September 21, 2021. Representatives from Gundlach Bundschu were in Downtown Boone visiting Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar to present a private taste-testing luncheon for wine connoisseurs in the High Country, who attended the event that was sponsored by Associated Brands based in Newton, NC on Sept. 16. “This is an appreciation for buyers and people who support Gundlach Bundschu,” said Paula Horton, a manager for Associated Brands. “We are represented by many restaurants, wine shops, country clubs and more that support the brand and make it available for people in Western North Carolina and enjoy Gundlach Bundschu.” By Harley Nefe
September 17, 2021. MerleFest, presented by Window World, officially came to a close on Sunday, but not without a number of unforgettable collaborations, spontaneous sit-ins, and world-class performances at the much anticipated return of North Carolina’s beloved festival. Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sturgill Simpson, and Mavis Staples all brought extra MerleFest energy to the Watson Stage over the course of the weekend. MerleFest, held on the campus of Wilkes Community College, is the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, which funds scholarships, capital projects, and other educational needs. “Once again I want to thank all of our MerleFest family—artists, volunteers, staff, and fans—for their patience and support as we worked together to put on a safe and enjoyable festival that spotlighted the very best in roots-plus music,” says Festival Director Ted Hagaman. “We’ve had a wonderful weekend and we look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces again in seven short months when MerleFest returns to its usual April weekend in 2022.”
September 20, 2021. The Cottages of Boone, located at 615 Fallview Lane in Boone, North Carolina, experienced a discharge of untreated domestic wastewater. The housing development operates an on-site wastewater treatment system that is permitted through the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Water Resources and serves 894 bedrooms and ancillary facilities. The Cottage of Boone WWTP facility’s equalization tank overflowed as the result of an emergent mechanical error that occurred at the treatment facility. The discharge is believed to have started late Monday, September 13, and ended at approximately 8:00 p.m. It is estimated that approximately 4,725 gallons of untreated wastewater were discharged to Laurel Fork stream within the Watauga River Basin during the event. A local sludge hauling company arrived on-site and pumped 12,000 gallons of raw wastewater from the equalization tank, stopping the overflow.
September 20, 2021. Appalachian State’s Hall of Fame head coach Jerry Moore will forever have a permanent piece of history honoring him outside of Kidd Brewer Stadium. On Saturday before Appalachian State’s victory over Elon, a special plaza and statue were dedicated to honor Coach Moore’s 24 years as head coach of the Mountaineers. Moore, 82, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014 after compiling a career record of 242-135-2 with a record of 215-87 at Appalachian State. Moore helped guide the Mountaineers to 10 Southern Conference Championships (1991, 1995, 1999, 2005-2010, 2012) and three FCS National Championships (2005-2007). By Nathan Ham
September 19, 2021. Appalachian State’s home football opener at sold-out Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone Saturday afternoon featured a 44-10 victory against long-time, fellow-North Carolina rival Elon before 30,224 fans, while special homage was paid beforehand to a colossal contributor to the Mountaineer program’s rich and storied history. The latter occurred during pregame festivities as Appalachian State University officials unveiled the Jerry Moore Plaza, honoring the Hall of Fame head coach who led the Mountaineers for 24 seasons and to three Division I-AA/FCS (Football Bowl Subdivision) championships. By Tim Gardner
September 17, 2021. The Town of Boone issued a modification to its mask ordinance on September 17 that allows for people inside local gyms, fitness centers and the recreation complex to not have to wear a mask while working out. The amendment to the town’s ordinance states that individuals do not have to wear a mask if they are maintaining 10 feet of social distance from all participants at all times or can provide proof of vaccination and maintain six feet of social distance from all other participants. Face coverings will still be required in areas such as lobbies, hallways and any areas where people are not actively engaged in athletic or physical activities. Active COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the High Country. As of Friday morning, there were 129 active cases in Watauga County with 120 people in quarantine. Ashe County reported 85 active cases with 133 people in quarantine and Alleghany County reported 75 active cases with 77 people in quarantine. By Nathan Ham
