Montreat Minute 10/30/2020

Welcome Officer Dixon

Earlier today the newest Montreat Police Department patrol officer was sworn in by Town Administrator Alex Carmichael with Town Clerk Angie Murphy and Chief of Police David Arrant as witnesses. Michael “Mike” Dixon comes to us with more than 25 years of patrol experience. Most recently he worked for the NC Department of Health and Human Services where he served as a patrol officer and currently works with the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol officer. Mike will be working days, so be sure to welcome him when you see him. He and his wife life in the Swannanoa area.


Right of Way Parking Claims

We have become aware of the increasing number of resident “reserved parking” signs that are being installed on Town right-of-way property. Many homes without driveways have a Right-of-Way Agreement with the Town for parking, usually on the Town right-of-way. It is against the Right-of-Way Agreement and Town ordinances to claim reserved status for such parking, as the land is public property. If you have erected reserved parking signs, please remove them so you are not in violation of Town ordinances and agreements. If you are unsure if your parking area is part of the Right-of-Way agreement, please contact Town staff at 828/669-8002, x1 or write info@townofmontreat.org.


Seeking Your Thoughts on Stormwater Management

The Town is working with the Land of Sky Regional Council (LOSRC) and Blue Earth Planning, Engineering and Design to develop a steep-slope stormwater management concept plan to help address flooding and infrastructure damage. LOSRC and Public Works have completed a stormwater system inventory, and Blue Earth has completed a stream assessment. Both tasks are inputs to the plan along with stream monitoring, which is being conducted by Montreat College professor Joshua Holbrook and his students.

We are also seeking your input on any issues you notice during or after it rains. Please take a few minutes to fill out and complete this three question survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/montreatstorm.


Meet Virginia “Gin” Johnson, Montreat Police Department

Each month we feature a Montreat Town staff member or Town Council member. This month we are featuring Montreat Patrol Officer Gin Johnson.




Gin Johnson (front) with her boyfriend
Mike Rogers (back) and his daughter, Lily.

Virginia “Gin” Johnson knew since she graduated from high school that she wanted to be a police officer. But her life and interests took her in different directions for a while. But thanks to her perseverance and desire to achieve her goal, she became a Montreat Police Officer in September 2019. We are glad she persevered.

Gin was raised in Cherokee, NC, on the Cherokee reservation. She is proud of her Native American heritage, which includes a native mix of Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw. Growing up on the reservation was a unique experience for Gin. “I had the luxury of growing up in my own culture and knowing the history of my people,” Gin commented. The downside, as she said, was the small size of the reservation. More people than Montreat, but still a small community! Her favorite childhood memories are walking in the mountains on the reservation and Park, swinging on vines then dropping into the cold mountain streams, collecting salamanders and simply enjoying the beautiful outdoors that Cherokee offers.

After high school, she worked various jobs then went to basic law enforcement training (BLET). She became a private security officer working in the reservation casino. It was a stressful job, as her primary duties were escorting money (tens of thousands!) within the casino as well as event security. She commented that one of the most challenging events was working security for the Chippendales, an all male dance troupe that drew huge crowds. “Some of those women in the audience were really difficult to deal with”, Gin quipped.

She also owned her own mixed martial arts gym and taught martial arts. Many people are surprised to know that Gin competed as a boxer for seven years. But, the image of a boxer defies who she really is. “At first, people think I’m aggressive,” said Gin. “But in reality, I’m laid back, hard to anger. I’m approachable despite how I might project when I’m in a uniform.”

Gin works the night shift at Montreat, working from 6:00pm to 6:00am, and loves it! “I’m not a daytime person,” she said. “I like the quiet, peaceful nature of the night shift. Because of my love of the woods and outdoors, I particularly like working at Montreat and the night shift. I see lots of wildlife. I’m known as the ‘critter whisperer’- I stop and enjoy the deer, bears, foxes and other life that comes out at night.” She also enjoys the interaction with people in the early evening, meeting people as they are walking or intercepting them for perhaps driving too fast. She’s often called by Black Mountain to aid in a search of female subjects, as BM has a shortage of female officers working nights. One thing she is proud of: suspects she pulls over or apprehends often thank her for being kind to them. “One of them actually thanked me for taking them to jail!”, Jen laughed. It fits with her philosophy of policing. “It doesn’t need to be harder than it has to be.”

When not working nights, Gin enjoys spending time with her family and her boyfriend, Mike, and his daughter, Lily. As you might expect of a former martial arts instructor, she spends plenty of time at the gym. She also keeps up her skills by practicing at the shooting range. On the softer side, she loves to garden, with succulents being her passion.

We’re fortunate to have Gin on the Montreat Police force. If you haven’t met her, take time to introduce yourself to “gentle Gin”.


Other Important Information

  • The Montreat Landcare Committee will meet virtually on Wednesday, October 4, at 9:00am. Please see their website for details.
  • The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet on Thursday, November 5, at 10:30am. Please check the website (www.townofmontreat.org) for details and how to participate virtually.
  • The Montreat Town Council will have its monthly meeting on Thursday, November 12, at 7:00pm. The meeting will be preceded by the Public Forum at 6:30. More information about how to participate will be in next week’s Montreat Minute.
  • Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday if you haven’t already. The Montreat precinct voting location is First Baptist Church on Montreat Road in Black Mountain.

Questions?

Do you have Town-related questions you would like answered? If so, please send them to Angela Murphy at info@townofmontreat.org and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Stay well and have a great weekend.

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