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Blowing Rock Resident Jensen Moretz Hosts Coat Drive for Eagle Scout Project During Appalachian Ski Mtn. Preseason Sale

October 22, 2021. In conjunction with the 24th annual Preseason Sale, Appalachian Ski Mtn. is hosting a special Coat Drive as an Eagle Scout project by Blowing Rock resident Jensen Moretz. The Preseason Sale and Coat Drive began on October 15, and there have already been more than 80 winter coats donated, said Jensen’s father, Brad Moretz. There are a couple of days left where donations will still be accepted as the Sale and Coat Drive both end on October 24. After October 24, the donated winter coats will be distributed to children in the Watauga County School system through the help of school administration.  By Harley Nefe

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Town of Boone’s Annual Halloween Celebration Boone BOO! to Take Place on October 31

October 22, 2021. Boone BOO!, the Town of Boone’s annual Halloween celebration, takes place on Sunday, October 31,  2021, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. “Boone BOO! has become one of Boone’s trademark events, and we’re delighted to carry on this  Halloween tradition,” says Town of Boone Cultural Resources Director, Mark Freed. This outdoor celebration always delivers fun for the whole family. Participating Downtown Boone businesses will be giving out candy to trick-or-treaters throughout the duration of the event. Larger than-life inflatables, tricycle races in the streets, stilt walkers, and of course copious amounts of candy  will all contribute to the festive atmosphere. A curated Halloween playlist will be streaming down King  Street, and guests can enjoy a choreographed Halloween dance at the intersection of Depot Street at  5:30 p.m. – an encore performance in the footsteps of the 2019 event’s extravagant flash mob. 

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New Bridge Put in Place Along Middle Fork Greenway; Second Bridge Coming Next Week

October 22, 2021. Construction crews installed the first of two bridges on the Middle Fork Greenway in between Boone and Blowing Rock this week with the next one beginning installation next week. The first bridge measured in at 88 feet and weighed approximately 43,000 pounds. The bridge that will be put in place next week is even larger at 113 feet long, according to Wendy Patoprsty, the Director of the Middle Fork Greenway. The bridge crosses the New River near Goldmine Branch Park. The work building the Middle Fork Greenway is done through a partnership between the Blue Ridge Conservancy, Watauga County, Town of Boone and Town of Blowing Rock, as well as numerous donations from local individuals. The third annual “Round Up For the Greenway” raised over $150,000 for the Middle Fork Greenway in July.  By Nathan Ham

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LETTERS / On Behalf of Hunter’s Heroes, Thank You for Helping Us Make a Difference

October 22, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From Hunter’s Heroes Board of Directors / Dear Readers, On behalf of Hunter’s Heroes, Thank you for helping us make a difference. Your support encourages continued commitment to reaching our goals of helping public safety officers, military, and community neighbors in need! Thank you again for your generosity and support! April 28, 2021 changed our community and reminded us once again of the sacrifices these men and women make every single day to protect this community. Hunter’s Heroes had already been planning for the First Annual Fall Back to Fallen Heroes Memorial Run and Celebration to take place on September 11, 2021. We were not prepared to honor two more fallen officers from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department.

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Elon Poll Finds Overwhelming Support for Booster Shots Among Vaccinated N.C. Residents

October 22, 2021. As the federal government moves toward making COVID-19 vaccine boosters available to a larger swath of the population, vaccinated North Carolina residents overwhelmingly say they are in favor of taking another shot, the Elon University Poll has found. A survey conducted Oct. 15-17 found that 92 percent of those who received the vaccine say they are glad they did, with 65 percent saying they have already received a booster or will take a booster shot once available. Another 25 percent said “maybe” when asked if they would get a booster once they can. “North Carolinians who have been vaccinated continue to report very high satisfaction with the experience,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon University Poll and associate professor of political science. “This is carrying over to vaccinated North Carolinians’ intention to get a booster shot. We’re finding far less hesitancy for boosters among those already vaccinated than we’ve measured over the last year in the general population That said, our findings suggest that younger North Carolinians are less eager about boosters compared to older residents.”

