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  • Fire Officials Ask Residents To Postpone Outside Burning Until Significant Rainfall

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 10:07 am
    NC Forest Logo

    April 1, 2015. N.C. Forest Service and the Watauga County Fire Marshal’s Office recommend that due to the dry weather and strong winds open burning should be postponed until after 4 p.m. today or until Watauga County gets some significant rainfall. / Read more…

  • Everts To Be Installed as ASU’s 7th Chancellor April 17, Gov. McCrory & Rep. Foxx to Speak

    Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 4:57 pm
    Chancellor Sheri Everts

    March 31, 2015. Dr. Sheri N. Everts will be installed as Appalachian State University’s seventh chancellor on Friday, April 17, in the Holmes Convocation Center on campus. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. The public is invited. Judge Gary L. Henderson, an Appalachian graduate, will administer the oath of office. Speakers at the installation include N.C. Gov. Patrick L. McCroy, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, N.C. Rep. and Appalachian alumnus Nelson Dollar, UNC President Thomas W. Ross and Chancellor Everts. / Read more…

  • Cooler Weather in Forecast for ASM’s Middle Fork Greenway Easter Ski Fundraiser

    Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Easter eggs iMarch 31, 2015. Easter Weekend is fast approaching and cooler weather is on the way. While folks might be dreading temperatures in the low 30’s next weekend, it’s a good forecast for the Easter Weekend fundraiser that Appalachian Ski Mtn. is spearheading for the benefit of the Middle Fork Greenway. So far nearly 50 businesses are participating in donating a portion of revenues from business during Easter Weekend. In February, Appalachian Ski Mtn. President Brad Moretz announced an extended ski season at the resort through Easter Weekend – Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5 – and that all ski-ticket sales on Saturday will be donated to the Middle Fork Greenway initiative. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Joe Chamberlain named 2015 Realtor of the Year by High Country Association of Realtors

    Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 10:33 am

    March 31, 2015. Early in his career, Joe Chamberlain learned how to react to the unexpected. More than once the Ashe County realtor would be busy taking potential buyers to a property for sale when the hazards of mountain driving called for quick action. “I can recall on a few occasions having to yell for clients to get out of my vehicle as I found myself sliding back down an icy road towards a steep cliff,” he said. / Read more…

  • Samaritan’s Purse Deploys Disaster Relief Team to Oklahoma Tornado Disasater

    Monday, March 30, 2015 at 10:38 am

    A series of dangerous tornadoes swept through eastern Oklahoma last Wednesday, leaving behind massive devastation. The tornado killed one person in the Tulsa suburb of Sand Springs and injured at least two dozen.

    March 30, 2015. Help is on the way for victims of three deadly tornadoes that hit several towns in eastern Oklahoma on Wednesday. On Thursday, international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse deployed disaster relief experts from its headquarters in North Carolina to help tornado victims with cleanup efforts. / Read more…

  • Dusting of Snow on Friday Morning, Cold Weather To Remain Through Weekend

    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 10:31 am March 27, 2015. Some residents of the High Country woke up to a dusting of snow before the rain washed it away. The chilly weather will continue through the weekend.’s forecast notes that Boone will have a low of 22 on Friday, low of 19 on Saturday and a low of about 33 on Sunday and Monday. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • AAA Foundation Safety Research: Driving, Teen Crashes Even Worse Than We Thought

    Friday, March 27, 2015 at 9:28 am

    March 26, 2015. The most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely a much more serious problem than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. / Read more…

  • Gas Prices Jump in the High Country, Hovering at $2 Per Gallon a Thing of the Past

    Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm March 26, 2015. In the past few days gas prices in the High Country jumped about 10 cents, continuing a slow and steady trend upward since dipping to nearly $2 per gallon in January. In late January, prices around the Boone area reached as low as $2.09. With a nearly 40-cent increase in the past couple of months, drivers are paying nearly $5 more to fill up their 12-gallon tank or about $7 more to fill up their 18-gallon tank at the pump. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • ASU’s Greg Lovins Talks Campus Construction Projects, Housing, Tuition, Enrollment & Safety

    Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 11:51 am
    asu logo

    March 26, 2015. Appalachian State University’s Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Greg Lovins gave updates on upcoming construction projects, housing plans, campus safety, tuition increases, projected enrollment and more at a Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Community University Engagement Committee meeting on Wednesday afternoon. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Watauga Manager ‘Strongly’ Opposes Sales Tax Redistribution Bill Unveiled by Republican

    Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 11:01 am

    March 26, 2015. After N.C. Senate Majority Harry Brown, a Republican in Onslow County, unveiled a plan to redistribute sales tax revenue in the state from urban to rural areas, Watauga County Manager Deron Geouque reached out to local representatives, N.C. Sen. Dan Soucek and N.C. Rep. Jonathan Jordan, “strongly” opposing the proposal. Watauga County is just one of a handful of counties in the state that would see a loss in revenues with Brown’s plan. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Parking Meter Installation in Downtown Boone Taking Place This Week, Learn More

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Smart meters are currently being installed in downtown Boone. Once installed, they are “live.”

