Winter Not Letting Go, More Ecological Reading, Downtown Parking

Winter is definitely not letting go quite yet, even though it has been a long and cold one by our standards. It was 28 this morning, and spitting a little grapply sleet as I left for the office. On the other hand, we’re starting to see birds we don’t see all winter, like eastern bluebirds, and I think it really is trying to be spring. I’m expecting it to bounce back and forth for the next three weeks or so, and then settle into real spring.

As I’ve mentioned before, the city council election led to the obstructionist(s) being voted out, and the new council is seemingly on the same page, and making some progress. Against, of course, the furious opposition of the publisher of the News Observer. This confirms the old adage, “If there are two sides to every issue, the News Observer will be on the wrong one.” In any case, they’ve worked out a deal with the Blue Ridge Hotel people – they are the ones who bought the old Temple Baptist property on West Main Street. It’s basically for about six months. The city is going to operate the vacant lot as a parking lot, and split the proceeds with the owner fifty-fifty, after expenses. That should open up about 300 spaces, hopefully giving us some breathing room as a long term solution is sought. It looks like the cost will be $5. They’re also talking about a shuttle from the old state farmer’s market.

Winter is a good time to catch up on some reading, and I finished another book on Appalachian ecology, Mountain Nature: A Seasonal Natural History of the Southern Appalachians, by Jennifer Frick-Ruppert. It’s a little drier reading than the Constanz book I mentioned a few days ago, but it’s more of a thorough, through the seasons approach. I learned a lot from it, as she highlights the most interesting things that happen in each seasonal cycle. It also has some very nice color plates.

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