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UPDATE: Town of Blowing Rock Main Water Line Has Been Repaired – Water Restrictions Have Been Removed

October 21, 2021. The Town of Blowing Rock has experience a main water line breakage on Ranson Street that occurred late Thursday afternoon. Town maintenance is on site making repairs. Town officials are asking On the evening of Thursday, October 21, a water main in Blowing Rock broke along Ransom and Henkel Streets. Crews worked overnight and the break has been repaired. Repairs have been completed and water restrictions have been lifted.

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This Year’s White House Christmas Tree is Coming from Peak Farms in Ashe County


October 21, 2021. For the third time, Ashe County tree farmers Rusty and Beau Estes will be providing the Christmas Tree that will be displayed in The Blue Room of the White House this year. The 18.5-foot-tall Fraser fir tree was chosen by White House Grounds Superintendent Dale Haney on Wednesday morning at Peak Farms, owned by the Estes family. Rusty and his son Beau provided the Christmas tree for President George W. Bush in 2008 and President Barack Obama in 2012. Peak Farms also supplied the tree for Vice President Mike Pence in 2018. This is the 56th year that the National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas tree. Each year, growers enter a contest where growers, experts and consumers vote on who will provide the official tree. Rusty and Beau advanced through the competition by competing among other North Carolina Christmas tree growers. In August, they competed in the national contest with growers from all across the country and they were chosen as Grand Champion.    By Nathan Ham

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High Country Breast Cancer Foundation Celebrates 5 Years of Service, Prepares for Virtual 5K Event on October 30

October 21, 2021. The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation (HCBCF) was founded in April of 2017 with a unique mission and promise to the community — 100% of the funds they raise go to providing for the needs of breast cancer patients, survivors and their families in the North Carolina High Country. All the members of their organization are volunteers, and this year, they are celebrating their five year anniversary. “We couldn’t have done what we’ve done without the community support,” said Irene Sawyer, who is the founder of HCBCF. “Just from day one, everybody in the High Country has just embraced the Foundation. They’ve contributed; they’ve supported us; they’ve shown up for us, which is really awesome. We have raised so much money that we have helped so many people in so many different ways that it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.” By Harley Nefe

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Former Boone Golfer Proving Why She’s One of the Top High School Golfers in the Country


October 21, 2021. Macy Pate is no stranger to the High Country. The former Boone resident was once a participant in the national Drive, Chip and Putt competition at the age of 10. Founded in 2013 through the Master’s Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt competition is a nationwide junior golf development event aimed at growing the game by focusing on the three fundamental skills of golf. Now at Reagan High School in Pfafftown, which is roughly nine miles from Winston-Salem, Pate is still finding plenty of success on the course. Recently, the sophomore fired a 57 at the Central Piedmont 4A Conference Championship at Bermuda Run Country Club to lead Reagan High School to a 13th straight conference championship. Her 14-under score of 57 also broke a North Carolina High School Athletic Association record for women’s golf. The previous record was a 61, held by Gina Kim (2016, Chapel Hill High School) and Jennifer Chang (2017, Athens Drive High School).   By Nathan Ham

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Grandfather Mountain Fall Color Update Oct. 21

October 21, 2021. Grandfather Mountain spans the horizon with accompanying fall color, as seen from nearby Beacon Heights (milepost 305.2) on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Meanwhile, fall color works its way down Lost Cove Cliffs, as seen from the eponymous parkway overlook (milepost 310). Experts anticipate color to continue developing at lower elevations this week. “By (this) weekend, there should be excellent color along the Parkway in most places,” said Dr. Howie Neufeld, professor of biology at Appalachian State University and the WNC High Country’s official Fall Color Guy. “However, even if higher elevation sites are past peak, lower elevation sites will be coming into their best color over the next two weeks.” And lofty locations like Grandfather Mountain offer spectators a perfect point from which to see them! For more fall color photos, visit www.grandfather.com/fallcolor. Photos by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

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Appalachian State Upsets 14th Ranked Coastal Carolina on Last-Second Field Goal, 30-27

October 21, 2021. Chandler Staton kicked a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give Appalachian State a 30-27 upset victory over its Sun Belt Conference rival and 14th ranked Coastal Carolina Wednesday night. The game was played before 31,061 at Kidd Brewer Stadium and a ESPN 2 national television audience. It marked Appalachian State’s second win against a ranked team in program history. The first came in one of the most famous upsets in college football history when Appalachian State — then a second-tier Football Championship Subdivision team — beat Michigan 34-32 in 2007 after blocking a game-winning field goal attempt.  By Tim Gardner