    March 25, 2015. Smart meters are currently being installed in downtown Boone. The Town of Boone has created a website devoted to the meter program for education purposes. The website features frequently asked questions, survey, video, explanation of the solar-powered meters work and more. Inside is pertinent information from the Downtown Boone Development Association about the new parking management system. / Read more…

  • WYN Receives $5,000 in SABP&T Block Grant Funding for Healthy Snack Initiative

    Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    March 25, 2015. Western Youth Network (WYN) received $5,000 in funding from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant to begin implementing comprehensive health initiatives in the after school program. This funding has allowed WYN to offer healthy snacks and nutrition education for all of the students enrolled. / Read more…

  • High Country Association of Realtors Monthly Report: Real Estate Sales Brisk in February

    Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 9:45 am

    March 24, 2015. A month heavy with snow proved to be among the busiest for local realtors, with February sales hitting an eight-year high for the month. Meanwhile interest rates remain below where they were a year ago. There were plenty of local buyers in February, with 92 homes sold worth $20.41 million, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service, which records all realtor transactions in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. / Read more…

  • Fiddling Fools at the Jones House: Indoor Concert Series on April Fools Day

    Monday, March 23, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    No Joke. Three award-winning fiddlers will commence at the Jones House on April Fools Day (April 1), continuing the indoor house-concert series. / Read more…

  • Friends of the Historic Banner Elk School Donate Spiral Wishing Well for Fundraiser

    Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:58 am

    March 23, 2015. Come meet BElle, the Spiral Wishing Well, at Banner Elk Town Hall through the month of March, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. BElle, an amazing “coin funnel for charity ” game, was donated by Friends of the Historic Banner Elk School to support the fundraising campaign for the Historic School. Come and help BElle “spiral” her way to a $500 goal. / Read more…

  • Instead of All Week, Council To Consider Raising Noise Ordinance Three Days of Week

    Friday, March 20, 2015 at 6:35 pm
    town-of-boone-logo2 seal

    March 20, 2015. On Thursday night, the Boone Town Council directed Town Attorney Allison Meade to draft new changes to the noise ordinance that would raise the decibel level from 70 dB to 75 dB until 2 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for live and recorded music in downtown Boone. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • ASU Chancellor Speaks About Economic Impact University has on Region

    Friday, March 20, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    March 20, 2015. Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts spoke about the college’s economic impact in the High Country and North Carolina at a Boone Area Chamber’s “Business After Hours” event at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on Thursday. Before Everts spoke, Chamber President Dan Meyer, who repeated a joke about Appalachian State University being the 800-pound gorilla in the room, gave Everts some bananas to laughter from those in attendance. Everts based her presentation on a study conducted by the Idaho-based company Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) for the University of North Carolina system. By Jesse Wood • Video & Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Dog To Become Purina ‘Poster Child’ After Riverview Fire, Scarborough Memorial Friday

    Friday, March 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm
    Maine and Tyson

    March 20, 2015. Because of the heroics of Tyson, a chocolate lab and pit bull mixed dog, and the brave actions of a firefighter, David Maine is alive. Maine co-managed the River Grocery and Apartments with his best friend, Shane Scarborough, who perished in the fire that burned down the iconic establishment nearly two weeks. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Parking-Meter Installation in Boone Update, Smart Meter Installation Begins Monday

    Friday, March 20, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    March 20, 2015. Starting next week, Town of Boone staff and IPS Group Parking & Telecommunications will begin the process of installing new smart parking meters for on-street parking in downtown Boone. The installation process will take several days to complete. / Read more…

  • Former Appalachian State Student Victim of ‘Fetal Abduction’ Attack in Longmont, Colo.

    Friday, March 20, 2015 at 10:53 am
    This photo from Wilkins' Facebook profile has been circulated by numerous media outlets.

    March 20, 2015. A former Appalachian State University student was the victim of a horrific attack in Longmont, Colo., on Wednesday that authorities are calling the “first apparent fetal abduction in the state,” according to the Longmont Times-Call. A pregnant Michelle Wilkins, 26, who studied Sustainable Development at ASU was knifed in the stomach – with her unborn child removed – after responding to a Craigslist ad to buy baby clothes, according to a Longmont Police Department incident report. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • W.A.M.Y. Celebrates 50 Years Helping People Stand on Their Own, What’s a WAMY?

    Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 2:58 pm
    WAMY helps families become strong and stand on their own.

    March 19, 2015. WAMY is a true multi-purpose agency that was created to meet the needs in each community. They provide many services directly but, just as important, they help connect people to other agencies within the community. Even though they have been in operation for more than 50 years, staff at WAMY gets asked every day, “What’s a WAMY?” Executive Director, Melissa Soto said, “We do a lot of different things for all kinds of people.” So what does that mean? / Read more…

  • Louder Music in Downtown Boone? Council To Vote on Amending Noise Ordinance Thursday

    Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 10:59 am

    March 19, 2015. If louder music is allowed in downtown Boone venues that would be music to Boone Saloon owner Skip Sinanian’s ears. At the Boone Town Council meeting on Monday evening, Councilman Fred Hay proposed increasing the decibel limit for live music in downtown to 75 every day of the week until 2 a.m. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Boone Town Council Meets Thursday: Noise, Ginseng, S. Water Street Takeover and More

    Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 10:40 am
    town-of-boone-logo2 seal

