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Tickets for An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 40th Anniversary Season on Sale Now! 

April 17, 2024 Tickets are on sale now for Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts celebration, An Appalachian Summer Festival, celebrating 40 years June 29-July 27 with an exciting mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, and film programming. Performances will take place at numerous venues on the campus of App State. From alt-rock, bluegrass and blues, to soul, Broadway, classical and more, the festival has something for everyone. Purchase tickets online at AppSummer.org, by calling 828-262-4046, or in person at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office, 733 Rivers St.

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NC State Lottery Commission Releases March Sports Wagering Activity Report

April 17, 2024 RALEIGH – The North Carolina State Lottery Commission on Tuesday released its first monthly sports wagering activity report. The report compiles the sports wagering activity in March as submitted by the eight licensed interactive sports wagering operators. Between the start of sports wagering in North Carolina at noon on March 11 through March 31, North Carolinians wagered $659,308,541 on sports events, including paid wagering revenue and promo wagering revenue. From those wagers, North Carolinians won $590,750,303.

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Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Invites You to the 8th Annual 4 Under 40 Awards Ceremony!

April 17, 2024 This year’s event takes place at the The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country on Wednesday, April 24 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. This annual showcase of emerging leaders is presented by title sponsor Appalachian Commercial Real Estate. Come meet, mingle, and celebrate with 16 emerging High Country leaders honored across four categories: Business Owner, Rising Star, Non-Profit Professional, and Education Professional.

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App State, Blue Cross NC Partner to Expand Outreach Programs for Aging Adults

April 17, 2024 Appalachian State University has received $320,000 from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) to expand the Aging Well program, an initiative by Appalachian Institute for Health and Wellness (App Well) housed in App State’s Beaver College of Health Sciences (BCHS) that aims to equip older adults to successfully navigate the aging process. The Blue Cross NC funding creates resources to grow the existing program in the High Country and extend the program’s reach to the Greater Hickory area, with services mirroring those available in Boone.

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Join the Town of Boone in Unveiling New Solar Arrays on April 19 at the Clawson-Burnley Park

April 16, 2024 The Town of Boone is excited to announce the unveiling of two solar arrays at the Clawson-Burnley Park picnic shelters. The community is invited to join us for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 19 at 11:00 a.m., located at 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, as we celebrate this milestone in sustainable energy.These two solar arrays will help the Town of Boone reach the goals outlined in the Boone Community Climate Action Plan

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The 36th Annual MerleFest is Just One Week Away! Kicks Off Next Thursday, April 25 

April 16, 2024 The countdown is on! MerleFest, presented by Window World, is almost here. With just one week to go until music fans from all walks of life gather for the annual springtime pilgrimage to Wilkesboro, NC, the anticipation is as palpable as ever. As an enthusiastic crew of staff and volunteers make the final preparations for this year’s event, first timers and longtime attendees alike are busy reviewing the recently-announced stage schedules, downloading the official MerleFest mobile app, and planning their ideal, music-filled weekend. 

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App State Chancellor Sheri Everts Steps Down After a Decade of Leadership Effective April 19

April 15, 2024 After 10 years as Chancellor of Appalachian State University, Dr. Sheri Everts announced she is stepping down, effective April 19. In a message to students, faculty and staff on April 15, Everts said, “Over the last few months, I have been experiencing significant health challenges, and I must now focus on my personal health and wellbeing.” “The last decade has been a time of growth and momentum for Appalachian State,” said University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans. Hans said he would announce an interim chancellor for the university by April 19.

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Chetola Resort’s Dustin Coffey Wins International Fly-Fishing Guide of Year Award from Orvis

April 15, 2024 Chetola Resort’s manager of fly fishing and head guide Dustin Coffey has landed a prestigious award. Coffey was named the 2024 Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide of the Year on April 5 during the organization’s annual owners and partners meeting in Manchester, Vermont. Coffey calls the award the “heavyweight championship of the world for fly fishing guides.” It goes annually to the Orvis-endorsed guide who earns the highest customer satisfaction rating, while also excelling in the areas of conservation and recruitment of new people to the sport.

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Watauga County Childcare Study Released

April 15, 2024 The Watauga Economic Development Commission and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announce the results of a comprehensive study of the childcare landscape in Watauga County.  The Watauga County Childcare Study includes a full 51-page report along with an executive summary. This information was presented to two groups of local childcare industry practitioners, business leaders, elected officials, and parents on April 9, 2024. In late 2023, the organizations partnered with Dancy Research to conduct the study. After surveying parents and local employers and conducting focus groups and one-on-one interviews, over 700 stakeholder engagements were analyzed over a three-month time period.

