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Appalachian State Faces Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for the Sun Belt Conference Championship this Saturday; Team Sendoff Happening Friday Morning on King Street

December 2, 2021. Two familiar foes will battle for the Sun Belt Conference Championship this Saturday with the Mountaineers traveling to Lafeyette to take on the Ragin’ Cajuns. This will be the third meeting between the two teams in the conference championship game. App State won the previous two meetings in Boone, first a 30-19 triumph in 2018 and a 45-38 win in 2019. Mountaineer fans are encouraged to come out on Friday morning and line up on King Street as the team will depart Boone at 11:45 a.m. and head to Louisiana to try and capture their fifth Sun Belt Championship. Appalachian closed out the regular season last week with a 27-3 win over rival Georgia Southern at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The Mountaineer defense dominated the game, holding Georgia Southern to just 87 rushing yards on 46 carries, less than two yards per carry. App State linebacker D’Marco Jackson was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year as the captain of a stout Mountaineer defense all season long.  By Nathan Ham

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Public Presentation of Sustainable Tourism Management Plan for Blowing Rock on Dec. 8

December 1, 2021. This past summer, the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority (TDA) commissioned an in-depth study of Blowing Rock as a preliminary step toward a Sustainable Tourism Management Plan. Professional researcher and facilitator Roger Brooks of the Destination Development Association was hired to help the TDA and the Town of Blowing Rock coordinate the effort required to create this plan. In July of 2021, Mr. Brooks interviewed numerous residents and business owners while spending the month in town to learn about Blowing Rock first-hand. On Wednesday, December 8, Mr. Brooks will return to present Blowing Rock’s Sustainable Tourism Management Plan to the public.

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Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Holiday Concert to be held Saturday, December 18 at the Appalachian Theater

December 1, 2021. Mark your calendars for Saturday, December 18th at 7:30pm! Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is presenting “Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Holiday Concert” at the Appalachian Theater of the High Country. This is JSMHM’s first live concert since before the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown in March of 2020. This special seasonal themed holiday show features two wonderful groups – Zoe and Cloyd and the Mountain Home Blue Grass Boys. Proceeds from this concert will be shared with the Hospitality House and Santa’s Toy Box!

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LETTERS / Second Community Town Hall on App State’s Growth

December 1, 2021 Letters to the Editor. BY CLARK MADDUX / Dear Readers, The second town hall for community members, students, and concerned faculty is scheduled for this Friday, Dec. 3 from 5-6:30 in the New River and Watauga River rooms of the Plemmons Student Union. Your voices are needed and we hope you will attend. A significant new development has occurred since the first town hall. Appalachian State University recently announced the purchase of a new campus in Hickory, NC. Many questions remain to be answered about this purchase.

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Ensemble Stage Presents ‘A Banner Elk Christmas’ Beginning Friday, December 3 with Multiple Dates Throughout the Month

December 1, 2021. Ensemble Stage’s traditional Christmas musical “A Banner Elk Christmas” returns to the theater on Friday, December 3 at 7 p.m. The show will be presented five times this month with additional dates on December 5 at 2 p.m., December 17 at 7 p.m., December 18 at 7 p.m. and December 19 at 2 p.m. The musical variety show has been a High Country holiday tradition for the past 10 years. The show is around 70 minutes in length and features 27 musical numbers including all or parts of nearly 40 yuletide songs that will invigorate everyone’s holiday spirit.  By Harley Nefe

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Keeping the Season Merry and Bright —Anyway