    March 18, 2015. The Boone Town Council will meet on Thursday, March 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers on Blowing Rock Road. Agenda items include the municipal takeover of South Water Street, the noise ordinance, a historical ginseng marker, promotion of solar panels, the Middle Fork Greenway and more. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Nonprofit Funding Might Be Different With New Board Chair on Watauga Commissioners

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    March 17, 2015. During budget season in Watauga County, the topic of funding nonprofits usually draws a crowd before the Watauga County Board of Commissioners during public hearings meetings in May. In the previous four budget cycles, former Chair Nathan Miller, a Republican lawyer who is a staunch advocate for a nonprofit “standing on its own,” was quick to vote for a zero in many of the nonprofit appropriation columns. “I have a philosophy that doesn’t jive with this,” Miller said in a budget work session in 2014. This year might be a bit different with new Chair Jimmy Hodges, who is also a Republican on the GOP-led board. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • WHAT’S GOING ON? Construction Work Begins at Zaxby’s Site on 105 Extension in Boone

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    The site of a future Zaxby’s restaurant is located along N.C. 105 Extension. Photo by Ken Ketchie

    March 16, 2015. Construction work has begun on a one-acre parcel at the corner of N.C. 105 Extension and State Farm Road, the site of a future Zaxby’s restaurant. Boone Planning Director Bill Bailey said that his office has issued all of the permits for the construction project. “They are currently working on underground stream conveyances then they can start on the building stuff,” Bailey said in a brief email. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Chancellor To Speak on ASU’s Economic Impact at ‘Business After Hours’ Thursday

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 1:53 pm
    Chamber of Commerce

    March 19, 2015. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is hosting Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts on Thursday evening for a Boone Area Chamber of Commerce “Business After Hours” event. The event takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. Everts will discuss “the value of Appalachian State University’s economic impact” on the High Country and North Carolina, according to a flyer released by the Boone Area Chamber. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • North Carolina, Tennessee Police Hold ‘Booze It & Lose It’ Campaigns on St. Patrick’s Day

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    March 17, 2015. St. Patrick’s Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns, and good luck. But not even the luck of the Irish can protect you from the risks of driving after drinking. The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program encourage those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to ensure they have the best good luck charm of all – a sober designated driver. / Read more…

  • The Peking Acrobats Come to Schaefer Center on March 17; Wow Children and Adults Alike

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    March 17, 2015. The Peking Acrobats, a troupe of China’s most gifted tumblers, contortionists, jugglers, cyclists, and gymnasts, will bring their 2,000 year old tradition to the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, March 17 at 7 p.m. / Read more…

  • Sugar Grove Man, 31, Dies After Crashing Car in Watauga Lake, Boone Woman Injured

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 11:07 am

    March 17, 2015. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said a 31-year-old man from Sugar Grove died and a 20-year-old woman from Boone was injured after a vehicle crashed into the Watauga Lake on Saturday night. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • USFS To Burn 560 Acres in Avery or 1,240 Acres in Caldwell, Avery on Wednesday

    Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 10:01 am
    US Forest

    March 17, 2015. Based on weather conditions and resource availability the agency plans to burn either 560 acres in Avery County or 1,240 acres in Caldwell and Avery Counties. The smaller Rock House Creek Burn is north of Roseboro in Avery County. The larger Wilson Ridge Burn is north of Edgemont in Caldwell and Avery Counties. / Read more…

  • Potholes – the Red-Headed Stepchild of Spring – are Back, NCDOT Currently Patching

    Monday, March 16, 2015 at 2:31 pm March 16, 2015. With the return of warmer weather, those blasted potholes are back. Watauga County Maintenance Engineer with the N.C. Department of Transportation Kevin Whittington noted that his office is currently repairing them temporarily with a “cold patch” – a premix stockpiled by the NCDOT in the winter. As asphalt plants begin operating once the warmer weather stabilizes, crews will perform permanent patches with the hot mix from the asphalt plants. “That could happen sometime this week or next,” Whittington said. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae Accepting Applications

    Monday, March 16, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    March 16, 2015. The New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW) at Lees-McRae College, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is accepting applications for its three-week residential summer program that helps low-income women gain the skills and confidence to turn their lives around. This summer’s session will be held from May 31 – June 20. / Read more…

  • Settlement Reached With Estate of Woman Who Died in Boone Snowplow Accident

    Monday, March 16, 2015 at 8:56 am

    March 16, 2015. A settlement in the amount of $300,000 has been reached with the estate of Reinalda Roa Gomez, a 57-year-old woman of Boone who died after a Town of Boone snowplow collided with Gomez’s 2006 Mercury vehicle in March 2013. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Commissioners To Meet on Tuesday: Topics Include Greenway Extension, Medic Base

    Monday, March 16, 2015 at 7:30 am

    March 16, 2015. The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, March 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the Watauga County Administration Building. Inside is a synopsis of the agenda items, which include the greenway extension project at Brookshire Park and the new medic base in between Cove Creek and Vilas. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Watauga Elections Members Differ on Search Process – Or Lack Thereof – for New Director

    Friday, March 13, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    March 13, 2015. The Watauga County Board of Elections met on Thursday evening, and discussion swirled around how to go about selecting a new director and who that director will be. While Chair Luke Eggers, a Republican, wanted to appoint former Watauga County GOP Chair Matthew Snyder as the new director, Democrat Kathleen Campbell preferred to conduct an official search that would at least span the state for qualified candidates for the non-partisan position. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Gazebo Project in Blowing Rock Underway, Local Nonprofits, Businesses Contribute

    Friday, March 13, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    “It’s really going to be a facelift for the town,” general contractor 4 Forty Four owner Kevin Troyer said. “We are excited about being a part of a collaborative [project] like this in the community.”