September 17, 2021. Appalachian State will look to bounce back from a close loss at Miami last weekend with the team’s first home game of the 2021 season this Saturday against the Elon Phoenix. The Mountaineers (1-1) are coming off of a 25-23 loss at Miami last week. Elon (1-1) has played two nailbiters, first a 24-22 loss at home to Wofford and then a 24-23 win at Campbell last week. Against Miami, Mountaineer QB Chase Brice completed 21-of-34 passes for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Camerun Peoples carried the ball 17 times for 95 yards and a score while Nate Noel added 51 yards on 16 carries. Through the air, Corey Sutton was App State’s leading receiver with seven receptions for 60 yards. Malik Williams, who was held to just one catch in the season opener against East Carolina, reeled in five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, and Thomas Hennigan had three catches for 28 yards. Jalen Virgil was held to just one catch, but had one of the biggest plays of the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. By Nathan Ham
September 17, 2021. A group of veterans on motorcycles representing Coast X Coast stopped in Boone last Tuesday on their cross-country journey to honor fallen members of Special Operations Forces, while attempting to have a positive impact on the lives of those wounded and their families. It wasn’t just a random stop for veteran Jonathan Wilson, the organization’s Director of Operations, but rather a quick visit to his hometown and a chance to see his parents, Johnny and Wanda Wilson. The group came through Boone on September 7 enroute to the Fort Bragg area; they reached their final destination at Arlington National Cemetery three days later. By Sherrie Norris
September 17, 2021. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are few examples where this old saying from Benjamin Franklin rings truer than with invasive plants. An invasive plant as defined by the Natural Resource Conservation Service is: “A plant that is both non-native and able to establish on many sites, grow quickly, and spread to the point of disrupting plant communities or ecosystems.” Most invasive plants here in western NC come from similar environments and ecosystems in Europe and Asia. Many invasive plants are brought here intentionally through nurseries and the landscaping industry. When a plant is moved to a new ecosystem and no longer has any natural checks or balances, its population can expand rapidly at the cost of its new ecosystem.
September 17, 2021. The Blowing Rock Civic Association honored a group of family and friends for their joint efforts to preserve wild and scenic areas in and around Blowing Rock in a ceremony held in the gazebo in Broyhill Park in Blowing Rock Thursday, September 16th. The 2021 Paul H. Broyhill award was announced at the park that bears the Broyhill family name by BRCA Chairman George Wilcox in front of a gathering of participants in the project, family and friends.
September 16, 2021. When Victory Baptist Church in Newland began its week-long mountain-top tent revival on Monday, August 23, no one could’ve known that four weeks later, the meeting would still be going on. For weeks prior to its beginning, the host church and all who supported it were eagerly anticipating great things to happen during the revival, but what has happened has left many in awe of the life-changing experiences they have personally encountered and witnessed in others. In an interview with church pastor, Ethan Greene, before the revival began, we were told, “Only God knows what next week will be like, but if the interest of people I have spoken with is any indication, then it will be beyond amazing.” And, amazing it has been, he said. At that time, Greene said, It was the hope and prayer of his church, that many lives would be impacted for Christ during the revival. “Churches from all around the area have expressed interest in the meeting, and many have made definite plans to attend,” he said. “This is a free event and open to everyone.” By Sherrie Norris
September 16, 2021. The call of the wild has been loud and clear during the pandemic with many people looking for a way to escape, get outdoors and connect more with their loved ones and nature. That trend is evident with Grandfather Mountain experiencing record attendance the last two years. With more people visiting, the park has also observed a substantial increase in hikers. In 2019, the Linville, N.C., nature preserve recorded 11,889 hikers between January and August. In 2021, 15,110 hikers hit the trails during that same period, a 27-percent increase. “Having more people on the trails means that people are getting back to nature and specifically seeing the wonders of Grandfather Mountain in a unique way,” said H Patton III, natural resource management specialist for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the park. “Hiking our trails offers one of the most difficult and exciting experiences that our guests can have. The rugged connection to the mountain is one that they will never forget.”
