Montreat Minute 03/20/2020

Special Announcement: Greybeard Trail is OPEN!

As mentioned below, Greybeard Trail is open as of this afternoon. It remains unpaved. Weather permitting, it will be paved next week to complete the job.

COVID-19 Update

It seems that every media outlet is focusing on the coronavirus crisis. So, instead of telling you information you probably already know, here is some information that we feel is particularly pertinent to the Montreat community:

  • Town administrative staff continues to work from home, but all services continue as per normal. Call 828-669-8002 or email [email protected] for questions or comments.
  • Town Commission meetings have been suspended until further notice, which includes the scheduled April 9th meeting. All other Board, Committee and Commission meetings are cancelled as well. We’ll keep you informed of changes.
  • No water service will be disconnected due to non-payment during the crisis.
  • Building inspection services will continue as normal.
  • MRA has suspended all group gatherings until the end of April.
  • Montreat College has moved to online classes until further notice. President Paul Maurer sent an update via email earlier this week. To view Paul’s message on video, CLICK HERE.
  • Buncombe County drive through testing sites have been discontinued due to lack of supplies. Testing is still available through private providers.

Project Updates

Despite how COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, progress continues on major projects here at Montreat. And, it is all good news:

  • Town Hall—Inside, the major focus this week has been the installation of the stone floor in the main lobby area. It looks great, and many thanks to the generous donors that made it happen, along with other stonework in the building. Outside, the driveway and parking area was paved today, which will allow exterior work to pick up speed.

  • Public Works Building—Major progress was made this week with the pouring of the footings and the slab. The concrete needs to cure for a while, but building construction is expected to begin late next week or the following. After so many years of planning, it is wonderful to see this building coming to reality.

  • Greybeard Trail Reconstruction— As mentioned above, construction is complete and open for traffic! The contractor will pave the road next week (weather permitting) and the guardrail will be built by Town staff in the weeks ahead. It will look like the guardrails on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We are extremely grateful for everyone’s patience and complying with the challenging detour.

Meet Kitty Fouche, Montreat Town Commissioner

Kitty and her sons David (L) and Kevin (R) at a Gator’s football game.

Each month we feature a Montreat staff member or Board of Commission member. This month we’re featuring Commissioner Kitty Fouche.

It has to be God’s providence that someone who was born in Virginia, raised in Bluefield (WV) and Huntsville, educated in Knoxville and Gainesville, taught in Ocala, Pensacola and Columbus (GA), and had never heard of Montreat would end up retiring to this community and serving as a Town Commissioner! It was a circuitous route, but we are glad she found Montreat.

Kitty’s father was an entrepreneur and started businesses in Bluefield, WV, where his family was from and later in Huntsville, where the space program needed strong and creative vendors. Kitty left Huntsville to attend University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she graduated with a BS in Education, focusing on math and science. After marrying, they moved to Ocala, FL, to work and raise a family.  She taught high school math until the boys, Kevin and David, were born.

After an unfortunate divorce, Kitty “reinvented” herself by going back to school full time for a masters in math education at the University of Florida while single handedly raising her two sons. But, she didn’t stop there. She went on to earn her Ph.D. as a full time graduate student and full time graduate assistant. After receiving her Ph.D., she was recruited to the University of West Florida in Pensacola, where she taught math and was the Associate Dean of Science and Technology. Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, stole her away to head up their Centers of Excellence and also teach.

There must be something special about teaching, given she did it for more than 30 years in high school and higher education. “I just loved it,” Kitty said. “It’s all I ever wanted to do and I always wanted to teach math. I wanted people to like math as much as I did!”

How did she finally discover Montreat? In 1984, she and a friend traveled from Florida to spend a week here. Sitting on the front porch of their West Virginia Terrace rented cottage, Kitty stated, “I’m going to retire here someday.” And she never lost sight of that goal.

She bought her first house in Montreat on Kanawha in 2005, then moved permanently to Montreat in 2009. As with many permanent residents, she became involved in a variety of activities, including working at MRA as Volunteer Coordinator, serving as president of the Adult Summer Club and treasurer of the Cottagers, teaching a class at the College, and other volunteer duties. So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when she was encouraged to run for Town Commissioner in 2015. But she was surprised! She didn’t have any political experience and had never thought about being on the Town Council. She likes the challenge of being a Commissioner, saying “I enjoy being a part of something that makes a difference.”

When asked what she does in her spare time, she quipped “What spare time?” Her favorite pastime is people–  getting together with others (especially family) and, of course, porch sitting like she did that first time on West Virginia Terrace. She often travels to Florida to visit her two sons and their families, including five grandchildren. She also enjoys sewing and playing bridge. She used to keep and ride horses. But there are certain ordinances about keeping horses in residential areas, so she has given up on that particular passion.

What don’t people know about Kitty? Reflecting her sense of humor, she said, “They don’t know that I was a centerfold in a magazine! Actually, it was an ad for Ford trucks in Progressive Farmer. It’s a family shot, including my two boys and three ‘borrowed’ children. You can come see it at my house.”

In closing comments, Kitty said, “What a wonderful place Montreat is. I’m blessed to live in this community and to be able to serve is yet another blessing.”

Upcoming Meetings

As mentioned previously, all Board, Commission and Committee meetings have been canceled until further notice.

Burning Questions?

Do you have Town-related questions you would like answered? If so, please send them to Angela Murphy at [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have a great weekend.