    March 13, 2015. The gazebo project in the park in downtown Blowing Rock is underway. On Monday, the Blowing Rock Town Council approved a set of plans and a portion of funding for the project, and demolition of the old gazebo setup has started. “It’s really going to be a facelift for the town,” 4 Forty Four Construction owner Kevin Troyer said. “We are excited about being a part of a collaborative [project] like this in the community.” By Jesse Wood – Photo by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Foxx Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate Burdensome Higher Education Regulations

    Friday, March 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm
    U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

    March 13, 2015. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., has introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce federal intrusion and limit the costly regulatory burden on colleges and universities: the H.R. 970, the Supporting Academic Freedom through Regulatory Relief Act. / Read more…

  • NCDOT To Hold Info Session for Division 11 on Draft 10-Year STIP in Hickory on April 13

    Friday, March 13, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    March 13, 2015. The North Carolina Department of Transportation will hold information sessions in divisions across the state to hear the public’s feedback on the Draft 10-Year State Transportation Improvement Program. The session for Division 11, which is comprised of Alleghany, Avery, Ashe, Caldwell, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin counties, will be held in Hickory on Monday, April 13. / Read more…

  • County Awarded $20,764 Grant, Local Service Agencies Can Apply for Portion of Funding

    Friday, March 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

    March 13, 2015. Watauga County has been awarded $20,764 through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Program (EFSP), a Federal program administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food and supportive services” for the nation’s hungry, homeless and people in economic crisis.” / Read more…

  • New Businesses Join Middle Fork Greenway Fundraiser Planned for Easter Weekend

    Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm
    Master Plan of Middle Fork Greenway.

    March 12, 2015. More than a dozen new businesses have come on board to donate proceeds for the Middle Fork Greenway during Easter Weekend since Appalachian Ski Mtn. announced that it would be open on the holiday to raise money for the trail project. “We are moved by the number of businesses and individuals that are enthusiastic about participating in our ‘Greenway Weekend!’ We invite anyone who would like to participate in donating a portion of their sales from Easter Saturday or Sunday toward the Middle Fork Greenway initiative with us,” Brenda Speckmann of Appalachain Ski Mtn. said on Thursday. Compiled by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour at App State on March 27, 28 Sells Out as Usual

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    March 11, 2015. Tickets for the 2014-15 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour at Appalachian State University are sold out. Staff with Footsloggers and the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, where the two-day screening will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28, said that tickets sold out more than a week ago. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Online Fundraising Campaign for All Residents Surviving Riverview Grocery Fire Created

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    March 11, 2015. Two days ago, Diane Stansberry created a page to help “all” of the residents of the Riverview Grocery and Apartments. Stansberry said that the funds will help David Reiger, Roman Presnell, Jim Rasmussen and David Maine pick up the pieces after the devastating fire. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Elon Poll: North Carolina Residents Support Police Body Cameras, Release of Footage

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 1:29 pm
    Elon Poll

    March 11, 2015. Nine out of 10 people in North Carolina support the idea of police officers wearing body cameras while on duty and nearly two thirds of residents believe footage should be made available to the public, according to the latest Elon University Poll. / Read more…

  • Democrat on Watauga Board of Elections Voices Concerns About March 12 Meeting

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 10:23 am

    March 11, 2015. On Thursday, Kathleen Campbell, the sole Democrat on the three-member Watauga County Board of Elections, emailed a letter to her fellow, across-the-aisle members, Chair Luke Eggers and Secretary Bill Aceto, about the upcoming meeting on March 12. Campbell also sent the letter to members and officials with the State Board of Elections. Campbell’s concerns revolved around agenda items “director recommendation” in open session and “personnel” in closed session. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Landowners Notified of Upcoming Easement Negotiations for Boone’s Water Intake Project

    Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 9:39 am
    town-of-boone-logo2 seal

    March 11, 2015. Earlier this month, the Town of Boone mailed letters to property owners along the transmission-line route for the proposed raw water intake system near Todd, alerting them of easement negotiations in the near future. High Country Press obtained a copy of a letter, dated March 4, that was mailed to one landowner on Brownwood Road in Watauga County. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Riverview Grocery Site Continues To Smolder, WCSO Identifies Deceased Resident

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    <img src="" alt="" title="unnamed-1214.jpg" width="610" height="401" class="size-large wp-image-122742" /> Two days later, the fire at Riverview Grocery and Apartments is still smoldering. Photo by B. Dudley Carter <br /> <span style="color: #800000;">March 10, 2015.</span> Update: Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman identified the resident that died in the Riverview Grocery fire as Shane Davie Scarborough, 31. <strong><em> By Jesse Wood • Photos by B. Dudley Carter </em></strong> <a href=""> / Read more…</a>

  • See Agenda for Blowing Rock Council Meeting on Tuesday, March 10

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    March 10, 2015. The Blowing Rock Town Council will meet on Tuesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. in Town Hall on Main Street. See what the commissioners will be talking about on Tuesday inside. / Read more…

  • DHHS: In North Carolina, 560,357 Enrolled So Far Through Health Insurance Marketplace

    Tuesday, March 10, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    March 10, 2015. In North Carolina, 560,357 consumers selected or were automatically re-enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of Feb. 22, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. / Read more…

  • Fundraiser Started for David Maine, Former Manager of Rascals Atop Beech, After Fire

    Monday, March 9, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Former general manager of the Rascals restaurant in Beech Mountain, David Maine survived a fire this past weekend, but needs help putting his life back together.

