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Appalachian State Theatre and Dance Production of “The Moors” Chosen for 2023 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

February 6, 2023 BOONE, NC – The Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University is one of only four programs in the entire southeastern United States chosen to participate in the regional Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).  This prestigious national theatre program involves more than 18,000 students from across the nation with the goal to recognize and celebrate the work done at the college theatre level. 

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Sunset and Vine: Sharon Crisman celebrates 10 years of business in 2023

February 3, 2023 Sharon Crisman, a marketing professional, purchased Christopher’s Wine and
Cheese in 2013. She said she didn’t know anything about wine at the time, but has enjoyed
learning the industry, developing her own taste for wine, and forming friendships with customers
over the years. She renamed the shop to Sunset & Vine in 2017, moved to a new building and
expanded the business. By Jan Todd

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A Conversation with Avery County Tax Administrator Andrea Turbyfill

February 2, 2023 Those who know Andrea Turbyfill best and others who come in contact with her often stress how impressed they are with her sincerity, kindness and the Christian manner in which she presents herself.  And as Avery County Tax Administrator, Turbyfill is held in high esteem by the citizens she serves as well as her administrative superiors and colleagues for her professionalism, fairness and expertise in the various job duties she holds. By Tim Gardner

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Avery County Officials Set Qualification Guidelines for Architectural Firms Interested in Designing New Parks & Recreation Complex

February 2, 2023 The County of Avery is currently accepting statements of qualifications from architectural firms interested in contracting with the County for architectural services related to the design and planning of a new Parks & Recreation complex. Avery Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Martha Hicks said the commissioners are “supportive of a new Parks & Recreation complex and will proceed with one as the county can, and can afford to.” By Tim Gardner

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Pioneers defend home court, 52-39, to sweep Cougars

February 2, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Although Alexander Central has one of the best women’s basketball teams in the Northwestern Conference and challenged Watauga on Jan. 10 in a low-scoring defensive battle before losing, 38-25, in Taylorsville, they couldn’t keep up in the Jan. 31 rematch at Lentz Eggers Gym. The Pioneers ran away with this one, 52-39, before a full house of fans on both sides of the gym floor. By David Rogers

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Watauga JVs rally from deep deficit to beat Cougars, 47-34

February 2, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Early in the second quarter on Jan. 31 at Lentz Eggers Gym, Watauga’s junior varsity men trailed Alexander Central, 17-7. In the blink of an eye the Pioneers went on an 11-0 run, erased the deficit and took an 18-17 lead into halftime. By David Rogers

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Lasher with a buzzer beater in Alexander Central’s win over Watauga, 39-37

February 1, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — After battling back to tie or go ahead of Alexander Central’s men’s basketball team on Jan. 31, at the end there was nothing more Watauga could do. With time ticking away in regulation and the score tied 37-37, the Cougars’ Chad Lasher took pass from the perimeter and laid the ball up and in, beating the buzzer by 0.1 seconds to secure Alexander Central’s win over the Pioneers, 39-37, in front of a packed crowd filling Lentz Eggers Gym. By David Rogers

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Fanfare: Reich Introduced as Carolina Panthers’ New Head Coach

February 1, 2023 CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While the sentimental favorite as the next Carolina Panthers head coach might well have been Steve Wilks (after leading the team to a near-berth in the NFL playoffs upon taking the reins during a chaotic mid-season), the Frank Reich hire makes a lot of sense — and on a couple of different levels. By David Rogers

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The Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle Shop wins “Judges Pick” in the Rotary Chilly Chili Challenge

February 1, 2023 For the next year, guests entering The Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle Shop will see a unique trophy on display– a giant bronze hand holding a red chili pepper between its thumb and middle finger. Saturday afternoon at the WinterFest Chilly Chili Challenge, a secret tasting panel of celebrity judges chose The Speckled Trout’s executive chef Michael Foreman for the “Judges Pick” award. His award-winning chili was a 4440 Ranch and Cattle Company Chuckwagon Chili.  The  Speckled Trout now holds onto the trophy until next year’s competition.  By Kris Testori

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App Theatre Announces Romantic Comedy Film Series in February: “Rom-Coms” include Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, and Pretty Woman

February 1, 2023 BOONE, NC – The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day the entire month of February with a Classic Romantic Comedy Film Series of movies suggested by patrons and the public in a recent online audience survey. February 2023 will showcase favorite “Rom-Coms” with three film screenings scheduled at 7 p.m. on the first three Tuesdays of the month. “Dirty Dancing” will lead off the series on February 7, followed by “The Notebook” on February 14, and concluding with “Pretty Woman” on February 21.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: February Fun and Food


February 1, 2023 . I am having a hard time believing that we are now in the month of February. Wasn’t it just last week that I was sharing recipes for Christmas, followed closely by tips to be healthier in the new year? And now, while February is Heart Month —and we will definitely explore that soon — there are two really big celebrations coming up that require a hometown food columnist to dig deep for some great ideas. I believe that  Super Bowl happens on the 12th this year, perhaps overshadowing  Valentine’s Day arriving two days later. And, many hosts and hostesses will be caught smack-dab in the middle trying to plan parties and celebrations for the crowd and quiet intimate dinners for two. Maybe.  By Sherrie Norris

