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Thanks for understanding
Throughout my 40 years with the NPS, I have been grateful for the mutual support provided by staff, visitors, and community members aligned with a common interest, such as the events held to celebrate the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 75th Anniversary in 2010. As Superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, I come to you now requesting your support and understanding of the reasons for the unkempt appearance of the Parkway.
Earlier this spring, the Blue Ridge Parkway family suffered a tragic loss as a mowing accident took the life of Dana Bruce, one of our employees. Immediately following the accident, investigators from within the National Park Service and from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted thorough reviews. Final reports from those reviews are not yet available, but we are already modifying the way we do business to ensure that we are addressing our employees’ safety.
Mowing operations were immediately suspended here and throughout the National Park System until operational analyses, equipment inspections, and employee training are completed. Parkway staff is reviewing equipment, standard operating procedures, and overall mowing policy. All of these efforts are aimed at creating a safer work environment for Parkway personnel. Given the variety of terrain and equipment used, and the Parkway’s 469 mile length, this is an extensive undertaking.
During this process, the maintenance of the Parkway landscape will suffer. Grass and weeds are already higher than we or our visitors and neighbors are accustomed to expect. We understand the unkempt vegetation is attractive to snakes and ticks and we caution Parkway users to be more aware of these native inhabitants.
We will resume maintaining the roadway landscape in phases through a slow and deliberate process, based on lessons learned in the accident investigation and subsequent operational analyses. With employee safety as the top priority, steep slopes and embankments may no longer be mowed to previous standards and some roadside shoulders may receive less mowing.
Thanks to all of our partners, neighbors, visitors, and those who love the Parkway for your support, understanding and patience during this period.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Sigmon/Pavlik announcers biased
During the ESPN2 fight between Kelly Pavlik and Scott Sigmon I have never witnessed a more biased boxing commentary.
I fully realize that Pavlik was heavily favored to win. The referee controlled the fight well, and it was good to see ESPN2 give a local person this chance. But the announcers, Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore, took little effort to learn anything positive about our own local boxer, Scott Sigmon.
He has worked hard for eight years for a chance to be on national television. Fight viewers would have liked to see something about him before the match, but the announcers had their own agenda. The former champion Pavlik had several video clips about his personal struggle. Not one positive comment was mentioned about Sigmon as a fighter or person before the boxing match, yet this was the “main event” of the evening.
During the fight Joe Tessitore accused Sigmon of intentionally head butting. Kelly Pavlik’s face was not cut after the fight which means that it did not happen. I have seen a number of Sigmon’s fights but have never seen him intentionally head butt anyone.
Because of a bad cut over Scott’s eye, the fight doctor stopped it in the 7th round. The decision to stop the fight was a good one, yet Scott was making Pavlik fight his fight and was still standing and throwing punches when it was stopped.
Pavlik acted with class saying that Scott was in great shape for the fight. Teddy Atlas words about Scott being soft competition were not true. Scott has won the Atlantic super middleweight belt, the WBO USA Super middleweight belt, and has had some exciting wins in his career.
I do not know of any local boxer who has done as well as he has. I personally know him and can tell anyone what a fine man he is. He is willing to help anyone who loves boxing as much as he does. I hope anyone who is a boxing fan in our area has a long memory about how Scott was treated by these supposedly unbiased ESPN2 boxing announcers.