Editor's Note: This Trenton Runaround contains an important date change: The Dade Chamber of Commerce luncheon with a speaker on TSPLOST has been changed from Friday, April 20, to Thursday, April 19, to accommodate the speaker's schedule. The luncheon is at noon and costs $10.
It's spring! And as this basket of double impatiens from The Lily Pad in Trenton reminds us, that's the time to plant flowers! Roll in the dirt! Landscape the yard! And while you do that, please remember that all five of our local garden centers are family operations, owned and operated by local people. Patronizing them not only beautifies your garden, it also nourishes the Dade economy.
Thus our local horticultural emporia will figure prominently among the snippets of pithy local nooz and announcements of excitin' upcomin's in this vernal orbit of--
The Trenton Runaround!
Let's start with the aforementioned Lily Pad, run by Liz Riddle. The place is right in Trenton, just north of the town square on Highway 11. It is open year-round--Liz sells mums in the fall, Christmas trees in the winter and quilting goods in all seasons. But spring is her boom time and The Pad is filling up with flowers, ferns and bedding plants as we speak. Come get 'em! says Liz. Hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Spring is also a great time to hang out at Dade's biggest tourist attraction, Cloudland Canyon State Park. The park's nonprofit Friends group urges locals not to leave all the fun to the tourists--why not come to some of the fun events they organize yourself? This upcoming Thursday, April 5, the Friends will host their third square dance at the park--$8 stat, $15 couples, 7-8:30 p.m.
at the park's group shelter. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., snacks and drinks will be sold, and kids under 12 get in free. Then, on Saturday, there will be free bluegrass at Pavilion 2 from 6:30-8 p.m. and one of the Park's popular Star Party astronomical evenings at 8 p.m. For more information, call the park at (706) 657-4050.
And dancing is great, but don't forget spring is also wildflower time at the canyon, as attested by this field of swoon-inducin' fringed phacelia on the Sitton's Gulch trail. Hike free with your Georgia annual Park Pass (the Dade library has a couple you can check out gratis) or pay the $5 Georgia State Parks parking fee. OR book a wildflower identification hike with the park's outfitter, G3 Adventures--g3adventures.com or (706) 913-7370.
The reader with any luck now glazed over by the flower porn, this seems a perfect time to slip in a not-so-scintillatin' news snippet: The Dade County Industrial Development (IDA) board of directors met briefly on Monday and finalized its agreement with the Dade Water Authority to extend the sewer to a Wildwood property. This means that if a mystery industry decides to buy the land, the landowner will pay $300,000 for the water authority to extend the sewer.
Economic development is a speculative biz and IDAland's got ifs like Alabama's got potholes. The board heard a brief report from Nextsite 360, a specialized firm it hired to lure more retail business to Dade. No developments there: "It's pretty much the same story," said IDA director Peter Cervelli. "They're trying to market us."
Cervelli and other county officials will go to a big Ec Dev do in Atlanta next week to try to market us themselves. Who knows what will come of it? And Cervelli briefly
mentioned a "Project Hercules"--in the ec-dev biz, prospective investors are known only by code names while competing counties and cities vamp them with tax breaks, free land and other incentives--as more a might-have-been than a solid if. "My guess is they decided to do something else," said Cervelli.
IDA Chairman Nathan Wooten brought up an exciting new if: a company that vends to Vanguard that was interested in a property close to or adjoining the truck trailer plant IDA brought to Dade in 2015. "They would be happy if there was a gate they could open and go from one parking lot to the other," said Wooten.
Cervelli said representatives from the Appalachian Regional Commission are due in town shortly to discuss rules for administering the long-awaited ARC grant that will be channeled through the Trenton city government for the ultimate goal of finishing paving Vanguard Road.
The board held a brief executive, or closed-door, session to discuss personnel, but came back with nothing to announce. IDA is in the process of interviewing candidates to replace Cervelli, who retires this summer.
So. Ready to go back to flowers? So is The Planet! In the spring, plant nurseries are for the gardener what shoe stores are to the shopoholic and bars are to the tosspot. Dade is low on shoe stores and bars, but have we got nurseries!
Glass Farm Nursery (right), located on Highway 11 South between Trenton and Rising Fawn, has now opened up for the season. Spring hours are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Glass Farm closes during the summer months and reopens in September for the fall business. It carries a full range of flowers, vegetables, herbs and shrubs, that are to the gardener what T-strap wedgies and dry martinis are to your shoe shopper and your drinker, respectively.
Bethune's Garden Center, located on 136 West halfway up Sand Mountain from Trenton, in a hairpin turn that is not for the weak of heart, is open all year round but has extended spring hours because it, too, wants your Flower Frenzy business: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, closed Saturday but open 1-5 p.m. on Sunday!
