened.
Claiborne County Tourism Director Gena Bowen appeared before the board Monday and stated that final adjustments are currently being made before the unique celebration’s commencement.
“Everything is going well... It is down to the very finest of details now and everything is just flying by,” stated Bowen, adding that she is growing more and more anxious as the festival date approaches.
“There is a well-laid plan. All we have to do now is execute it,” she explained.
“I think it’s been done appropriately, professionally, and I couldn’t be more proud of the participation from all of you, volunteers, committee members... It’s just been a great, great experience,” Bowen added.
Mayor John D. Douglas commended Bowen and everyone else involved in the planning of the festival for the efforts put forth into making the celebration a success.
“We truly appreciate your hard work and efforts,” Douglas maintained.
Alderman John Ravnum then noted that — in coordination with the White Lightning Festival — identification cards are now available at town hall for all Cumberland Gap residents.
The recognition passes will allow townspeople to be easily identified and accommodated during the celebration.
The reason for the passes, according to Ravnum, is so “that citizens are not basically turned away from being able to get to their own property.”
Board members agreed that all citizens need to get his/her identification cards as soon as possible, and the cards are to be placed on the dashboards of residents’ vehicles.
Alderman Joan Webb mentioned if anyone wanted to volunteer his/her time to the festival that 12 to 15 volunteers are needed on that day.
“So if you could help us any at all, we would appreciate that,” Webb concluded.
Volunteers will have access to hospitality/refreshment areas within festival grounds as part of his/her charitable efforts, added Bowen.
For anyone willing to volunteer their time to The White Lightning Festival, call (423) 869-3860 for additional information.
In addition, Alderman John Ravnum stated that if any citizen has a problem before or during the festival, then that person should bring it to the attention of festival organizers or town officials.
For additional information on The White Lightning Festival, contact Tourism Director Gena Bowen at (865) 585-7386 or (800) 332-8164, or visit www.whitelightningfestival.com.
The board also decided to make the temporary water rates, which were added onto monthly bills several months ago, permanent as of July 1, 2010.
Alderman Jerry Hopson stated that M-TASK recently conducted an in-depth study involving the town’s water rate history and operations to try and alleviate the problem.
“They said that, ‘If we kept it like it was, the town would be a couple of thousand of dollars in the hole by the end of the year,’” Hopson conveyed.
“That’s why we wanted the rates to be set at this rate that we’ve been using here recently, because we are finally making our bills,” explained Hopson.
“There was just no way around it,” said Alderman Joan Webb.
“After that study, it was pretty obvious that we’re stuck with these new rates,” Hopson concluded.
In other business, the board discussed and/or approved the following:
• The minutes of the May 3, 2010 meeting
• The payment of monthly bills
• Financial statement and updated budget status
• The board approved an application for part-time (eight to sixteen hours a week) law enforcement employment for the town.
• Town water and sewer concerns/updates
• Cumberland Gap Town Hall will be closed the week of June 14th through June 18th (Mon. - Fri.).
• Petitions for the November election are now available to be picked up at the election commission in Tazewell. The deadline has been set for August 19th at noon.
Adam Young is a Staff Writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.