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Movie Review: Many Things are Wrong with ‘Firestarter’; Hard to Think of Anything Positive

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May 20, 2022 It’s the week after a big blockbuster in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” and you know that means: I’m going to review a movie that got absolutely stomped on at the box office. There can be respectable runners-up in busy holiday seasons, but very rarely does something worthwhile open right after that first-weekend-in-May extravaganza, especially when the MCU is involved. Make no mistake, Universal sent this movie out to die, its only audience comprised of people who “have” to see a movie every week (people like me, come to think of it). And being sent out to die is exactly the kind of release this movie deserves. The film is based on a Stephen King novel about a girl with telekinetic powers that can cause deadly destruction when emotionally triggered. Not “Carrie,” a different one, though I can’t help but think that giving the main character a name that’s about two letters off isn’t going to make it seem less derivative. 11-year-old Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) can start fires with her mind whenever she wants, and sometimes when she doesn’t want. It’s basically the opposite problem as the main character from a certain kids’ movie, and yes, I did sarcastically sing “Let It Go” a few times while watching this garbage.   By Bob Garver

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Ashe Habitat for Humanity Receives $25,000 Donation from Blue Ridge Relay Runner

May 20, 2022. Ashe County Habitat for Humanity received a $25,000 donation from a runner in the Blue Ridge  Relay, which is an annual event that passes through Ashe County every fall. After running parts  of the Relay through the county and meeting Habitat volunteers helping with the race over the  past few years, he began to feel a connection with Ashe County. The donor runner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was impressed with the work of the mostly volunteer-run affiliate and  knows his money will help increase the organization’s impact on the affordable housing  shortage in the county. His donation will help break ground and lay the foundations for the next  two homes in the Hickory Hill community, speeding up Habitat’s ability to build decent,  affordable homes in partnership with hard-working Ashe County families.

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See Art in the Heart of Banner Elk at Four Summer Shows at Historic Banner Elk School

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May 20, 2022 Four times this summer, Art on the Greene brings original artwork in a variety of media to the green at the Historic Banner Elk School. Located in the center of this small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the shows create an idyllic setting for meeting artists, admiring their work and shopping for handmade pieces. The two-day shows take place on the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend May 28-29; July Fourth weekend, July 2-3; the first weekend of August, Aug. 6-7; and Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3-4. “The arts are important to the town of Banner Elk, and Art on the Greene is one way we celebrate them,” says Nancy Owen, Banner Elk’s tourism director. “We’re in such a beautiful spot in the mountains; the scenery and aesthetics are very fitting for an event like this.”

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Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock to Open Doors to Artists in Residence Program on Memorial Day Weekend

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May 20, 2022 Visiting Blowing Rock this summer? Stop by Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock, the circa 1890 home and studio of renowned American artist Elliott Daingerfield. On Memorial Day weekend, the doors of the  Cottage will swing open to welcome visitors to a series of free weekly art shows featuring the works of 25 juried High Country artists.  Come meet the artists and enjoy their works, to include photography, painting, pottery, fiber art, wood furniture, glass, ceramic, and leather. Art for virtually every interest and budget! This free weekly program runs from May 28th through September 11, 10 to 5 daily. See https://www.artistsatedgewood.org/2022-schedule for detailed information about each artist and his/her media. The Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage program is sponsored by the Blowing Rock Historical Society. The Society operates both Edgewood Cottage and the 1888 Museum and continues to celebrate and promote Blowing Rock’s heritage through its events and programs. To learn more, please visit the Society’s website at www.blowingrockhistoricalsociety.com

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Jamie Parson Named Chief Diversity Officer at Appalachian State University

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May 18, 2022 Jamie Parson has been named chief diversity officer at Appalachian State University, effective immediately. Parson is the second cabinet-level chief diversity officer to hold the position at App State. Parson has held the position of interim chief diversity officer at App State since May 2021. “Jamie came into the interim role well known for her leadership with diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at App State, and she is widely respected on our campus and nationally,” Chancellor Sheri Everts said. “Her research, scholarship and service have consistently included diversity, equity and inclusion work.” Everts continued, “In the last year, since I appointed Jamie interim chief diversity officer, she has led many important diversity, equity and inclusion accomplishments for App State. Her work has included promoting transparency in policies and expectations, continuing to enhance the university’s evaluative methods, disaggregating data to assist with making data-driven decisions, advancing professional development and networking opportunities, and partnering with numerous individuals and units across the university to implement unit-level and campus wide diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.”

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Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center Earns American Diabetes Association Recognition

May 18, 2022. The Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center’s diabetes self-management education program in Boone, NC has been awarded continued Recognition from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The program was originally recognized in August, 2018. This program offers high-quality education services to the patients it serves. The ADA Education Recognition Program (ERP) effort, begun in the fall of 1986, is a voluntary process which assures that approved education programs have met the National Standards for Diabetes  Self-Management Education (DSME) Programs.  Programs that achieve Recognition status have a staff of knowledgeable health professionals who can provide state-of-the-art information about diabetes management for participants.

