Rainfall Report, Polk County News Now For Sale, Hemlock Clinic Update, Project Chimp Reprises Local Fears

We’ve has almost an inch of rain since my last report. About 3/4″ came yesterday. It probably did a lot of good, because it started fairly gently, and went on that way for quite a while. I know that it rained hard the day before on the west side of Blue Ridge, near the county line, so I’m sure other areas of the county got more.

I was sad to learn that the Polk County News is for sale. The paper has been continuously published for some 133 years. It was purchased by Ingrid and Randy Buehler in 1983. They were both newspaper people, and I believe they moved from Baltimore to take the reins. Ingrid was a true, old fashioned newspaper professional, and she reported the news personally for years without a trace of the scurrilous nonsense that the other local papers of the time made their stock in trade. Ingrid died in 2012, and the torch passed to her daughter Cheryl. In an opinion piece in the August 10 issue, Cheryl says that she is unable to continue, and that she is actively seeking a buyer. I couldn’t find the column online, but it may appear there eventually. It’s a bad day for Polk County, but I’m afraid that it had to happen.

In my last column, I mentioned that there is a Hemlock Clinic scheduled for August 27 at the Chamber of Commerce in Blue Ridge. A link to the flyer with all the information is in the previous column. If you’ve seen any white stuff on your hemlocks, you need to go to the clinic session, which lasts an hour. As I’ve said many times before, it’s a lot cheaper to treat them than to cut them down. And, it helps preserve your property’s value. There’s a nice account of the last one in the Fannin Sentinel, which might be helpful to those of you who wonder if you want to go, or who want to familiarize yourself with the issue. You’ll have to scroll down to get to it, but here’s a link to the latest issue of the Sentinel online.


You’ll have to scroll further down to see it, but there’s also an article on Project Chimp, which has purchased the old Gorilla Haven on Lowery Road. (Minus most of the trees, which the previous owner clear cut before moving on.) The project seems to have taken on not only the facility but the xenophobic hostility the Gorilla Haven endured. The main issue seems to be that the locals are fearful that the chimps are going to miscegenate with their innocent daughters and produce Godless, liberal offspring. The county commissioners are only doing their duty to the taxpayers by holding the project up until they can assure themselves and their constituents that veterinary science is real. It’s all a near perfect recapitulation of the original hysteria over the Gorilla Haven. As I recall, it was Ace Hagebeck who presciently capped that discussion. In a letter to the editor, he wrote, “All things considered, I’d rather have a chimp as a neighbor than a Floridian.”

For those of you who may still be operating in the “reality based community,” here’s a link to their website.


Those people in My Mountain who complained to the commissioners? We can guess who they are ….



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