December 1, 2021. This column from the first week of December 2020 had a rather dismal tone attached to it as I talked about all the things that were not going to happen during a usually festive season. And for the first time in many years, I commented, many of our December calendar blocks remained empty. Fast-forward about 52 weeks. While much has changed in the last year, things remain the same in many situations. Our red flags and caution lights, whether in reality or in our minds, are still present. The events calendar may be taking on a personality all its own this year, with a few more blocks colored in for fun — and life is somewhat normal for many — there are still those of us who are taking every turn with care and easing on the brakes when things start to move too fast. Vaxed, boosted, masked, gloved, infused, socially distanced — or not — many of us have learned not to take anything for granted, and are trying with all our might to stay healthy through this continuing time of uncertainty. After all, ‘tis the season to be merry, right? And with that does come increased opportunity for gatherings, and much-needed fellowship and good food. I’m all about that, within reason. And I promise you, my hesitancy does not come from the latest political or scientific forum. We all must do what we feel is the right thing to do for us as individuals and families. So, let’s get the party started in whatever venue you choose — the office, community functions or maybe just in your home with those closest to you opting for another quiet celebration. Here’s hoping we keep close to our hearts the real reason for the season — and everything else will fall into place. By Sherrie Norris

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Filing Period for 2022 Elections Starts on Monday and Ends on December 17

December 1, 2021. Candidate filing for the 2022 statewide primary and rescheduled municipal elections begins at noon on Monday, December 6, and ends at noon on Friday, December 17. Depending on the office sought, candidates will file their Notices of Candidacy with either their county board of elections or the State Board of Elections. Primary candidates for the following offices will file with the State Board of Elections: U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, N.C. Supreme Court Justice, Judge of the N.C. Court of Appeals, Superior Court judge, District Court judge, District attorney. Primary candidates for the following offices file with their county board of elections: N.C. Senate, N.C. House of Representatives, All county and municipal offices. State-level candidate filing typically takes place at the State Board of Elections office. But due to space constraints at the board office and the pandemic, filing was moved to the Fairgrounds for 2021. Parking is available next to the Exposition Center.

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Appalachian Theatre Rings in the Holidays with Darin and Brooke Aldridge; Husband and Wife Country Duo to Host Holiday Concert on Sunday

December 1, 2021. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) will kick off their holiday programming with a 3 p.m. matinee concert on December 5 featuring Darin and Brooke Aldridge and their bluegrass band. With roots in the High Country, this husband-and-wife team promise inspired bluegrass just in time for the holidays. “Christmas with Darin and Brooke Aldridge” is a live and in-person concert is sponsored by Mast General Store. “Brooke and I are from western North Carolina, she was actually born and raised in Avery County. Most of my family are from Avery County,” Darin said. The Aldridge’s have placed several tracks at the top of the charts on Roots, SiriusXM, Bluegrass and Gospel charts. They have received multiple nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Inspirational Country Music (ICM). Their music videos “Wildflower,” “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” and most recently, “Every Time You Leave,” all of which were heavily featured on media outlets including CMT, CMT Edge, GAC, Bluegrass Ridge TV and The Bluegrass Situation.

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Community Carol Sing Hosted By Banner Elk Presbyterian Church

November 30, 2021. On Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 3 PM, join in a sing-a-long of familiar Christmas carols inside the beautiful sanctuary of the historic Banner Elk Presbyterian Church. The first annual Community Carol Sing is a 45-minute casual service that includes favorites for adults and children alike, ranging from Let it Snow to Joy to the World. The grand piano and pipe organ provide accompaniment. Soloists and special musicians allow the audience to take a few breaks. Afterwards, tour a display of nativities from around the world and see historic photographs of the area.

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The Carolina Snowbelles to Perform Two Holiday Shows on December 4 and 5

November 30, 2021. A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas returns this December to the stage at Appalachian Theatre of the High Country and Alliance Auditorium. A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas is certain to feature something for everyone!  From beloved classics like Merry and Bright, Sing and Like This by The Carolina Snowbelles director Cheryl Cutlip, to a zesty new work by Brooke Church Handy performed to a rousing rendition of Go Tell it on the Mountain.  Ballet lovers will delight as dolls come to life in an enchanted toy shop scene choreographed by Bradley Parquette, and, to remind us of the true meaning of the holiday season, guest artists, The Turning Point Dance Company from Wilmington, NC, directed by Cory Smith, will be on hand to present an uplifting rendition of Handel’s Messiah.

