TCHA Membership meeting was held on Friday, January 27, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Towns County Recreation & Conference Center, located on Mining Gap Rd. Joan took membership renewals and new memberships as everyone entered. 62 members and 34 guests did sign in, but a number went to a second door, which was locked, and because it was cold, they were let in. Next time, to catch everyone entering, we need a sign on that door saying, “Go to other door.”
Dinner began at 6 p.m.; the Association provided beverages, silverware, plates, cups, ice, and chicken tenders and ham. Members brought side dishes and dessert. It was a good dinner.
Marsha Elliott and Frank Riley set up a FireWise display; Grace Howard set up a Hamilton Gardens at Lake Chatuge display; and Noel set up a TCHA display; all near the front door.
Starting the meeting, Noel welcomed members, public, and guest speakers: Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw; Sheriff Chris Clinton; HRWC Director Callie Moore; TVA Natural Resources Director Chris Cooper; DNR Steve Seitz, Ranger Dave Webb, and Kemmy Garrett; and local CG Aux. Flotilla 23 Cdr. John Nixon. All described what they do in regard to Lake Chatuge. Then there was a Q & A. period.
Commissioner thanked TCHA and the others who work to keep the lake water clean—so important for tourism. Sheriff helps TVA and DNR with enforcement on lake—call him with problems @ 706-781-4070, his cell. Callie is working presently on Owl Creek with a Mitigation Corp. studying impact of moving roads near streams—first study of its kind in state. DNA Seitz and Webb said there are 2,221 boats registered in T.C. They work with Coast Guard on free Boat Safety classes in summer. TVA Kemmy Garrett is local, takes care of areas around lake; when asked, Cooper said he didn’t think TVA policy on lake level would change any time soon. “When water downstream gets too hot, they pull cold water from north.” [I thought our water runs north?] Their police force in Murphy relies on local Sheriffs, call 1-800-TVA-LAND. Nixon said Coast Guard Aux. works with DNR on boating safety classes, patrols lake on weekends and holidays, does free vessel inspections and does search & rescue on lake. Wake board boats cause erosion at shoreline; Aux. could & would do monitoring on lake, but members need training.
Callie talked more about work done by HRWC, no sign of e-coli in lake; they need more volunteers and grants. Noel gave them a $500 check from TCHA.
A slide show depicted muddy water in Lake Chatuge on a busy summer day and many scenes of eroded shoreline.
Announcement: Grace Howard talked about Clean Sweep Week (April 15-22) in Towns County and introduced new leader for that, J.C. Berrong.