    March 9, 2015. A page has been created for David Maine, who lived in the apartments at the Riverview Grocery in Western Watauga, which burned down this weekend. “David Maine, a dear friend of mine, narrowly escaped this fire on March 8, 2015 thanks to his faithful dog. He was able to save his car, but lost everything including his best friend, who was the only fatality of this fire…” By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • ASU Students Organize Protest, Petition Against Circus Coming to App State

    Monday, March 9, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Junior ASU student Alaina Doyle, center holding cardboard poster, organized a protest encouraging the university to stop hosting the circus at the Holmes Convocation Center. Photo by Ken Ketchie

    March 9, 2015. Alaina Doyle, a junior at Appalachian State University, organized a protest of the Garden Bros Circus coming to the Holmes Convocation Center this past weekend. Doyle, along with more than a dozen other protesters, stood along King Street, the intersection of U.S. 321 and Rivers Street and in front of the Holmes Convocation Center on Sunday for a couple hours. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Citizen Science Program Wants Your Help Observing the Weather Across North Carolina

    Monday, March 9, 2015 at 9:34 am

    March 6, 2015. Do you ever wonder how much rainfall you received from a recent thunderstorm? How about snowfall during a winter storm? If so, an important volunteer weather observing program needs your help! The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunteers across North Carolina. / Read more…

  • One Resident Dies in Fire at Riverview Grocery and Apartments on Sunday Morning

    Monday, March 9, 2015 at 8:31 am

    March 9, 2015. A resident died on Sunday morning when the Riverview Grocery and Apartments burned down, according to local authorities. The report of a structure fire at 8210 U.S. 321 in Western Watauga came in at about 9:15 a.m. on Sunday. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Sheriff: Maiden Inmate in Watauga County Jail Dies After Hanging Himself in Cell on Friday

    Monday, March 9, 2015 at 8:20 am

    March 9, 2015. On Friday night, an inmate in the Watauga County Detention Center died after authorities say that Elbert Lee McClain “attempted to harm himself by strangulation” in his single cell, according to the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO). By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Change Your Clocks and Smoke Alarm Batteries for Daylight Savings Time

    Friday, March 6, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    March 4, 2015. Two-thirds of home fire deaths result from fires in homes without a working smoking alarm, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Boone Local 5012 remind you to not only change your clock for Daylight Savings Time but the batteries in your smoke alarms, too. / Read more…

  • WYN Kicks Off 30th Anniversary With New School-Based Mentoring Program

    Friday, March 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    March 6, 2015. Western Youth Network (WYN) is kicking of their 30th year anniversary with a new School Based Mentoring Program. This initiative pairs volunteers with a youth who needs extra support in the school setting. / Read more…

  • Boomer Bytes #60: We Are What We Eat

    Friday, March 6, 2015 at 10:14 am

    March 6, 2015. The saying “you are what you eat” may be applicable to the Boomer generation. According to a Time magazine article in July 2014, a National Institutes of Health report found that we are, as an age group, overweight. The report found that 72 percent of men and 67 percent of women over the age of 65 were overweight or even considered obese! There was a bit of good news in report as well; we are smoking and drinking less. By Steve Canipe / Read more…

  • McCrory Makes ‘Tough Choices’ in 2015-17 Budget Proposal Released on Thursday

    Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm
    Gov. McCrory

    March 5, 2015. N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory unveiled his 2015-2017 biennium budget proposal on Thursday. Prior to releasing his plan for the state over the next two years, McCrory said, “We have had to make tough choices to arrive at this comprehensive, thoughtful budget proposal, and I’m proud of what we will accomplish through it. Compiled by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • High Country United Way Accepting Applications for Community Funding

    Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

    March 5, 2015. The High Country United Way is now accepting applications for programs for the fiscal year 2015-2016. We seek proposals that meet the goals identified by our Community Impact Visioning Councils as well as those that continue to meet basic and emergency needs. / Read more…

  • How Does That Sound? Banner Elk Seeking Naming-Rights Donations for Historic School

    Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 10:00 am
    The Avery County Board of Commissioners has agreed to sell the old Banner Elk Elementary School property to the Town of Banner Elk. Photo by Jesse Wood

    March 5, 2015. After receiving a $100,000 gift from Elaine J. Wold for the naming rights to the garden area that runs parallel to N.C. 184 in downtown Banner Elk, the fundraising campaign for the historic Banner Elk School is off to a fine start in its first few months. By Jesse Wood • Photo by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Hearings on State Budget, Economic Incentives Coming, Fight Over Marriage Recusal

    Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:31 am
    NC State Seal

    March 5, 2015. After two weeks of skeleton sessions and cancelled committee hearings, the N.C. General Assembly returns to a somewhat normal schedule in a slightly less-slushy capital. Budget hearings start back up on Tuesday to begin the work of setting spending targets. Both the state House and Senate are awaiting word from the governor’s office about the release of the executive branch’s budget request. By Kirk Ross / Carolina Public Press / Read more…

  • Recap of SCOTUS Hearing on Federal Subsidies in States With Health Exchanges

    Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8:16 am

    March 5, 2015. The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments on Wednesday in whether or not residents in states without state-run health insurance exchanges are eligible for federal subsidies on their plans. The video above, and its corresponding transcript inside, which is produced by Kaiser Health News, breaks down the day in court. A ruling, which could affect the nearly 560,000 residents of North Carolina that enrolled in plans for this year, isn’t expected until June. Content by Kaiser Health News / Read more…

  • Wold Donates $100,000 To Historic Banner Elk School for Naming Rights of Garden Area

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm
    The Avery County Board of Commissioners has agreed to sell the old Banner Elk Elementary School property to the Town of Banner Elk. Photo by Jesse Wood

    March 4, 2015. The fundraising committee for the historic Banner Elk School project received its first major donation recently, a $100,000 gift from Elaine J. Wold, according to Historic Banner Elk School Fundraising Committee Chair Ted Silver. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • NC Chapter of APA Names Jefferson Avenue in West Jefferson Named Great Main Street

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 10:00 am March 4, 2015. Anyone who has enjoyed the classic charm of a Main Street knows intuitively when it’s a “great” place to be. It’s often the “heart of the downtown” and the place where people go to gather and enjoy an evening out. / Read more…

  • McCrory Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Legislation Establishing N.C.’s First Park

    Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 9:14 am

    March 4, 2015. Governor Pat McCrory signed and issued a proclamation at William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh today celebrating March 3 as the 100th anniversary of legislation authorizing Mount Mitchell as North Carolina’s first state park. “North Carolina’s state parks connect us all with our rich natural heritage and our history and contribute significantly to the state’s economy, especially in rural areas where many of the parks are located,” Governor McCrory said. / Read more…

  • Photos of Demolition for The Standard Development Along Blowing Rock Road

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 5:05 pm March 3, 2015. The demolition for the planned “The Standard of Boone” development, located on a blighted stretch of property in between Faculty Street and Blowing Rock Road, continues. The demolition began in February after Stonegate Developers secured the necessary permits and closed on the property, which features Red Carpet Inn, Scottish Inn and a number of old houses and apartments. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Watauga County Cooperative Extension Held Annual ‘Report to the People’ on Tuesday

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 3:32 pm March 3, 2015. The Watauga County Cooperative Extension held its annual “Report to the People” luncheon on Tuesday afternoon in the Agricultural Conference Center. After a “local-food” lunch prepared by staff, Extension Director Jim Hamilton spoke about the impact that his office has on the county and beyond in the last five years. But before diving too deep into the numbers, he commended his “exceptional staff.”
    By Jesse Wood • Photos by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • ASU To Host Open Forum in March To Meet Provost Finalist Candidates

    Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 7:41 am

    March 3, 2015. In late March, Appalachian State University will host three provost candidates on campus. Candidates will meet with many individuals and groups during their two-day visits, and open public forums will be held at 3:30 p.m. on the first day of each interview. / Read more…

  • ‘Horn in the West’ Property Vandalized With ‘Sickening’ Amount of Graffiti, Reward Offered

    Monday, March 2, 2015 at 5:00 pm March 2, 2015. The Daniel Boone Park property along Horn in the West Drive was recently vandalized with graffiti, and High Country Crime Stoppers is offering a minimum $100 reward to figure out who vandalized the town-owned premises. The Boone Police Department received a call about the vandalism on Saturday and said that the damage, estimated to be about $3,000, occurred sometime during the month of February. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Portrait of Retired Judge Alexander Lyerly Unveiled in the Avery County Courthouse

    Monday, March 2, 2015 at 11:12 am
    Alec with his portrait

    March 2, 2015. A portrait of former Judge Alexander Lyerly was recently unveiled in the Avery County Courthouse during a ceremony honoring Lyerly for more than three decades of service. Lyerly retired in March 2014 as District Court Judge in the 24th Judicial District, which covers Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Pertinent Information About Meters, New Parking System in Downtown Boone

    Friday, February 27, 2015 at 6:25 pm
    As seen on Depot Street, poles for the parking meters have been installed. Full implementation of metered parking in Boone is still two to three months away. Photo by Ken Ketchie

    Feb. 27, 2015. The Town of Boone and the Downtown Boone Development Association is ramping up its educational campaign regarding the parking meters that will line downtown Boone this summer. At a previous Boone Town Council meeting, Town Manager John Ward said that the meters should go live in March. Compiled by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Post for Jesse

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 10:58 am


  • Photos: The Morning After the Snowstorm

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 9:54 am Feb. 26, 2015. Here are some photos the morning after last night’s snowstorm in the High Country, which received about 4 to 7 inches of snow, according to By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Public Schools Closed in Watauga, Avery, See Other Delays In and Around the High Country