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2023 Watauga Leadership Institute Cohorts Begin Coursework

February 1, 2023 BOONE, NC –The 2023 class of the Watauga Leadership Institute kicked off their coursework with an all-day retreat at Valle Crucis Conference Center January 25th. The event marks the beginning of a 12-week community development program that includes 44 total participants between two cohorts. Courtesy of Boone Area Chamber of Commerce

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Lt. Rick Ruppert Retires From Lengthy Law Enforcement Career in Watauga County

February 1, 2023 It was a bittersweet moment for Rick Ruppert when he signed off Sunday evening, Jan 29, for his last time as a lieutenant with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office. His final“10-42” message to the dispatchers in the communications center signaled the end to more than just a regular 12-hour shift. This time, it marked the end of his career as a full-time law enforcement officer in Watauga County. Many of those on the other end of his final call, dispatchers and fellow officers alike, responded with words and audible emotions that confirmed a close brotherhood,  fondness for their departing comrade and best wishes for his retirement. By Sherrie Norris

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Avery Community Yoga: Community is Where the Heart is

January 31, 2023 With ringing in the new year, there is a lot of focus on resolutions – especially when it comes to wellness and its eight dimensions: financial, vocational, intellectual, social, environmental, spiritual, emotional, and physical. And there is a locally owned Avery County yoga studio that believes in the holistic and multidimensional approach to wellness and strives to provide an inclusive safe space for people of all ages. By Harley Nefe

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Downtown Blowing Rock Glows Under Illuminated Lights and Ice Sculptures

January 30, 2023 Downtown Blowing Rock, already aglow with white holiday lights, became even more illuminated with the addition of a 20 feet long and six feet high sign with marquee letters spelling out Blowing Rock WinterFest. Cary resident Stephanie Foster said, “What an amazing addition to the WinterFest celebration. “When we pulled into town, everyone in our group, we were like, we have to take our photo in front of that sign.” She added that when she went to take the photo they had to wait several minutes to get their chance because of the crowds around the sign. By Kris Testori

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Nearly 125 Brave (Or Crazy) Souls Plunge Into Frigid Chetola Lake

January 29, 2023 An 88-year-old in a white bear costume was the star of the 2023 Winterfest Polar Bear Plunge. When asked why she took the plunge, Boone resident Joan Hearn replied,  “Why wouldn’t I?” Hearn is on the board of directors at High Country Caregivers, one of the Polar Bear Plunge funds recipients. This is my 30th jump,” Hearn said. “It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve done it many years, even back when it was held at the duck pond.”   By Kris Testori

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Feeding Avery Families to Open New Operations Center as Anticipation Abounds for A Most Productive Year in 2023 After Last Year’s Success Detailed

January 29, 2023 Feeding Avery Families (FAF), Inc. is a non-profit Christian-based organization in Avery County dedicated to eliminating hunger by any means possible, including monetary donations, volunteerism and food donations. And this most worthwhile and needed ministry will be moving into a new headquarters in late winter or early spring this year. A definite opening date has not been set.  By Tim Gardner

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WinterFeast Returns at The Green Park Inn After a Two-year Hiatus

January 27, 2023 After a two-year hiatus, local chefs once again had the opportunity to show off their culinary talent at WinterFeast. The dinner, with two seatings, took place at The Green Park Inn Thursday evening. Tickets to WinterFeast sold out fast. “This was our first year back, and we were in a different venue,” said Blowing Rock Chamber’s President and CEO, Charles Hardin. “This is definitely the most popular event of WinterFest, especially with the locals.”  By Kris Testori

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Grandfather Mountain kicks off the 2023 hiring season with February 15 job fair

January 27, 2023 LINVILLE, N.C. — Grandfather Mountain is inviting folks to take their careers to new heights — literally. The Linville, N.C.-based nonprofit nature park and preserve, owned and operated by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, is hiring across its various departments for the 2023 season and beyond, offering mountains of opportunities for job- and career-seekers. The organization is kicking it all off with a job fair on the mountain on Feb. 15 from 2-5 p.m. The event will take place at Mildred’s Grill, the nature park’s restaurant located in the new Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. Nine departments from across the mountain will be represented at the job fair.

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Blowing Rock is About to Turn Into an Ice Sculpture Wonderland

January 27, 2023 Friday afternoon, a Penske truck will roll into downtown Blowing Rock around noon, loaded with 30 original ice carvings and more than ten large uncarved blocks of ice, in preparations for WinterFest. The Truck will park at Memorial Park, unload the carvings, and deliver them to each of the local Blowing Rock businesses and establishments that commissioned them.  The sculptures are crafted by Artisan Ice Sculptures, one of only five Master Ice Carvers in the United States. By Kris Testori

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