September 16, 2021. 15 years ago, members of the Middle Fork Greenway task force obtained grants to secure land for three parks along the Middle Fork of the New River: Payne Branch Park, Goldmine Branch Park, and Sterling Creek Park. After removal of the South Fork dam and extensive stream bank restoration, Payne Branch Park is now open to the public. Sterling Creek Park opened in 2014, and Goldmine Branch Park is currently under construction, slated to be finished by the end of the year. Funding for Payne Branch Park was provided by AppHealthCare, ZAP Endurance, Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, and Blue Ridge Conservancy. The South Fork dam, used to produce power for Boone from 1924-1972, was removed in 2020 in a partnership between Resource Institute, Appalachian State University, New River Light & Power (NRLP). Now that the water is flowing freely, fish and other aquatic organisms can migrate up and down the river corridor, and native trees, shrubs and flowers provide wildlife and riverbank protection. The Middle Fork Greenway task force, a committee of volunteers, is keeping the park clean, pruned, and ready for visitors.
September 16, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From TIM GUPTON / Dear Editor, The North Carolina League of Municipalities shared this alert. A harmful provision damaging the ability of cities and towns to regulate short-term rentals, such as Airbnb, was included in the North Carolina House of Representatives’ proposed state budget, and the provision is now being negotiated as part of a final budget deal. If you are concerned about this latest backdoor attempt to undermine local regulation of short-term rentals, we urge you to take action now by asking your state legislators to keep this provision out of the final budget agreement.
September 16, 2021. On September 18 at Hickory Ridge Living History Museum in Boone, Robert Alvin Crum will do two presentations about his direct ancestor Daniel Boone. The topic of discussion is “Daniel Boone – A Long Hunter. Robert is a writer, public speaker and visual artist who tells the stories of his Boone and Bryan ancestors living in North Carolina in the eighteenth century. Daniel Boone was born in Pennsylvania in 1734 and arrived in North Carolina with his parents in 1751. He learned to hunt as a young boy and was such a great shot that he became a commercial hunter in North Carolina. By 1767, he moved farther up the Yadkin River to live with family and friends in what is now Wilkes County and began his long hunts into areas we now know as Kentucky and Tennessee. Boone was hunting in North Carolina for the last time in 1779 and took his hides to market in Charleston, South Carolina where he could get a higher price. The proceeds from this hunt helped him to lead his last large migration out of North Carolina in 1779.
September 16, 2021. The latest COVID-19 numbers for the past seven days in the Toe River Health District clearly display the continued danger that the pandemic is causing in that region which governs the North Carolina High Country counties of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey. Statistics released today (September 14) and ending September 13, 2021 by the Toe River Health District show Yancey County had 139 new positive cases detected; Mitchell County reported 97 and Avery County had 87. The number of COVID deaths in the Toe River Health District counties since mid-July is 24–an average of 12 per month. Of those deaths, 11 are from Avery County, 8 from Yancey and 5 in Mitchell. By Tim Gardner
September 16, 2021. By all accounts, the local apple crops are abundant this year. And that’s a good thing. Area orchards, farmer’s markets and roadside stands are starting to see plenty of these seasonal treats showing up — and in several varieties for eating, cooking and preserving for a cold winter’s day. There’s so much you can do with an apple and we’re happy to help with a few ideas. By Sherrie Norris
September 16, 2021. Andy Sicard is the new superintendent of Grandfather Mountain State Park in Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties, according to the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Sicard succeeds Kevin Bischof, who transferred to serve as superintendent at Gorges State Park in June. A superintendent is the chief of operations and administration at a state park or state recreation area with wide-ranging responsibilities for staffing, training, law enforcement, visitor services, natural resource protection, environmental education and community outreach. A native of Farmville, Sicard graduated from Wayne Community College where he studied parks and recreation. Before settling at Grandfather Mountain State Park in 2010, he served the Division of Parks and Recreation as a ranger at Cliffs of the Neuse and Elk Knob state parks.
