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Avery County High School to Hold 2024 Graduation Ceremonies on May 31st at MacDonald Stadium


May 29, 2024 Avery High’s 2024 graduation ceremonies will be held on the evening of Friday, May 31st, on the football turf at the school’s MacDonald Stadium. The school is located at 401 High School Road in Newland. Graduation will start at 6:00 p.m. According to Avery High Principal Jennifer O’Briant, there will be 161 graduating seniors receiving their diplomas in the Class of 2024, including 14 mid-term graduates who have already fulfilled the academic criteria to earn a diploma. O’Briant offered the following remarks to High Country Press about this year’s graduating class: “I congratulate our 2024 graduates.  They can take much pride in their hard work and all the school accomplishments they have earned. I wish them the very best in their future endeavors.” By Tim Gardner

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Angler, Biologist and “River Monsters” TV Host Jeremy Wade Kicks Off Grandfather Presents Speaker Series June 27

May 29, 2024 Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, has announced that tickets for the first presentation of the Grandfather Presents 2024 speaker series are on sale now. Jeremy Wade, an extreme angler, biologist, “River Monsters” documentary TV host and author, kicks off these Thursday night presentations on June 27. The new Wilson Center for Nature Discovery will play host to the event. Guests will get to experience a “night at the museum” atmosphere, the speaker presentation and book-signing/“meet-and-greet” opportunities.

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Blue Ridge Fiber Guild Returns to Jones House for Annual Exhibit

May 28, 2024  The Blue Ridge Fiber Guild is proud to announce the return of its annual exhibit at the Jones House in downtown Boone, from June 4-June 30. The guild exhibit features fiber art in various forms, from wearables to wall art, that range in style from traditional to contemporary. Featuring an array of color and texture harmonies, they are constructed in knitting, crochet, weaving, felting, surface design, and quilting.The Blue Ridge Fiber Guild was organized in the early 1980s by fiber enthusiasts. Its purpose is to promote traditional as well as contemporary fiber art. The organization now serves a five-county area and has monthly meetings in the Boone area that feature programs and workshops.

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Watauga County Farmers’ Market to Host 3rd Annual Pollination Celebration on June 1st

May 28, 2024 The third annual Pollination Celebration will be held at the Watauga County Farmers’ Market on Saturday, June 1. Located at 591 Horn in the West Dr. in Boone, this bustling market with over 60 local vendors runs from 8:00 AM until 12:00 PM on Saturdays. The Pollination Celebration is a celebration of all things flowers and honey and an ode to the pollinators that work behind the scenes to keep us fed and our ecosystems thriving. Community members are invited to enjoy late spring abundance from our local farmers, pick up plants to create your own backyard pollinator paradise, and learn more about beekeeping and the important role that pollinators play in our ecosystems.

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Upcoming Barn Quilt Painting Summer Workshops to be Held at the Watauga Arts Council June 20 and July 18

May 28, 2024 The Watauga Arts Council will host two barn quilt painting workshops this summer. Participants will create their own design with help from the artist-instructor, Cinda Ebner. Then they will learn the techniques needed to produce a beautiful and durable 2×2 barn quilt suitable for display outdoors or indoors. Cost is $125 and includes all supplies. Workshop dates and times, with registration links, are as follows:

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Boone United Trail Celebrates National Trails Day with 2nd Annual Trail Event June 1

May 27, 2024 On Saturday, June 1, 11:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Boone United Methodist Church is rolling out the green carpet for the entire community along the Boone United Trail on the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. This free event, happening regardless of weather, begins behind the church and features catered barbecue and live bluegrass. Hikes are being led by Scott Elliott, a representative from the Blue Ridge Conservancy, and Stan Steury, from the Appalachian Energy Center. Both hikes — more than two miles in length and lasting approximately 90 minutes — begin at the trail head, located at the back, left corner of the church parking lot. Self-guided hikes are also encouraged throughout the afternoon.

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Vikings Win Two Individual and One Relay Team Championship… Avery High’s Girls Track Team Compiles Runner-Up Overall Finish at State Finals

May 27, 2024 Avery County High School’s girls track team finished in a tie for second place at the 2024 North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s 1-A Track and Field State Championships, which concluded at the Marcus T. Johnson Track at Truist Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro on May 20. By Tim Gardner

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Mountain Alliance Students Complete Almost 400 Hours of Service During Youth Service Day

May 27, 2024 Students in Avery and Watauga Counties joined together on Saturday, April 27th to participate in Mountain Alliance’s annual Youth Service Day. Together, students completed almost 400 hours of service in the community, with adult volunteers/chaperones completing an additional 150 hours of service. “This is our biggest turnout for Youth Service Day in the last several years!” shared Rachel Witmer, Mountain Alliance Associate Director. “Youth Service Day is one of my favorite events that we do and I love seeing all of these high school students coming together to serve their community.” The 67 students and 21 adults served at 7 different sites across the two counties.