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Feb. 26, 2015. Avery County Schools and Watauga County Schools will not hold classes on Thursday. Appalachian State University opens later, and Caldwell Community College cancelled day classes. See other delays or closures inside. Compiled by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Watauga County Board of Commissioners Hold Two-Day Budget Retreat on Feb. 26 & 27

    Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Feb. 26, 2015. Budget season is around the corner, and elected officials in the High Country are scheduling budget retreats in the coming weeks to prep for the budget cycle of the 2015-16 fiscal year. Watauga County Board of Commissioners scheduled two budget retreats to take place on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 26 and 27. Compiled by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Waiting for Several Inches of Snow to Fall, Storm Warning Begins at 7 PM

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 5:15 pm Feb. 25, 2015. With a couple hours before the storm is expected to begin, posted on Facebook, “It’s clear from radar that this storm will not disappoint. Right now I have more ‘upside’ fear than ‘downside.’” The latest forecast accumulation map from is calling for 5 to 7 inches in the vast majority of Avery and Watauga counties. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Blue Ridge Electric Ready to Respond Tonight if Severe Weather Causes Outages

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 4:22 pm
    Dispatcher Tony Wheeler monitors the Blue Ridge Electric system as cooperative employees prepare for tonight's snow storm. Members should report outages by calling PowerLine: 1-800-448-2383.

    Feb. 25, 2015. Winter storm warnings calling for three to eight inches of snow tonight across the service area of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation has cooperative employees on high alert and preparing to respond quickly should power outages occur. / Read more…

  • Boone Planning Director Expects To Receive Application for Kmart Tract from Harris Teeter

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Feb. 25, 2015. Boone Planning & Inspections Director Bill Bailey said he expects to receive a permit application from Harris Teeter for the vacant Kmart shopping center on Blowing Rock road. Kmart closed down last September as a group of developers purchased the property for $6,975,000 earlier that summer. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Blowing Rock Council To Hold Public Hearing on New Public Works Facility Financing

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Feb. 25, 2015. The Blowing Rock Town Council will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, March 10, at 6 p.m. during its regularly scheduled meeting regarding the financing proposal for a new public works facility. Earlier this month bids came in with Enterline and Russell Builders, Inc., submitting the lowest bid of $1,450,880, which was nearly $50,000 cheaper the second-lowest bid. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Blowing Rock Citizens Urged To Support Grant for Sidewalk From Main Street to Bass Lake

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm Feb. 25, 2015. An online petition to support a grant application for a sidewalk from Main Street to Bass Lake has been started and the Town of Blowing Rock is asking citizens to sign a petition supporting the project. Providing a way to walk safely from downtown Blowing Rock to Bass Lake has been a goal of the Blowing Rock Town Council for many years. / Read more…

  • More Snow on the Way Beginning Tonight, Forecasts Range from 3 to 7 Inches

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Feb. 25, 2015. Before the snow from the last storm late Monday and early Tuesday has a chance to melt, Mother Nature has some more in store for us beginning Wednesday evening. Forecasts from and the regional National Weather Service office range from 3 to 7 inches, depending on the locale and elevation in the High Country. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • ACLU: Senate Committee To Hear Bill To Allow Magistrates To Opt Out of Marriage Duties

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Feb. 24, 2015. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of North Carolina is urging lawmakers to reject a bill that would allow magistrates and other government officials to opt out of providing marriage services to the public for six-month periods based on “sincerely held religious” objections. / Read more…

  • Avery and Watauga County Schools Closed, While Colleges Operating on Extended Delay

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Feb. 24, 2015. Avery County Schools and Watauga County Schools have called a snow day for Tuesday, while Appalachian State University and Caldwell Community College have extended delays for now. Compiled by Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Surprise: Good Tuesday Morning Snow Fall, Winter Weather Advisory Expires in Afternoon

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 10:00 am Feb. 24, 2015. The amount of accumulation this morning was a bit of a surprise. Forecasts were revised and the roads were a slushfest. noted that one to three inches of snow covered the region at sunrise and more snow continued to fall throughout the morning. expects one to four inches throughout the daytime – with four to six inches at higher elevations and along the western escarpment. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Still Don’t Have Health Insurance? Special Enrollment Period Open Through April 30

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Feb. 23, 2015. On Friday, the Obama administration announced a special open enrollment period that will allow certain people to sign up for health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace from March 15 to April 30. The original enrollment deadline to receive federal subsidies on plans and to avoid a tax penalty when filing this year’s taxes next spring was Feb. 15. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Boone Council To Meet on Monday: Raw Water Intake, SAHA, Noise Ordinance & More

    Monday, February 23, 2015 at 10:48 am
    town-of-boone-logo2 seal

    Feb. 18, 2015. Thursday’s Boone Town Council meeting has been postponed. A new date has yet to be set. When rescheduled, the council will address a number of items including a license with SAHA, the noise ordinance, the proposed Boone water intake along the New River, development at the old Southern States property and more. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Photos of Past Week’s Snow

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Feb. 20, 2015. Take a look a back at this week’s winter weather, which featured treacherous wind chills and several inches of snow, through the lens of photos from friends of High Country Press.