September 16, 2021. Appalachian State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance is announcing its 2021-2022 slate of eight productions showcasing the talents of Appalachian students, staff, and faculty, returning to the stage with in-person performances for the first time in 18 months. students who were encouraged to submit scripts to the committee. More than 80 titles were submitted for consideration.
September 16, 2021. On behalf of the High Country Charitable Foundation, Barry Blake (left) and Jim Ferguson (right) accepted a plaque of appreciation from Special Olympics Avery County. Barbara Holdcroft, Program Coordinator for the athletic programs, presented the award on September 8. During the pandemic, 2020 grant funds permitted Special Olympics Avery County to modify programs encouraging virtual exercise and wellness activities. Funds from prior grants sent athletes to both local and state competitions at no personal expense to the participants.
September 15, 2021. Get ready to tee off on Monday, September 27, 2021, 1:30 p.m. at Hound Ears Club for the annual Frank and Kay Golf Classic to benefit Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina. This signature event honors the legacy of philanthropy and leadership that former Appalachian State University Chancellor Frank Borkowski and his multi-talented wife Kay have bestowed upon the High Country since their arrival in 1993. “Frank and Kay have been an integral part of the mission and vision of Hospitality House,” said Hospitality House Chief Development Director Todd Carter. “The organization was only nine years old when they arrived in Boone, and they’ve continued to be active supporters now into the thirty-seventh year of the agency.” Men’s, women’s and mixed foursomes are invited to the four-person scramble format event that features a hole-in-one contest, prizes, gift bags, catered Tee House Grill Cookout lunch, on-course beer, soda and snacks and putting green awards ceremony.
September 15, 2021. In the cinematic tradition of the historic movie house, the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) premieres a new collection of programming following the heightened success of their inaugural BOONE DOCS documentary film series. “Cinema Classics Series” offers live and in-person beloved, family-friendly flicks throughout the fall of 2021. Their debut screening on September 19? Well, dead men tell no tales, but you may want to brush up on your seadog lingo as the first screening is held in conjunction with “International Talk Like a Pirate Day!” By Laura Voytko
September 14, 2021. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland.
September 14, 2021. Watercolor artist Zan Thompson will be spending this week at the Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock through September 19 as part of their Artists in Residency program. This is the final week of the program for 2021. Watercolor artist, teacher and observer of place, Zan grew up playing and experimenting with art in his parents’ Atlanta studios. Of all the mediums, he was most attracted to watercolor but found it more difficult than other medium. It was this love for watercolor that would bring him back again and again until he found the joy and excitement he had always expected. Today, Zan paints strictly in watercolor, is a signature member of Watercolor Society of North Carolina and teaches classes in watercolor. Zan’s themes include landscapes, seascapes/fishing, botanical, still lives, and abstract art. Come meet Zan from September 13th through September 19th at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock. Zan’s residency concludes this summer’s Artist-in-Residence program.
September 13, 2021. U.S. News & World Report ranked Lees-McRae College 28th among regional colleges in the South in its 2022 Best Colleges guide. The institution is in the number 8 spot on a list recognizing the best regional colleges in the South for undergraduate teaching and for the second year in a row appears on the list for top performers on social mobility. “While rankings do not tell the whole story of a college, they can point to some key strengths, which in our case includes teaching excellence,” said Provost Alyson Gill. “Our faculty are deeply committed to bringing their disciplines to life in the classroom and connecting with our students. In a place that is In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, and For the Mountains, our faculty build experiences that extend beyond the classroom walls with a shared recognition that an essential part of student learning happens outside the classroom.”