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Watauga County Public Library Closings for May, June and July

May 27, 2024 The Watauga County Public Library and the Western Watauga Branch will close for the Memorial Day Holiday on Monday, May 27th. We will close on Saturday, June 15 for the Boonerang Music and Arts Festival although bathrooms and our meeting room will be open. The Kids Zone will be on the Library Lawn. Both libraries will be closed on Thursday, July 4 for Independence Day,

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Passive Building Expert Katrin Klingenberg to Speak at Appalachian Energy Summit June 3

May 27, 2024 Katrin Klingenberg, co-founder and executive director of Phius (Passive House Institute U.S.), will give the keynote address at the 2024 Appalachian Energy Summit on Monday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Grandview Ballroom of Kidd Brewer Stadium’s north end zone facility. The 12th annual Appalachian Energy Summit is hosted by Appalachian State University’s Office of Sustainability. The keynote address is free and open to the public, with limited seating available.Klingenberg has driven the adoption and development of passive building and zero energy standards for the past 20 years.

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Toe River Arts Spring Studio Tour is Happening May 31 -June 2 from 10am – 5pm Each Day

May 27, 2024 The Toe River Arts Spring Studio Tour is happening May 31 -June 2, 2024, from 10am – 5pm each day and don’t forget the “Meet the Artists” reception on May 31 from 5:30-7:30. Featuring over 90 artists and 10 galleries spread throughout Mitchell & Yancey Counties, nestled between Roan Mountain with exquisite rhododendron blooms and Mount Mitchell the highest peak east of the Mississippi, the Toe River Arts Studio Tour is a free, self-guided tour through the artist studios of the Toe River Valley.

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Movie Review: “Mad Max: Fury Road” Now Playing at Boone Regal

May 27, 2024 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” was one of the most critically-lauded action movies not just of its year, not just of its decade, but of all time. I will forever curse “Pitch Perfect 2” for opening the same weekend and doing better at the box office, thus keeping me from reviewing “Fury Road” (for the record, I would have given it an enthusiastic B). While Tom Hardy’s Max was an important presence in that movie, audiences seemed to find themselves drawn to another character, one that had an even more commanding screen presence, did more to make the film instantly iconic, and more than warranted an expensive prequel. Alas, we’ll have to keep waiting for that origin story for the guitar-playing Doof Warrior. In the meantime, we have this movie about another beloved “Fury Road” character, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa. 

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Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) Acquires the Land Where Museum is Sited

May 24, 2024. The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) formally announces the purchase of the land that is the site of the Museum from the Town of Blowing Rock. This was made possible by a gift from an anonymous donor. Prior to the purchase of the land, BRAHM owned its building, and the Town of Blowing Rock owned the land and leased it the Museum. “With the ownership of both the land and the building and having no debt, the Museum is in control of its future,” notes Dean Hamric, president of the BRAHM Board of Trustees. “With the museum now owning both the land and the building, BRAHM can continue to thrive, free of debt and full of potential. This is an amazing moment for BRAHM as we develop our future trajectory, and we want to celebrate it.”

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Milepost Music Brings Live Music to Doughton Park/The Bluffs in June on the Second and Fourth Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m at Milepost 241

May 24, 2024. Milepost Music is bringing live mountain music to Doughton Park/The Bluffs, located at milepost 241 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Laurel Springs, N.C. Free outdoor concerts will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., on the second and fourth Sundays in June. Carrie Hinkley & Virginia Hollow will perform Sunday, June 9. Playing music born from the hills, valleys, and mountains of Appalachia, Carrie Hinkley & Virginia Hollow take listeners on a journey fraught with raw emotions. Leftover Biscuits will perform Sunday, June 23. Life-long musicians Dr. Mark Handy (banjo,vocals), Joy Patton (fiddle,vocals), Roger Stamper (guitar, vocals), and Tammy Martin (upright bass, vocals) bring toe-tapping, old-time string music to the stage.

