Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tupelo Scores Again

In today's Richmond Times Dispatch, it was reported that Tupelo, Mississippi will be the home of it's newest U.S. manufacturing plant which will be dedicated to the manufacture of the Highlander SUV.

The $1.3 million facility (similar in capital outlay as the Dominion Power plant project being planned for Virginia City) will be constructed on a 1,700 acre site.

Both Tennessee and Arkansas were in contention and further down the list was Virginia (somewhere within the Roanoke Valley).

I'm anxious to talk to Vaughn Grisham to understand the dynamics of Toyota's decision and how Tupelo rose to the challenge.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Community Development in Gwinnett Co, Georgia

Attached is a recent article featuring bold economic development activities in Gwinnette County, Georgia. The article describes how Gwinnett plans to launch a five-year economic and community development plan to create over 65,400 new jobs the Gwinnett Chamber plans to implement. Partnership Gwinnett plans to create more than 65,400 new jobs and $5.8 billion in net new wealth over next five years.

This is certainly a much larger initiative that The Gap Partnership, but I think it describes what is possible with vision, a "do-able" strategy and resources to support the initiative.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wellness Center Letters of Support

We need letters of support for a VTSF grant to do a feasibility study for our Community Wellness Center. If you or your agency/company would be willing to do one, please send me an email at I'll send the information about who to write and what needs to be included in the letter. Thanks in advance.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blog Training

We were able to get some "blog training" in today, in spite of the weather. We were small in numbers, but Barbara Polly, Tony Palubicki and Ray Moore were attentive students. Thanks guys for your interest in this important communications tool!

Performing Arts

We are in the process of meeting with Thompson & Litton to review designs for the new Performing Arts Center. When we are notified by T-L, we will schedule a meeting for the committee to review.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

BSG Movie

John Peace and I had a phone conversation today with Adri and her producer and I am pleased to report that we had a very productive discussion and things continue to move forward in a positive way to bring the movie to Big Stone Gap!

Restaurant Committee Update

I recently met with a potential restaurant developer and reviewed the Stringer's building property. He is very interested and we will be pursueing this opportunity in the upcoming weeks. We are also looking into other avenues to continue to develop new restaurants in the Gap.


Who's In Charge?

Today we met as a group with Anita Wade, Lee Stallard, Patti Cantrell and me to discuss the next steps of how we could merge the GAP Corporation with the Bridging the Gap group. We had thoughtful discussions and identified where the common ground existed between the two organizations and the strengths of both groups.

We are challenged by putting together a sustainable organization relying upon ALL the assets we have to draw upon in this wonderful community.

Since we have a limited time to meet (in approximately 1 hour increments), we agreed to meet again in two weeks. Our next meeting we plan to have a more formal discussion of the bylaws of the GAP Corporation with the hope that that document could be the basis from which to move forward.

Additionally, Skip has been invited to appear before the next Big Stone Gap Planning Committee to address that group about how we can work together. We are excited that the Town has extended its hand in such a manner and we hopefully will have something positive to report after that meeting. I would like to invite anyone who would like to attend the Planning Commission meeting to do so. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 12, 2007 beginning at 5:30 P.M. in the Big Stone Gap Municipal Building.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Improved Communication through 'The Post'

As part of the communications team, I will be working with Ida H to add a weekly notice to 'The Post,' the local Big Stone Gap newspaper. As our team leader contact information progresses and my own time allows, I will hopefully be able to contact any groups/teams that have met each week in order to add something to the Bridging the Gap NEWS column. For now, I'd love to hear from YOU if there is something you deem newsworthy or would like to share. This is your opportunity to update the community on BTG happenings, team projects and plans, special training opportunities and upcoming speakers or guests, requests for new team members, etc. The BTG NEWS will reach all readers of The Post. In order to get things to Ida in a timely manner, I will ask that you get your information to me for possible editing and inclusion no later Thursday evening of each week. Our space will be limited, so please keep your team contributions short and to the point , being certain to include any necessary details like dates, times, places and whom to contact for more information. I'D LOVE TO HAVE SOMETHING FOR THIS WEEK!
Thanks! - H

Please visit our WalkAmerica TEAM REESIE website and take steps to prevent premature birth. The Volk family is proud to be the 2007 STATE OF VIRGINIA March of Dimes AMBASSADOR FAMILY. :)

Sunday, February 4, 2007

What We Can Learn from Scouting

At Trinity United Methodist Church today, we observed Scout Sunday." Scout Sunday coincides with every February 8th which is considered the anniversary the Scouting movement was started in the U.S.