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Friends of the Watauga County Public Library to Sponsor the Swingbillies of Boonetown: Musical Symbolism and Sufi Poetry at Grace Lutheran Church on Tuesday, April 23 at 4 pm

April 15, 2024 In honor of National Poetry Month, the Friends of the Watauga County Public Library will sponsor The Swingbillies of Boonetown: Musical Symbolism and Sufi Poetry. This FREE educational concert will be focused on the Sufi tradition of composing music for ancient poetry (represented by guitar player, Savash Altuntash, who is a practicing Sufi and Turkish immigrant) and how musicians go about composing and arranging music to fit the symbolism, tone, and mood of these poems. Different cultural elements will be brought to light in the music, melding traditions of Appalachia and The Middle East.  The audience will also learn about how to achieve and interpret symbolism in music and the history of music in Sufi poetry

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Movie Review: “Civil War” Now Playing at Boone Regal

April 15, 2024 “Civil War” presents one of the most intriguing premises of the year, maybe of the last several years: what if Texas and California were to secede from the United States and join forces to wage war against their former home country? In short, everyone would lose. The economy would tank so badly that $300 would buy you a ham sandwich or cheese sandwich – but not both. There wouldn’t be a sports stadium left for sports and not crisis centers. Violence and death would lurk around every corner. And needless to say, things would be a nightmare for the press

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Highway 321 Road Closure Update: It Will be Days, Not Hours Before Roadway Reopens

April 14, 2024 The north and south bound lanes of NC Hwy 321 have been closed since Thursday afternoon. The road closure was caused by rocks, mud and debris coming down from the mountain. Due to the potential risk of the newly exposed terrain above the road, NC DOT came to evaluate. Thanks to coordinated efforts by Watauga and Caldwell counties, along with the Town of Blowing Rock, no vehicles were damaged during the rock slide.

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 5K to Benefit Children’s Council of Watauga County Saturday, April 27 on Boone Greenway

April 12, 2024 The Fraternity and Sorority Life Programming Board and Order of Omega Leadership Honor Society of Appalachian State University are teaming up to present a 5K for the Kids Color Walk/Run on April 27 beginning at 10 a.m. on the Boone Greenway in Boone. According to group spokesperson, Hadley Ladue, “This professionally organized event will allow us to give back to the community we support, while benefiting the Children’s Council of Watauga County.” By Sherrie Norris

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Where Will You Be for the 150th Kentucky Derby? Hopefully in Boone – and Here’s Why…

April 12, 2024 “The Annual Spirit Ride Derby Party is not just the ‘next best thing’ to being at the Kentucky Derby; we would argue that it is the BEST place to be on May 4th! The event will take place at the stunning Hidden Hills Equestrian Center, located in the heart of Valle Crucis. It is sure to be an unforgettable experience.” Guests will be treated to a delicious spread of ‘Derby Style’ food, Mint Juleps, and tasty mocktails by Gadabouts Catering, local beer from Lost Province, and wine courtesy of the Banner Elk Winery. The Gravel ‘n Grit Band will provide live music, while exciting raffles, auctions, and a bourbon pull will keep you entertained. But, at 6:24 pm, the attention turns to the big screen to watch the Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby!

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Statement from App State Concerning a Stabbing that Took Place on Campus Thurdsay; An App State Student Has Been Arrested

April 11, 2024 On Thursday, April 11, at 12:07 p.m., App State Police responded to a report of a stabbing in the area of Peacock Hall. One individual was injured, and after being treated on the scene, was transported to Watauga Medical Center and is receiving treatment. A suspect vehicle was seen leaving campus and two suspects were taken into custody at approximately 12:30 p.m. There is no ongoing threat to campus

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Highway 321 South of Green Hill Road in Blowing Rock is Closed Due to Mud Slide

April 11, 2024 BLOWING ROCK – Hwy. 321 is closed north and south bound south of Green Hill Road just past the Green Park Inn. Earlier Thursday afternoon a small mud slide took over the south bound lanes and the mud, large rocks and debris has continues to make the entire roadway untenable. NCDOT is working with officials from both Caldwell and Watauga county.  The road will need to be cleared and the hill will need to be secured before the road is opened. Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers says “According to DOT, the road will be closed until at least noon on Friday as the geo-engineers assess the situation.”.