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‘A New Way’ – Artist William Mangum’s 2021 Holiday Honor Card Now Available Throughout the High Country

November 30, 2021. For the thirteenth consecutive year, Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina, the nonprofit agency that serves as the point of entry for all homeless services in Ashe, Avery, Wilkes, Watauga, Alleghany, Mitchell, and Yancey counties, is offering William Mangum’s Honor Card this holiday season. Through a chance meeting in 1987 with Mike Saavedra, a homeless man, North Carolina Watercolor artist William Mangum’s perspective on life was forever changed. That good Samaritan outreach gave Bill a new perspective on how he could use his artistic talent to help those less fortunate. Ever since then, Bill has been a hands-on advocate for the needs of North Carolina’s homeless population, donating his artistic skills and publishing gifts to make The Honor Card program one of the most successful charitable programs in the country. Since its inception in 1998, The Honor Card has raised over to nine million dollars to assist the homeless families and individuals of North Carolina.

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Turchin Center Hosts Winter Exhibition Celebration During Festive First Friday

November 30, 2021. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University invites the community to a Winter Exhibition Celebration on Friday, December 3, 5-9 p.m. Downton Boone will be twinkling for the holidays as this event is being held in conjunction with the annual Festive First Friday with special events happening throughout downtown. The public is invited to engage, discover and connect through the arts at the Turchin Center where the festivities will include live music from Lauren Hayworth and Kim France, holiday cookies and hot chocolate. During this celebration, the Turchin Center will celebrate two new exhibitions and four additional exhibitions. This event is free and open to the public.

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Chetola Resort Festival of Lights Provides Holiday Cheer Through Jan. 30

November 30, 2021. Chetola Resort once again welcomes folks to its drive-through tour known as the Festival of Lights. The display includes close to 30,000 lights throughout the resort and around Chetola Lake. The Festival of Lights is free and open to the public. Drive the resort’s main thoroughfare and see lighted displays of carolers, a Nativity scene and other holiday symbols. Park and walk around Chetola Lake and the property, or just roll down the window to hear a merry melody.

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Blowing Rock Gets the Holiday Season Rolling with Their Christmas Parade on Saturday

November 28, 2021. Blowing Rock’s traditional Christmas celebrations were back this year with plenty of fun on Friday and Saturday. Friday night featured the Lighting of the Town ceremony at sunset with music, games and a visit from Santa Claus held during the day. On Saturday morning, Main Street was lined with folks waiting for the 10:00 am parade to begin. The town moved the parade time to 10 in the morning for 4th of July Parade this summer and kept that time for the Christmas Parade. That has allowed Main Street to be cleared of cars in parking spaces along the street to give everyone a front row seat to view the parade.

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Appalachian State Routs Georgia Southern 27-3 for 10th Win of 2021 Season

November 28, 2021. The Appalachian State Mountaineers won their 10th game of the 2021 season by beating long-time rival Georgia Southern 27-3 Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone. It marked the third time in the last six seasons that the Mountaineers (10-2 over-all, 6-1 Sun Belt Conference) have recorded 10 wins in the regular season. They did so in 2019 (finishing 13-1) and 2015 (11-2), and potentially missed out on the sterling accomplishment in 2018 because of a cancellation with Southern Mississippi because of Hurricane Florence. By Tim Gardner

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Beech Mountain Ski Resort Opened This Morning with Several Excited Skiers and Snowboarders Ready to Hit the Trails

November 26, 2021. Beech Mountain Ski Resort officially opened for the 2021-22 season on Friday morning with a good crowd of holiday weekend skiers and snowboarders on hand. “We have had a strong crowd today and we were able to open with four lifts and five trails,” said Talia Freeman, the Director of Marketing for Beech Mountain. “We’re still making snow and the customers seem really excited. The lifts opened at 8 a.m. for season pass holders. A DJ was out there playing music and there were even some prizes given away for people to take home from their first day on the slopes. Freeman said that the plan is to keep making snow with their new snowmaking equipment with the hopes of being able to open more trails next week as well as the terrain park.    By Nathan Ham

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Watauga County Man Pockets a NC Lottery $150,000 Prize the Day Before Thanksgiving

November 24, 2021. Johnny Sanders of Zionville took a chance on a $5 Holiday Cheer scratch-off ticket and won a $150,000 prize the day before Thanksgiving. Sanders purchased his ticket at the Valley Grocery on U.S. 421 North in Zionville. He claimed his prize Wednesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh and, after federal and state tax withholdings, took home $106,126.

