It’s four degrees on the porch this morning. It doesn’t feel as cold as yesterday, because yesterday’s killer wind isn’t blowing. But that’s extremely cold by our standards. Unless you winterized or at least turned off the water at the curb box, it might be a good idea to have someone check your cabin. If you haven’t done it already, have them open up the sink vanities, especially if they sit on an outside wall, so the air can circulate. That’s the place I see the most frozen pipes.
In environmental news, the city of Ducktown has applied for a grant to improve the cloverleaf at Hwy 68 and Hwy 64. (This plays into the proposed building of a bypass of the Ocoee Gorge on Hwy 64, where a new tunnel option is being considered, along with the new road through the Cherokee National Forest that’s been the preferred option thus far.) The justification, of course, is the new casino being built in Murphy, which everyone thinks is going to make them rich. I’m told that the cities of Blairsville and Murphy are contacting downtown Blue Ridge business owners to try to induce them to move their businesses to their cities. While it’s clear that there will be some economic benefit to Murphy itself from the casino, I really don’t expect it to benefit either Blairsville or Ducktown, because while people may drive through these places on the way to the casino, I don’t think they are apt to stop there, or to leave the casino to drive fifteen or twenty miles for lodging or dinner. The Speaker of the Georgia House, Fannin County native David Ralston, said in a “issues and answers” session the other day that the traffic counts that are being thrown about are inflated and don’t justify making a priority of four-laning Spur 60 to from Mineral Bluff to North Carolina. I agree with him on that issue, and I think the economic benefit to Murphy itself is inflated, simply because I expect most people to spend all of their time in Murphy at the casino, except maybe for buying gas. Ralston did say, however, that widening Hwy 5 from Blue Ridge to McCaysville/Copperhill was a priority. Since he’s the most powerful man in Georgia, I expect that means that it will happen.