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Blue Ridge Conservancy Achieves Land Trust Accreditation Renewal

May 24, 2024. Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently achieved land trust accreditation renewal from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. “Blue Ridge Conservancy’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” said Charlie Brady, BRC’s Executive Director. “Due largely to our staff’s expertise and professionalism, the Land Trust Accreditation Commission has awarded BRC a renewal of our Certificate of Accreditation. Accreditation is the highest national distinction for land conservancies. It is only awarded to organizations that exemplify standards of excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure conservation achievements are permanently protected.”

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Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Open June 1 

May 23, 2024. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open 32 trout streams and two lakes classified as Delayed Harvest to trout harvest on June 1 through Sept. 30.From 6 a.m. until 11:59 a.m. on opening day, Delayed Harvest waters are open only to youth under 18 years old. At noon, waters open to all anglers. During this time, anglers can keep up to seven trout per day — with no gear or bait restrictions and no minimum size limits. The Wildlife Commission established the youth-only fishing period in the morning of “opening day,” which is always the first Saturday in June, to promote trout fishing among young anglers and to provide special opportunities for young anglers to catch and keep fish.  

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The Banner House Museum Announces Summer 2024 Hours, Tours, and Tickets

May 23, 2024. Experience 19th-century life in Banner Elk and the High Country in the home of Samuel Henry Banner, one of Banner Elk’s early settlers and his his wife, Jane Hyder Banner, and their seven children.  The circa 1870 house has been furnished with period heirlooms donated and loaned by area residents to tell the story of Banner Elk life from the 1870’s to the 1900’s. Additionally, an Exhibition Room highlights local history from the nineteenth and twentieth century. The museum opens for summer visitors on June 8, 2024. Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. General admission is $5 per person and includes a house tour.

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AMOREM Receives 2024 CAHPS Honors Award

May 23, 2024. AMOREM has been named a 2024 Hospice CAHPS Honors Award recipient by HEALTHCAREfirst, a leading provider of CAHPS and bereavement survey programs for home health and hospice agencies. This prestigious annual review recognizes agencies that continuously go above and beyond in providing high-quality care for patients and compassionate caregiver experiences. The award acknowledges the highest-performing agencies by analyzing the performance of the Hospice Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey satisfaction and quality measures.

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Public Service Announcement: The Town of Boone Will Be Conducting a Stormwater Assessment Beginning May 28

May 23, 2024. The Town of Boone is in the process of proactively enhancing its stormwater management system. As such, a town-wide stormwater utility assessment will begin on May 28, 2024, and is set to end in approximately 90 days. The cooperation of residents to allow contracted survey personnel on or near their property is essential for the success of this project, which ultimately benefits the entire community by fostering a safer and more resilient environment.

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Why Are There So Many Bear Sightings Right Now? 

May 22, 2024. RALEIGH, N.C. (May 20, 2024) – This time of year, North Carolina experiences an increase in people reporting that they’ve seen a bear, in both rural and urban areas of the Mountains, Coast and even the Piedmont. Calls to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s (NCWRC) Wildlife Helpline (866-318-2401) increase with daily questions about bears, peaking from late April through August. There are several reasons for that. 

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A Symphony of Sounds: Tuba and Trombone, Violin and Cello, Piano and … Banjo! App Summer Tickets on Sale Now for Broyhill Concert Series

May 22, 2024. Presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts & Cultural Programs, this annual celebration of the performing and visual arts is held every July in venues across the university campus, and features an eclectic, diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming. An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music series, and retains strong roots in classical music, combined with a variety of other programming geared to almost every artistic taste and preference. The festival has risen in stature to become one of the nation’s most highly respected summer festivals, acclaimed for the breadth and quality of its artistic programming.

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Watauga Students Awarded Scholarships from Blue Ridge Energy

May 22, 2024. Blue Ridge Energy recently awarded $36,000 in college scholarships to eight students across its service area seeking to further their academic goals. The scholarships are part of the Blue Ridge Energy Leadership Track program designed to help high school students better prepare for acceptance into the college of their dreams. In Watauga County, two students received a total of $8,000.

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Kaaren Hayes to Retire from App State After 36 Years with Parent to Parent of the High Country

May 22, 2024. Kaaren Hayes is set to retire from Appalachian State University on June 1 after 36 years of service with the Parent to Parent Family Support Network of the High Country. Recognizing that when families need help, one of the greatest resources can be another family, Parent to Parent provides support, education and connections to families who: have children with diverse physical, emotional, intellectual or health needs; have a child born prematurely; or are grieving the loss of a child. The Parent to Parent advisory board and staff will honor Hayes with a retirement celebration at the Levine Hall of Health Sciences atrium at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 31. The public is invited to attend.

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