By Bob Keith

Mayor of Lake Lure, NC

While driving to Town Hall this morning (April 12th) and contemplating on what I would write about, I observed the brightly shining sun and the deep blue sky on what was forecasted to be a rainy, dreary day. A light rain had fallen overnight washing the pollen away and the air was balmy after a cold, windy, wintery weekend (hopefully our last of the season). The forsythia had lost its golden beauty but was replaced by so many wild, white dogwoods and colorful, dazzling azaleas. I had to ask myself, could we have found a better place to live?

There has been a lot going on in the community in these off-season months. For example, this past weekend there was a meeting of the Lakefront Owner’s Association’s Cove Watch Captains with Police Chief Sean Humphries, Lake Operations Manager Dean Givens and yours truly. The Cove Watch volunteers perform what we think of as a neighborhood watch program for all residences on and around the lake that is the eyes and ears of those who have properties on the lake. It’s an extension of Police and Lake Ops. The meeting featured fabulous communications and give and take, which is essential to effective community relationships and operations. At another gathering, the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation, a charitable fund raising organization, sponsored a free piano concert at the Lakeview Restaurant featuring the talented Bill Trowell who came all the way down from Bar Harbor, Maine. This outstanding pianist/performer was discovered by Foundation Board member, Joe Satrape and his wife Mabel, on a fall vacation trip through New England several years back. Bill put on one heck-of-a show receiving any number of standing ovations. Where else can you find over 100 folks gathered on a cold, rainy Monday evening in Lake Lure in early spring. Next, the local and very active Chamber held a spring “recharge” event at the Lodge on Lake Lure and introduced the new Lodge Manager Capi Wampler who provided an update on the plans for the Lodge this year and beyond. It was very informative; a good time was had by all! Finally, while focused on events in the area, please plan to attend a farewell and sendoff party for Chris Braund, our former Town Manager, on May 11th at the Lake Lure Inn and Spa at 5:30pm. You can RSVP to the Chamber (625-2725) or Town (625-9983).

Speaking of Chris, the search for a new Town Manager continues. The town contracted with an employee search organization, Developmental Associates out of Raleigh, back in March. The firm received 127 applications for this important town position by the cutoff date in mid-April. This was probably three times what one would expect from such a process. Applications came in from not just locally but all across the country. I think that this says a lot about the desirability of working and living in western North Carolina and especially in Lake Lure. Working with the search firm, we will review the applications and narrow the field, first to a manageable number, and then to a handful of finalists. This latter group will be interviewed, tested and thoroughly background checked before the ultimate decision is made by Town Council. It is an extremely rigorous undertaking. It will be difficult, to say the least, to fill the shoes of Chris Braund. He has made an amazing contribution to the town and Hickory Nut Gorge in general, and will be missed. (Read more about Chris Braund, page 31).

Have a wonderful spring season!