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2022 Avery Primary Election Results… Henley, Burleson, Aldridge, Young, Jr., Singleton and Edwards Win County Races

May 18, 2022 Three first-time political candidates were the top vote-getters in their respective races to highlight Tuesday’s primary in Avery County. Mike Henley won the Sheriff’s race. He received 2,843 votes. Lee Buchanan got 1077; and Russell Carver received 173. With three seats open in the County Commissioners race, Robert Burleson received the highest number of votes with 1,963. Incumbents Dennis Aldridge and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. followed with the next highest voting numbers.  Aldridge got 1,853 votes and Young, Jr. 1,812. In the non-partisan Board of Education race, winners to fill the two seats open were: Randy Singleton, who got the most votes with 1,878, and incumbent Patricia (Pat) Edwards with 1,355.  By Tim Gardner

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Clay for Community Pottery Sale Fundraiser on June 4; Proceeds to Help Feeding Avery Families

May 18, 2022. The Clay for Community Pottery Sale will be held Saturday, June 4, 2022, at Linville River Pottery studio. This fundraiser will donate 75% of all proceeds to Feeding Avery Families, a non-profit Christian organization in Avery County dedicated to eliminating hunger through a variety of programs. Located near the Linville Land Harbor community, Patti Connor-Greene and husband Dan Greene will have new pottery fresh from the kiln, as well as longtime favorites and sale pots. Browse a variety of handmade mugs, bowls, vases, dreamscapes, earthscapes and woodland series. According to Patti, “Dan and I are glad to be able to give back to our community, lending our hands in support of the meaningful work of Feeding Avery Families.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Thinking Lighter, Simpler Meals As The Heat Rises


May 18, 2022. As we transition into the warmer late days of spring, with summer just around the corner, it’s only natural that we start thinking of ways to keep the kitchen cooler and enjoy lighter, simpler meals. It’s a busy time right now with the end of the school year in sight and most families with school-age children hustling to make every minute count. Whether on the way to the baseball games or other late afternoon and evening functions, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush and miss out on nutritional meals at home. Let’s make it simple this week with some fun food ideas for the family to enjoy together. By Sherrie Norris

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Haircut 101 in Downtown Boone Will Be Closing Its Doors for the Last Time This Thursday

May 17, 2022. On Thursday May 19th, Haircut101, a downtown Boone staple for the past 33 years under the leadership of founder and owner John Mena, will be closing its salon doors for the last time. “This was far from an easy decision, but after a great deal of thought and reflection, the time feels right for me to shift some of my priorities in life,” said Mena. Last month, Mena sold the building that has housed Haircut101 for the last 26 years, following its original Depot Street location that burned down. The new owner of the building has no immediate plans for the building and is now exploring options and ideas. “I feel very fortunate and lucky to have persevered all these years in spite of myself,” said Mena. “I’ve been supported and encouraged by numerous friends, family and employees which have kept the doors open these past many years. I have been very, very blessed.”

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Ensemble Stage Brings Four Premieres to Hahn Auditorium this Summer for its 13th Season

May 17, 2022. For its 13th summer season, Ensemble Stage brings four premieres to Hahn Auditorium at the Historic Banner Elk School. The professional theater company performs a world premiere, an international premiere and two regional premieres. In addition to four Main Stage shows, Ensemble Stage puts on interactive kids’ shows June 11 and 18, and July 9 and 30. “The Hitchcock Radio Hour,” which includes two staged radio plays, runs October 28-29. And the beloved holiday tradition “A Banner Elk Christmas 4” returns Dec. 2-18.

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“I Draw Slow” Takes the Stage at the Appalachian Theatre; Popular Irish Folk Music and Storytelling Quintet Debuts on June 3  

May 16, 2022. Touring the United States from Dublin, Ireland, the popular quintet “I Draw Slow” makes their debut performance at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 3 with energy that is “truly infectious.” I Draw Slow coaxes the past into the present with original songs that draw from the best of Irish storytelling and American folk music with close-harmony vocals and intriguing instrumentation. Established as perennial festival favorites, they have danced their way across the stages of MerleFest, Pickathon, Wintergrass, RockyGrass, and Grey Fox, in addition to numerous appearances on radio shows, including the syndicated “Mountain Stage.”

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Avery County Had 991 Early and Absentee Votes Cast; Primary Election to be held Tuesday, May 17 for all Eligible Voters Who Did Not Vote Early or by Absentee Ballot

May 16, 2022 What an election official termed as a “usual high volume,” 991 votes were cast during the 13-day, 2022 early voting period in Avery County. That was seven more than the 984 who voted early in Avery County in 2020. All 2022 Early Voting had to be conducted solely in the Avery County Senior Citizens Center in Newland. Every Early Voting opened on April 28 and closed on May 14. County races for Clerk of Court, County Commissioner, Register of Deeds, Coroner and non-partisan Board of Education are on the ballot this year as well as several for various regional, state and federal offices.  By Tim Gardner

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Annual Run For Holland for Down Syndrome and Mentally Handicapped Awareness Another Major Success