  • To Cold To Handle: Coldest West Jefferson’s Been on Feb. 20 Since At Least 1896, 119 Years Ago

    Friday, February 20, 2015 at 11:22 am
    Feb. 20, 2015. For the second day in a row, the weather was record breaking. On Friday morning, residents of the High Country – and beyond – woke up to subzero temperatures and record lows for Feb. 20. Several of the towns or communities experienced temperatures for this date – Feb. 20 – that haven’t been felt in decades or, at least in one case, more than a century. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Bitter Wind Chills Continue Until Friday A.M., Winter Storm Watch In Effect Friday Night

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 4:48 pm
    Feb. 20, 2015. Once the wind chills subside, then a National Weather Service winter-storm watch goes into effect late Friday night through late Saturday night. The meteorologists at are “thinking one to four inches” of accumulation before the snow turns into a wintry mix and then into rain on Saturday night. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Boone Public Works Responds To Frozen Pipes in Town, More Calls Likely on Friday

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Feb. 20, 2015. With subzero temperatures and offices, businesses and other establishments closed on Thursday, Public Works Director Rick Miller said his department is concerned about the frozen-pipe calls that could come in the morning. “Our worry is with everything closed today, we’re going to get all the calls tomorrow,” Miller said. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Start To Baseball Season Feels Like Winter League, Home Series Moved To Lexington, S.C.

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 1:49 pm
    Feb. 19, 2015. This weather continues to muddle the beginning of Appalachian State University’s baseball season, which one week ago. On Thursday, the university’s athletics department announced that this weekend’s series versus Canisius, which was initially slated to be home games, has been moved to Lexington, S.C., because of inclement weather. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Record Lows on Thursday in High Country, Won’t Exceed Freezing Until Saturday

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 11:39 am
    Feb. 19, 2015. All of the official climate stations of National Weather Service’s Blacksburg, Va., office set record low temperatures during the recent cold snap, and noted that record lows were broken at most of its weather stations this morning. By Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Thursday Weather Closures in High Country

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 10:33 am
    Feb. 19, 2015. Thursday closures for Boone and Watauga County offices and operations, public schools and higher education. Compiled by Jesse Wood • Photos by Ken Ketchie / Read more…

  • Congressman Ballenger Passes Away Wednesday, Tributes From State GOP Leaders

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Feb. 18, 2015. Republican Congressman Cass Ballenger passed away today at the age of 88. A World War II veteran, Ballenger represented the 10th congressional district in North Carolina from 1986 to 2005. He also served in the N.C. Senate from 1976 to 1986 and in the N.C. House from 1974 to 1976. Before redistricting occurred, Ballenger represented Avery County among other counties in Western North Carolina throughout his years in office. By Jesse Wood / Read more… / Read more…

  • 550,000+ Covered in Health Insurance Marketplace in N.C., 11.4M Nationwide

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 7:39 am

    On Feb. 15, 2015, the second year of Open Enrollment came to a close with 559,473 North Carolina consumers selecting a plan or being automatically reenrolled in quality, affordable coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Nationwide, about 11.4 million Americans selected Marketplace plans or were automatically re-enrolled. / Read more…

  • Choose Life License Plates at Stake, Amicus Brief Filed Urging for Free Speech

    Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Feb. 19, 2015. Thomas More Society has filed an amicus brief urging the United States Supreme Court to rule that specialty license plates, including “Choose Life” license plates, constitute private speech in a designated public forum, which is protected by the First Amendment as free speech. / Read more…

  • BREMCO Asks Customers To Conserve Energy Through Friday With Ongoing Subzero Temps

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Feb. 18, 2015. The predicted arctic blast with historic low temperatures is leading Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation to ask members to voluntarily reduce electricity usage through Friday. The most important time to conserve is Thursday and Friday between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when consumer usage is typically at its highest. / Read more…

  • Mountaineers Baseball 1-1 To Start Season, First Home Game Friday if Weather Permits

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Feb. 18, 2015. While baseball – at least on the professional level anyway – is thought of as a spring to fall sport, the college baseball season is underway during the heart of winter. Since beginning the season on Feb. 13, the Appalachian State Mountaineers has missed just as many games because of wintry weather as it has played – two. By Jesse Wood / Read more…

  • Thundersnow a Possibility in High Country on Wednesday

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Both and the National Weather Service’s Blacksburg, Va., office noted that thundersnow is possible across the region on Wednesday afternoon. Thundersnow is a rare event where lightning and thunder occur during a snowstorm. The Weather Channel described how and why thundersnow happens: “When the unstable layer develops where the temperature is about -10 to -20 degrees Celsius (+14 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit), conditions are favorable for both snowflakes and small hailstones (called graupel) to form. As these different particles interact, electrical charges can develop.” Read more…

  • Snow Arrives Right on Time in Boone

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 12:07 pm called it. The snow is coming down right on time at about noon with the main roads covering quickly after the N.C. Department of Transportation had the highways just about perfect this morning. At about 11:30 a.m., Watauga County Communications posted on its Twitter page: “Pretty good snow event now at Comm Center. Please slow down and increase following distance.” Read more…
    Photo by Ken Ketchie

  • Governor Urges Public to Stay off Roads, Prepare for Potential Power Outages, Frigid Temps and More Black Ice

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 10:18 am

    This morning, Governor Pat McCrory joined with state public safety and transportation officials to thank North Carolinians for staying off the roads and cautioned them to be prepared for potential power outages and hazardous road conditions for the next few days. Read more…



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