August 18, 2022. After a lifetime of serving the people and animals of Avery County, Rachel Deal passed away on June 14. She was 92 years old and still an active member of the Board of Directors of the Avery Humane Society. Her life and legacy of love, care, kindness and tenacity inspire all who were fortunate to know her. Rachel’s desire to care for animals in Avery County began in her own living room more than 40 years ago. She brought home and cared for dozens of dogs and cats while she worked tirelessly to find forever families for them. It could be said that Rachel was the first “unofficial” Humane Society in the county. Understanding the urgent need, she helped start the Avery Humane Society in 1978. Joining with a team of passionate community members she worked “doggedly” to raise funds by hosting bake sales and even going door to door. Whoever knew Rachel understood that she was fearless when advocating for vulnerable animals. These efforts led to the opening of original animal shelter built on Stamey Branch Road.
August 17, 2022. If your friend or neighbor drops off a basket of tomatoes, a bucket of beans or a box of corn, by all means — accept it with gratitude and a big smile! Those days of fresh produce coming from local gardens will soon be over for this year, anyway, so take it and make it count. Thankfully, our local farmer’s markets will keep things available for a while longer, but even that will come to an end, eventually. Our family has once again been blessed with the generosity of those in our circle who have extended their bountiful harvests with us. In the last couple of weeks, we have “worked up” tomatoes into salsa and spaghetti sauce from the master gardener at the top of the hill; we have frozen beautiful full ears of corn from my son’s garden, have canned “a run” of amazing beans grown by special friends in town, and have finally tried and succeeded at making “cowboy candy” from hot peppers grown by family friends in Kernersville. I offer a big “thank you” to those who have shared and continue to share their garden goods with us. We are very appreciative and will enjoy some of it for months to come. Hope you are as blessed to enjoy locally grown produce and are able to put some “away” for later. My husband has said, as he looks at our pantry, “That will taste better than a snowball this winter. By Sherrie Norris
August 16, 2022 The 10th annual Back 2 School Festival was held on Saturday, August 13 at Watauga High School, providing school supplies to 1,687 students and their families, shattering the previous attendance record of 1,300 students set in 2021.
August 15, 2022 VALLE CRUCIS, NC — The Episcopal Church Women of Holy Cross Church in Valle Crucis are holding a “Hidden Treasures” Sale in the church parish hall at 122 Skiles Way, Banner Elk on Saturday, August 27 from 9 am to 3 pm. Benefitting the mission work of the church, the sale is designed to be an organized, well-curated version of the rummage sales that the churchwomen hosted in the past.
August 14, 2022. Two artists share Edgewood Cottage this week, Scott Ballard, who started his art journey in photography before turning to paint, and Randi Robeson, who works in oils. As Chief Photographer at Lees-McRae College followed by Program Photographer for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Scott’s art journey began with photography. Since that time, he has continued to diversify into painting and has taken part in juried art shows, “Best of the Blue Ridge” shows, and BRAHM’S Plein Air Festival. His work is included in the recently published “Painters and Their Paintings: Ashe County, NC” by Doug Monroe. Scott would enjoy sharing his works and process with you this week at Edgewood Cottage.
August 11, 2022 Grammy Award-winning Riders In The Sky will be serenading and joking with guests at Tweetsie Railroad again this summer. America’s Favorite Cowboys will perform their unique blend of Western music and comedy performance on Saturday and Sunday August 13 and 14. The group includes Ranger Doug, an incredibly talented guitarist and yodeler; Too Slim, the bass player and star comedian; Woody Paul, the King of Cowboy Fiddlers; and master accordionist Joey “the CowPolka King.” Riders In The Sky came together as an unlikely group of friends working in physics, wildlife, and Polka dancing before becoming America’s Favorite Cowboys.
August 11, 2022 With the start of a new school year less than two weeks away, Watauga County students and their families will not have to take the journey alone, at least while shopping for supplies. The local Back 2 School Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 13 at Watauga High School, is now in its 10th year of making life easier for many already struggling through an often confusing and financially draining time. By Sherrie Norris
August 11, 2022. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland.