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Remembering Local Businessman, Zionville Community Icon, David Miller

April 11, 2024 The Zionville community, as well as the entire High Country region, East Tennessee and beyond, are mourning the death of local businessman, David Miller. Miller died on Monday, April 8, at his home surrounded by his loving family following a brief, but valiant fight with cancer. Miller’s name and his reputation — as not only the driving force behind Miller’s Farm Supply for nearly half a century, but also as a strong community leader, servant and advocate — is one that will not be easily forgotten. Nor should it be. With his wife, Terri, by his side since the mid-1970’s, Miller provided a much-needed service to the western part of Watauga County in more ways than one.  By Sherrie Norris

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Meet-and-Greet Sessions with NASCAR and High Country Legend Waddell Wilson A Success

April 10, 2024 A smashing success was the consensus of how the meet-and-greet sessions sponsored by High Country Press with NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) Hall of Famer and Mitchell County native Waddell Wilson that were held in Bakersville and Spruce Pine on Saturday, April 6, transpired. The Mitchell County Historical Society and Mitchell County Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce also assisted with sessions. By Tim Gardner

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: April Showers and National Brunch Month — A Great Combination


April 10, 2024 As I sat down at my desk, hearing the sounds of a soft April shower outside my window, I had a moment of writer’s block until I saw a reminder on my computer that April is National Brunch Month. What a perfect combination, I decided. We can usually make sense of anything if we try hard enough, right? Rarely at most homes these days do we take time to have an organized morning meal together, as everyone is in a hurry to race out the door for school, work or the next big thing. But, once in a while, a rainy day, especially on the weekends, tends to slow us down a bit and just might give us a chance to sit down together, or at least in the same space, to enjoy a late breakfast, brunch or whatever we choose to call it. By Sherrie Norris

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“Carrie: The Musical” Takes to the Valborg Stage April 24 – 28: Join us for a Night of Drama, Killer Vocals, and a Bloody Good Time

April 10, 2024 The Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance proudly presents “Carrie: The Musical,” based on the Stephen King novel and Brian De Palma directed film of the same name, with music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, and book by Lawrence D. Cohen. The cast is comprised of 20 Appalachian students spanning across all grade levels. In addition to the cast, there are several undergraduates working on the technical and design teams under the mentorship of Theatre and Dance faculty and staff members.

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High Country United Way Announces that Avery County Has Been Awarded $6,913 in Phase 41 State Set-Aside Funding

April 10, 2024 April 9th, 2024: High Country United Way is pleased to announce that Avery County was awarded $6,913 in Phase 41 State Set-Aside Funding. EFSP, a Federal program administered by US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food, and supportive services” for the nation’s hungry, homeless and people in economic crisis”. 

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Boone Next: Guide for Our Future Workshops Scheduled for Three-Day Event

April 9, 2024 The Town of Boone is actively engaging its community in shaping the future through the Boone Next initiative. This comprehensive plan update is a collaborative effort, inviting input from residents, business owners, and all other stakeholders across the Town. The Town of Boone will host a series of Guide For Our Future Workshops, between April 29 to May 1, 2024. On April 29 and 30, the Town will host a series of events to engage property owners and people living in one of Boone Next’s four focus areas. On the evening of April 30, everyone is invited to learn about our focus area work. Additionally, on the evening of May 1, we are hosting the second Boone Next community meeting. If you attended our first meeting in January, this is your opportunity to see how we translated your feedback into action. Please continue reading for more information about this three-day event (a schedule is attached). 

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NFIB SURVEY: Small Business Optimism Reaches Lowest Level Since 2012

April 9, 2024 RALEIGH – The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased by 0.9 of a point in March to 88.5, the lowest level since December 2012. This is the 27th consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98. The net percent of owners raising average selling prices rose seven points from February to a net 28% percent seasonally adjusted. “Small business optimism has reached the lowest level since 2012 as owners continue to manage numerous economic headwinds,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Inflation has once again been reported as the top business problem on Main Street and the labor market has only eased slightly.”

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Deep Gap Ruritan Hosting Spring Fundraiser April 26-27; Proceeds To Benefit Community Needs

April 9, 2024 It’s time once again for the annual Spring fundraiser hosted by Deep Gap Ruritan Club. Every year, for the last three decades, this group of civic-minded citizens has looked for ways to help meet needs of the community and its residents. But, as club president, Leslie Gentry emphasizes, the club members depend largely upon the support of the High Country community, in general, to help make it happen. This year’s upcoming event includes a two-day rummage sale and breakfast, scheduled for Friday, April 26, and Saturday April 27, at the Deep Gap Fire Department, upper level. Doors will be open from 7:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.  on Friday; and on Saturday 7 a.m. –1 p.m.. By Sherrie Norris

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