Scoutmaster Wes Polly gave us an overview of how U.S. Businessman William D. Boyce was in London on business and lost his way in a thick fog. A small boy who identified himself as a scout offered to help him. The businessman took the young man up on his offer. Once they had found the address the businessman was seeking, he attempted to provide the scout a tip, which he refused stating his desire as a scout to do "a good turn." This episode so impressed Mr. Boyce that he insisted on learning more about the movement and brought it back to the U.S. with him where he started the movement here.

Isn't it a wonderful example of how a small boy on a foggy street in London can be the impetus for a movement now numbering nearly 3 million?

I tell this story because isn't that what The Gap Partnership is all about, doing a good turn for our neighbor? We are neighbors helping neighbors, and in the end, the good turns will expand exponentially and help move Big Stone Gap from Good to Great!

Friday, February 2, 2007

Good to Great

In Jim Collins book, Good to Great, companies were identified which asked themselves, "What service or product can we produce and be the best in the world." In this age of mediocrity, they wished to identify what had the most important opportunity to impact their business.

Collins went on to say that the reason we don't have great government is because we have good government. Same holds true for most businesses, we have good businesses. Could the same argument be made about schools and colleges? We are sometimes our own worse enemy. Because we are many times satisfied by "good enough" we don't put into place those practices that would make these organizations truly great.

During our Executive Committee meeting on Thursday, February 1, we started identifying what we thought could be the single thing that sets Big Stone Gap apart. We had a lot of discussion about being the best place in the coalfields or the LENOWISCO Planning District to live. What do we need to do as a community to be greatest place to live in the region? Could it be more housing opportunities, a premiere park system, or maybe scholarship availability for our youth?

What sets the Big Stone Gap community apart?

This is what our partnership is all about. Getting the GAP to discuss what is important and how do we make it better. I hope you will think about this and start offering your thoughts. We cannot afford to be apathetic. We've got to identify the opportunities, roll up our sleeves and get to work! Some have already begun that work. When you see them on the street or in the grocery store, thank them, and ask what you can do to help them.

The Executive Committee plans to pull together the full membership of Bridging the Gap soon to
review our discussions and to verify we are all on the same page as we move forward with planning. Keep checking in on the progress of this committee as well as the others that will be posted here.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Better Communication Strategy

Because we have a number of initiatives on-going simultaneously, I suggest we try some "team-blogging." If everyone who heads up a particular focus group would take a few minutes to report on your activities on a regular basis, we could all feel like we have the latest information available. Furthermore, if you would invite your individual committee members to check-in, they would be up to date on the happenings of the various other groups.

Groups and their various leaders include:

  • Executive Committee: Patti Cantrell and Skip Skinner
  • Restaurant Committee: Geneva O'Quinn
  • Communications Committee Glenda Collins & Tabitha Peace
  • Wellness Center: Nancy Bailey
  • Youth Focus Area: Sandra Neece & Shirley Smith
  • Performing Arts: Barbara Polly
  • Community Flag Project: Ron Short & Nancy Toney
  • Community Chest: Tony Palubicki
  • Beautification: Peg Jeffries & Tori Smith
  • FROG (Friends of the Greenbelt): Heather Volk
  • Seniors: Stan Botts, Jr.
  • Music Festival - Gathering in the Gap: Sharon Ewing
  • Singing Convention: Paul Kuczko
  • Tourism Strategic Plan: Anita Wade
  • Big Stone Gap Movie Committee: Geneva O'Quinn & Beth Hagan

I'll send out invitations to these individuals inviting them to be authors on this blog. I hope you find this helpful.

In order to organize the various posts, please include your group or committee name under the Label window. By using labels, your readers can quickly navigate to news from your particular group by clicking on the label name from the upper right-hand column of the page.

If you need assistance with "basic blogging," be sure to read the help suggestions. Happy Blogging!