Go on up the mountain past the Alabama state line and Cagle's Farm Store is on your right in a mile or so. Before you get there, Crocker Farms (below) is on your left, just after the state line. If you're going to all three from Trenton, do yourself a favor and go all the way to Cagle's, shop there first, then hit Crocker's and Bethune's on the way down, so
they're both right turns. You'll save years on your life avoiding that perilous left into Bethune's as eastbound Sand Mountainites careen down the mountain with their feet against the metal and death in their eyes.
Cagle's is an old-fashioned feed-and-seed where smiling lads will measure out your seeds for you and load your car. Crocker's has flowers and vegetable plants--it specializes in growing transplants for farmers--and also carries Amish farm products such as cheeses and butter.
While the Planet is is rotating around Sand
Mountain, let us take a minute to remind all that the annual Davis Volunteer Fire Department benefit barbecue is on April 21. The do is not up top this year but at the foot of the mountain in the Food Outlet parking lot, and the Q will be dished out starting at 10 a.m.
And speaking of Food Outlet, as evidenced by this Vote No sign in the window, the grocery store is Kill-the-TSPLOST Central due to the activism of its politically outspoken manager, Ron Weeks. TSPLOST--the transportation special purpose local option sales tax--would raise Dade County's sales tax by a penny if voters say yes to a referendum on the measure on May 22. The Vote No signs, distributed by Weeks, can be seen all over the county. The other side has not been as visible
TSPLOST proponents argue Dade sorely needs the extra cent to pay for longed-for transportation projects such as sidewalks, especially near the schools, and a north Trenton highway exit.
(Photo: High schooler Cora McCoy walks home from school on busy, often shoulderless Highway 136 East.)
County commissioners have spoken of, but not yet announced, community meetings on TSPLOST. Meanwhile,
though, a Dade Chamber of Commerce luncheon is planned for Thursday, April 19, at which Seth Millican (left) of the Georgia Transportation Alliance will speak about TSPLOST. The catered luncheon is at noon in the Dade Administrative Building and costs $10. No reservation is necessary, but call the chamber at (706) 657-4488 if you need more information.
And speaking of public forums, local news station KWN will host a debate for local political candidates on Thursday, April 19, at the Dade County Public Library. Candidates such as Jane
Dixon (right), who is running as a Republican for the District 1 Commission seat to be vacated this year by Mitchell Smith, will have a chance to present themselves, their qualifications and their views to the public. Times have not yet been announced--watch these pages!
And speaking of watching these pages, and speaking of presenting themselves to the public, candidates who have not already done so are encouraged to send their announcements and photos to email@example.com. The Planet tries to grant maximum coverage to matters political in Dade County, but if candidates do not show their faces at public meetings,
and further exacerbate the situation by not sending in mugs of 'em, The Planet does not know who they are and can only shake its head sadly as they slip anonymously closer to the May 22 primary.
All right. If the political references have left a sour taste in your mouth, how's about another quick dose of flowers? At left, Karen Persinger points out a budding bluebell at Rising Fawn Gardens.
Karen and her husband, Steve Persinger, shown at right at the home they have built on the property, have bought and extended the old Peewee Payne pavilion site on Lookout Creek at Cureton Mill and now operate it as Rising Fawn Gardens. As it was in Peewee's day, the beautiful creekfront pavilion is available as a venue for weddings or other large gatherings. The Persingers also built a separate facility they book as a retreat for yoga or church
Additionally, there are occasional "Open Farm" days at Rising Farm Gardens. If you're interested, please visit risingfawngardens.com.
The Planet will have more on it closer to the date, but no roundup of spring events would be complete without a mention of the county annual fundraiser festival for its own seriously ill citizens. The Dade Festival of Life will be on Saturday, April 14, on the Trenton town square. This photo is of its famous Purple Run in a year past.
And finally, if all this orbitin' around the county has left you with an appetite, let's wind up with some local eateries that may not have pinged your radar screen yet.
The Lil' Chicken Coop, tucked right next to Citizens Bank at Crabtree and Main, is the new sit-down-or-take-out café run by Lynda Ditmar, the chicken sandwich queen of America who made the old Jo Mama's Wraps Trenton's favorite Friday
For a while, Lynda sold her signature wraps and sandwiches out of a food trailer on Jacoway and later on Crabtree. Now she's renovated a small space in the Crabtree building that can seat about a dozen.
Lynda serves a $6 complete-lunch special and usually has one of her famous homemade soups or pasta salads on sale, so space can get pretty tight in there of a Friday noon. But if you can't get in, not to worry--she still delivers. Hours are Monday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; call (423) 645-3808.
And finally, let us not forget that Dade still has a homegrown source for breakfast and meat-and-three lunches right in its own American Legion Hall. Cafe 106, located inside Legion Post 106 on Highway 11 North, opens at 6 a.m. Monday-Saturday for breakfast and serves lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Catfish plates are on special every Friday.
Unless struck by a meteorite or blown up to make room for an intergalactic bypass, The Dade Planet will continue to report further on all of the events, institutions and issues mentioned above. Until then, this has been yet another periodic installment of your faithful news service from the center of the universe--
The Trenton Runaround!