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Blue Ridge Conservancy : Land Donation Adds Watauga River Access in Valle Crucis

November 24, 2021. Thanks to a generous donation of land, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) will soon open 8.5 acres of river access along the Watauga River in Valle Crucis, NC. MaryAnn Mueller and Diana Travis gifted 6 acres, and the Tennessee Valley Authority and Watauga Tourism Development Association funded the purchase of the other 2.5 acres. This land, located just past the N.C. 194 bridge, will have a public parking area and create easier access to the Watauga River Paddle Trail.

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Appalachian Ski Mtn. is Officially Open for the Season Celebrating its 60th Anniversary

November 24, 2021. Appalachian Ski Mtn. fired up the ski lifts on Wednesday morning to celebrate the opening of what they hope will be another great ski season in the High Country. “We are fortunate to have had some good weather here and be able to get a majority of the slopes open. It looks like winter around here again,” said Brad Moretz, owner of Appalachian Ski Mtn. The mountain is planning for 125 days of skiing this winter season “if everything goes well” according to Moretz. The first big event of the season will be the annual Appalachian Ski Mtn. Anniversary Weekend on December 4-5. This is the 60th year of operation for the mountain and as they do every year, ticket prices on those two days will be the same price as they were in 1962.   By Nathan Ham

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Holiday Gift Wrapping at Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock Now Available

November 24, 2021. Casting Bread is ready to ease your stress by providing gift wrapping services this holiday season. From November 19 to December 18, shoppers can visit Suite 16 (formerly, Bass outlet) at Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock from noon until 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for a beautifully wrapped gift at a small price. Proceeds from the gift-wrapping service benefit Casting Bread’s work to increase food security for people in need. You may also drop off donations of shelf-stable food at the gift-wrapping station, as well.

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W.A.M.Y. Community Action Asking for Donations for the 3rd Annual Santa for Seniors Gift Drive

November 24, 2021. W.A.M.Y. Community Action is asking the community to donate gifts to help spread holiday cheer to senior citizens who are shut-in, staying in assisted living or hospice care for WAMY’s third annual Santa for Seniors Gift Drive. In 2020, WAMY (Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey) delivered almost 800 holiday gift bags to senior citizens through the Santa for Seniors program. With hopes of exceeding last year’s goal, WAMY needs your help more than ever. Newly purchased Santa for Seniors items that are needed include socks with grips, blankets, lotion, lip balms, slippers, word activity books, sugar-free candy and winter accessories. Unwrapped gifts can be dropped of November 29-December 9th

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: So, What About All That Leftover Turkey?


November 24, 2021. Most cooks that I know will likely not be sitting in front of a computer today — or even have time to pull out their phones looking at a food column. Rather, they have had their menus and recipes chosen for weeks, and by the looks of local grocery store parking lots in the last few days, they have purchased all their needed ingredients for their family’s holiday feast, and are already in the process of some major prepping. Still, there are those who are able to pull something together at the last minute without the stress that many of us put ourselves through, and I applaud you if you have that ability. Regardless, there might be need for some leftover ideas to help rid the fridge of the other eight pounds of turkey your crew doesn’t eat on Thanksgiving Day. We’ll try to help with a few ideas to clear it out before we transition next week into the most festive holiday cooking marathon of the year: Christmas. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, filled with the comfort of family, food and fellowship. Special thoughts and prayers will be said for those of you who are missing loved ones around the table this year. I know what that’s like. By Sherrie Norris

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