May 13, 2022 The 2022 Run For Holland, held May 7, and yearly since 2014 in the North Carolina High Country Town of Spruce Pine in Mitchell County, was like each of the others in its nine-year history—a major success. When Mitchell County couple Adam and Brooke Burleson discovered that one of their daughters would be born with Down Syndrome, they turned it into an event to positively impact an entire community. The couple organized this 5k run in Spruce Pine to raise awareness for individuals with Down syndrome and other physical and mental disabilities. The event, called Run for Holland, is named after their daughter Holland, who was born with Down syndrome, and has changed their lives and those of all others who participate in the race in a most positive manner.  By Tim Gardner

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Bret Bullis Named Warden at Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution

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May 13, 2022 Justice has named High Country native Bret Bullis as the new warden of the Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution, located in the far Southern end of Avery County in the Kalmia Community. Bullis had been the associate warden for custody and operations at the Marion, NC Correctional Institution, a close and minimum custody prison, since 2020. “Warden Bullis is a longtime resident of Spruce Pine and has earned vast experience with all aspects of managing the operations of a large prison,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons. “He’s an excellent addition to our team of wardens who work so hard to protect the staff, the offenders, and our communities with caring and compassion.”  By Tim Gardner

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Movie Review: ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Can Never Quite Deliver the Right Amount of Chaos

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May 13, 2022 After “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” I was a little apprehensive about the Marvel Cinematic Universe exploring more of the Multiverse. Sure, seeing guest stars from two other universes was great and all, but I was (and still am) worried that the MCU will use the Multiverse as an excuse to do whatever it wants. Years of continuity can be undone with the writers just shrugging and saying, “The Multiverse.” Don’t get me wrong, some course corrections may be worth making (can we get Michael B. Jordan’s “Black Panther” villain Erik Killmonger back somehow?), but if they’re overdone, the movies will become stakeless and uninteresting. The good news is that “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” doesn’t fall into this trap. Aside from a rapid-fire sequence in the middle, this movie only spends significant time in four or five universes. We get a variety of settings without the movie overdoing it, like the imaginative-but-cluttered “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” For a movie about the Multiverse, this movie was a lot more grounded than I expected, and I mean that in a good way. The bad news is that I couldn’t really get invested in the story in any universe, and of course I don’t mean that in a good way.  By Bob Garver

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Blue Ridge Conservancy Secures Crucial Property for Recreation and Access on the Middle Fork Greenway

May 13, 2022. This week, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) purchased 33 acres of land just outside Boone, providing a critical link for the Middle Fork Greenway, which will connect Boone to Blowing Rock. The property features 2,000 feet of frontage along the Middle Fork New River and will be known as Boone Gorge Park. In addition to the public access and recreational opportunities provided by the property, protecting this portion of the river is hugely important because it is located just upstream of Boone’s primary source of drinking water. The property was purchased from the family of Artie Hollars, and BRC is grateful for their help in conserving this exceptional tract of land. Funding for the project came from the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority and the State Capital Infrastructure Fund.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Rhubarb – A Tart Taste Not Easily Forgotten


May 12, 2022. Rhubarb is among the fruits of spring that begin to show up about this time every year. Technically a vegetable, rhubarb is especially good when combined with strawberries, my springtime favorite.
Rhubarb is easily recognized by its rosy red and green tinged stalks with green leaves. Once you get a bite of its distinct tart flavor, you will never forget it. When buying rhubarb, look for crisp and firm stalks that have a nice bright color and are free from blemishes and cuts. The leaves, if still attached, should appear fresh and not wilted. Rhubarb can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for a few days before using — stalks become mushy if stored too long. Make sure to cut out tough and stringy fibers and brown spots before using. By Sherrie Norris

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Willie Watson to Perform at App Theatre on Thursday, June 16; Debut Concert is First Event on Mast Store Americana Music Series

May 10, 2022. Fresh from his celebrated appearance at Merlefest, popular folksinger Willie Watson, co-founder of the Old Crow Medicine Show, will make his long-awaited debut at the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 16 as a prelude to the Boonerang Music and Arts Festival that weekend. Tickets go on sale to the public at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10 at an “early bird” price of $10 per seat, and rising to $15 per ticket on May 12, 2022.

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Mountain Home Music and the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, in Partnership with the Watauga Arts Council are Pleased to Announce the Inaugural Season of Concerts in the Gardens

May 10, 2022. Mountain Home Music and the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) are pleased to announce a series of concerts in the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, in partnership with the Watauga Arts Council Mountain Home Music and the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) are pleased to announce a series of concerts in the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, in partnership with the Watauga Arts Council. Concerts in the Garden will run from 4 PM – 6 PM. Gates will open at 3 PM to allow time to enjoy the garden and shop. Each program will feature local art & craft vendors curated by the Watauga Arts Council along with beer, wine, food offerings, walking tours, garden history, and live music. Tickets are $10 for Mountain Home Music and BRAHM members, children under 13, and $15 for the public and are available via blowingrockmuseum.org. Patrons should bring a blanket or folding chair.

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