August 10, 2022 Dinner in the Gap was an event like no other. The farm-to-table gala on Sunday evening, Aug. 7, “celebrating the fruits of the farmer’s labor,” was a statewide collaborative with special emphasis on the High Country — and featuring a live auction with proceeds topping $8,000 for F.A.R.M. Café in Boone. Hosted by BFR Meats on a tract of the Blake Brown family farm on Hwy. 421, in Deep Gap, the celebration brought together approximately 200 farmers, friends, food industry leaders and supporters from the sand hills to the mountains. The picturesque setting provided a perfect backdrop for the event, headed up by Daniel and Alex Brown and Tina Houston, with well-known industry personalities in attendance. By Sherrie Norris
August 10, 2022. This time of year could easily send a food columnist over the edge while trying to decide which garden vegetable or fruit to feature next. As most of you know, especially if you have followed this column for any amount of time, I do try to keep things seasonal and often focus on one food at a time. But, usually around this same time every year, I also begin to panic as I realize I’m running out of time — the beans, corn, tomatoes and peaches are “coming in” all at the same time and might just have to share space here. So, for the next few weeks, I’m going to just throw out as many recipes as I can to include these delectable late summer produts. They likely appear together on most tables during this season, anyway, so let’s just take it as it comes and enjoy every single morsel while we can. There’s nothing quite like a homegrown “mess” of beans, a fresh ear of corn, a big juicy red tomato and peaches from the flatlands to round out a summer supper in the country. Yum yum!! By Sherrie Norris
August 10, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY Mark A. Murphy PhD, JD / During the pandemic, “Woke Political Indoctrination” and/or the concepts of Critical Race Theory and Identity Politics crept into the educational materials used by some of the teachers in the Watauga County Schools. This occurred with the financial support and approval of both the North Carolina state government and Watauga County Board of Education.
August 8, 2022. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is proud to collaborate with the Town of Boone to observe Doc Watson Day on Friday, August 19, 2022. This event is an annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of its namesake, Doc Watson. Due to the generous support of First Horizon, the App Theatre will host a live performance by Grammy Award-winner Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper at 7:30 p.m. at the historic venue in downtown Boone, NC. Tickets are only $25.
August 8, 2022 WAMY Community Action’s executive director Melissa Soto was celebrated for her thirty years of service at a surprise party held in her honor at The Beacon in Boone on Sunday, July 24. Staff, family, former clients and other supporters toasted Soto and spoke of her contributions to the organization and to the community. “Melissa is dedicated to the clients we serve and the staff she leads,” said Allison Jennings, director of development at WAMY. “She is a wonderful role model and inspires us all to do our best.” By Jan Todd
August 8, 2022. Two artists share Edgewood Cottage this week, Craig Franz who works in pastels and oils, and Robert Dennis, who creates Tromp d’Oeil images. A forty-two year resident of western North Carolina’s High Country, Frederick “Craig” Franz’s home in Avery County is a landscape artist’s dream. His home is at the foot of rugged Grandfather Mountain and on the northern border of the Pisgah National Forest. The High Country’s four full seasons provide Craig with unlimited inspiration from which to paint. Working in soft pastels and oils, his award-winning paintings are created both plein air and in the studio. Come meet Craig from August 8th through August 14th at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.
