by Bob Keith

Friends of the Mountains Branch Library receives check from Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation
(L to R) Bob Keith – HNGF board chair
Woody Turner – HNGF board member
Ned Kiser – HNGF board member
Jack Barton – HNGF board treasurer
Patti Stewart – Friends of the Mountains Branch Library board chair
Dianne Ward – Friends of the Mountains Branch Library board member

            As we are rapidly pushing toward summer, I am amazed each year with the first spring signs of daffodils, forsythia, dogwoods and redbuds during such a beautiful ecological transition. As the weather generally gets warmer, new growth appears, hummingbirds return, the pollen slowly recedes and we move toward a season filled with exciting opportunities, fun-filled experiences and special local events. I especially love the day when I first hear the shrill voice of one of the lake kids taking his/her first jump off our boathouse. Wheee!, kerplunk!, then proud, family members’ cheers of congratulations on this scary, 18’ inaugural plunge into the deep waters below!

            That said, let me direct your attention to something that I am personally involved in, the Community Impact Award Evening of Recognition. The CIA is an annual event sponsored by the Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation to honor a person, couple or organization for exceptional contributions to the HNG community. This year, the Foundation has selected Todd and Melinda Morse as the recipients for 2019, the ninth year of this event. Both have served on numerous boards, committees and organizations over the years but most recently have contributed to the formation and continuous growth of our outstanding charter school, Lake Lure Classical Academy.

            The CIA event is a fundraiser for the Foundation to be held on May 30th at 6pm at the Lake Lure Inn. A buffet dinner will be served for $25 per person prior to the formal presentation of the award. Patrick Bryant, our distinguished Hotel Ambassador, assures me that the meal will be outstanding and remarkable. Please go to to RSVP and pre-pay. This is a “can’t miss affair” for all area residents interested quality of life and in continuous re-investment in the Gorge.

Linda Ratschan (L), Outreach Office Manager and Hope Wittmer, Outreach Director, receive grant contribution from Foundation Board members Treasurer Jack Barton and Vice President Ned Kiser in front of the new HNG Outreach facility.

Giving Back

                  The Hickory Nut Gorge Foundation (HNGF) was founded in 2006 by Hickory Nut Gorge residents, James and Susan Dunn. Along with a handful of friends and supporters, the organization was formed out of the mutual desire to put the words, “leaving a place better than you found it,” into tangible results.

            In its simplest terms, the Foundation was created as an endowment that will last forever. Our purpose is to help preserve, improve and serve the environment, wildlife and people who live in the Gorge, both now and in the future, beyond the horizon.

            The Foundation awards grants to nonprofit organizations in the Gorge. Giving to the HNGF makes a permanent difference for future generations that will live in the HNG. The earnings from your financial gifts are invested back into the community. It becomes a legacy that outlasts our own lives. Her are two recent examples:

Odds and Ends

Our good and dear friend, Jim Dunn, passed away suddenly last month. A memorial service for Jim will be held on May 11th at 10am at Fairfield Mountains Chapel. Come and express your sympathies and celebration of life with Susan, family and friends. Please see accompanying article by Jim’s good friends and business partner, Tommy Hartzog, page 13.

Plans for the Affinity Assisted Living Facility continue to move forward. There are still a couple of minor issues to be resolved but we anticipate a ground breaking in the May timeframe.

The Lodge on Lake Lure reopened in April. Check their Facebook page for breakfast, brunch and dinner menus and hours. Food displays on Facebook look tantalizing, scrumptious and sensational under their new chef, Yvonne Edgett. Go enjoy!

Kudos to all who are leading cleanup efforts across Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Village. The streets and roadways are looking better and better as time goes on.

Have a splendiferous, happy and blessed summertime season!