August 8, 2022 It’s almost time for one of Avery County and the High Country’s most anticipated yearly events– the Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural (A & H) Fair. Thanks to the collaboration of the Avery County Government and the community members who volunteer to operate it, this year’s Avery A&H Fair will run from Wednesday, September 7 through Saturday, September 10. It will be the fourth year that it will be hosted on the Heritage Park property since the completion of the county’s agriculture building on the site. Heritage Park is located at 661 Vale Road in Newland, which is approximately one-half mile behind the Ingles Markets Grocery Store. By Tim Gardner
August 7, 2022 High Country Caregivers Executive Director Jacob Willis told the Avery County Commissioners at their regular monthly meeting on August 1 in the County Administration Building in Newland about the existing programs the organization has in Avery County and upcoming programs that will be implemented with grant funding recently received. Willis noted that all these programs will greatly benefit Avery Countians who qualify for such assistance, as the commissioners Martha Hicks (Chairperson), Tim Phillips, Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr., Blake Vance and Dennis Aldridge agreed. By Tim Gardner
August 5, 2022 The Blowing Rock Civic Association (BRCA) held its annual meeting on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at the famous Perry Car Barn in Blowing Rock. It was attended by several hundred members of this active community organization. The BRCA was started in 2015 by a group of citizens to promote and improve the quality of life in Blowing Rock by evaluating civic issues, educating and engaging residents on key issues, working with local government and the business community, and encouraging citizens to register to vote, to be involved and to vote in local elections in which a few votes can make a big difference.
August 5, 2022 The first annual Banner Elk Firehouse Fundraiser will feature a very entertaining musical, Always Nina: A Tennessee Story and Songbook. The show will be performed at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church on Thursday, August 25 at 7 PM, August 26 at 2 PM and August 27 at 2 PM. Admission is free. Members of the church are underwriting all costs, so 100% of donations collected at each show go directly to Banner Elk Volunteer Fire Rescue.
August 5, 2022 It’s that time again! Boone VFW Post 7031 invites everyone to come on out to a dinner and a show on Saturday, August 20 from 3-7 p.m. Renowned country chef Randy Blake will be cooking up a feast for the ages! Guests will be served their choice of 10oz ribeye loin, salmon, fried flounder, oysters (fried or raw), scallops along with baked potato or fries, a salad or coleslaw, and dinner rolls.
August 5, 2022 Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina is moving forward with its largest annual fundraiser, the Hope Luncheon, Friday August 19, 2022, at Blue Ridge Mountain Club. In conjunction with that event, there will be an online auction featuring over four hundred items valued at close to $150,000.
August 5, 2022 Approximately 1,900 students will head back to classes in Avery County Public Schools on Monday, August 15, to open the 2022-23 academic year. That first day of school will run the entire day. “We are very excited to welcome all staff and students back for the new academic year. A lot of preparation (by school officials, teachers and other employees) has taken place this summer in hopes of making the 2022-23 academic and sports year the best school year ever in Avery County,” said Schools Superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman, who was hired to the post by the then Avery Board of Education members in 2019. By Tim Gardner
August 5, 2022 The Avery County Solid Waste Department will have a one-day, Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day on August 27. The annual event is considered one in which county residents can help protect the environment by properly disposing of household hazardous waste items, according to Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. Avery County residents only may dispose of such items from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in collection areas located behind the Avery Board of Education administrative offices in Newland. Signs will be posted at the roadsides there indicating the waste collection site, Barrier, Jr. added. By Tim Gardner
August 4, 2022. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland.
August 4, 2022 The upper parking area of Watauga High School in Boone was transformed into a huge community block party on Tuesday, Aug. 2, as individuals of all ages and walks of life gathered for National Night Out. From 6-8 p.m., Watauga County’s Third Annual National Night Out was among thousands of similar events held across the country in an effort to bring communities together. The main purpose, and one that was obviously fulfilled locally this week, is to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement, while bringing back a true sense of community as we once knew it. It’s been happening across America since 1984, but only for the last three years has the High Country area participated in the effort. By Sherrie Norris
August 4, 2022 Allen Tate Realtors®, in partnership with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, has acquired Beverly-Hanks Realtors, the market-leading independent real estate brokerage headquartered in Asheville, N.C. and serving Western North Carolina. This announcement marks Allen Tate’s entry into the Asheville/Mountain region and the growth of a homegrown business as Beverly-Hanks joins a family of the nation’s top independent real estate brokers.