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Watauga Arts Council Partners with Watauga County Farmers’ Market to Host Annual Community Pumpkin Carving Contest


October 20, 2021. The Watauga Arts Council is partnering with the Watauga County Farmers’ Market to host their annual Community Pumpkin Carving Contest! They invite creators of all ages and abilities to try their hand at carving or decorating a locally grown pumpkin. The Watauga County Farmers’ Market is providing pumpkins from local farms to all contest participants. So, come to the Watauga County Farmers’ Market, located at 591 Horn in the West Dr. in Boone, to pick up your free pumpkin and register for the pumpkin carving contest. You do not have to use a Farmers’ Market pumpkin to enter, but it is encouraged! Representatives from Watauga Arts Council will be at the Farmers’ Market handing out pumpkins on October 23, from 9 a.m. until noon. Board member, Leila Jackson, will demonstrate her pumpkin carving skills and offer tips to registrants. Paints and paint pens will be available for any kids (or adults) who want to decorate and submit their pumpkin at the Farmers’ Market that day.

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Mother and Son Killed in Head-On Collision in Ashe County on Monday Evening

October 20, 2021. On Monday, October 18, at approximately 7:15 p.m., the NC State Highway Patrol responded to and investigated a fatal collision in Ashe County on US 221 near Shatley Road in Jefferson.  A 2005 Honda CRV was traveling south on US 221, drove left of center, and collided head-on with a northbound 1988 Ford Mustang.  The initial investigation indicates the driver of the Ford swerved to the left in an attempt to avoid the Honda. The driver of the Honda, William Calhoun, 65, of Laurel Springs, was seriously injured and transported to the hospital by medical helicopter. The driver of the Ford, Hunter Luther, 23, of Jefferson, was not injured.  The front seat passenger, Harley Marie Taylor, 22, of Jefferson, succumbed to her injuries at the scene.  The rear seat passenger, Bentley Taylor, 3, was transported to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem with critical injuries but died early Tuesday morning.  Bentley was the child of Harley Taylor, and he was properly restrained in a car seat. Neither Luther nor Taylor were restrained by a seatbelt.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Halloween Already? It’s Knocking on the Door


October 20, 2021. It was just summer, then fall. And now, we’re just a few days from Halloween. And it’s all coming so fast we hardly have time to transition. But, of course, in the big box stores, Christmas promotions began several weeks ago. Let’s slow down, please. We’re under enough stress without having to bow down to these unnecessary pressures. One day at a time. One holiday at a time. Take a deep breath and enjoy each one as it comes. Let’s not give in to the media hype that there won’t be enough candy to hand out for the trick-or-treaters. Or worse yet, that turkeys will be in short supply come Thanksgiving. Or that Christmas gifts are on dozens of stranded crates off the west coast, and store shelves will be sparse as the season approaches. Guess what? We can celebrate anyway — and maybe even better than ever before. We might just get back to the basics and remember what it’s all about, at least for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Imagine that! But, for now, let’s scare up a few goodies for Halloween, a day in itself that can be fun for the kids without turning it into something evil and sinister. We all know that history associates it with the dark side, and some of the rhetoric may be true, but let’s try a little harder to find the good in every situation and learn to relax and enjoy the moment.  By Sherrie Norris

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Neighborhood Yoga Celebrates its “Sweet Sixteen” with a Free Weekend of Classes October 22 and a Membership Drive

October 20, 2021. Neighborhood Yoga, a local woman-owned business, is celebrating its “Sweet 16” anniversary the weekend of October 22. In that time, they have offered over 20,000 yoga classes to the community and trained over 200 teachers. Their mantra is “Come Exactly As You Are, Awaken To Your Essence.” husband, Ed, designed and built the 600 square foot studio themselves. For 10 years, Neighborhood Yoga held classes in this space, slowly growing their base of yoga practitioners.

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Watauga County Arts Council Art Instrumental Auction Underway; Ends on October 29th


October 20, 2021. The Watauga County Arts Council (WAC) invites one and all to participate in their first Public Arts Silent Auction fundraiser, happening now. The silent auction features retired instruments that have been refurbished into new works of art by local artists. “Art Instrumental Scavenger Hunt” is a collaborative project organized by Amber Bateman, the Director of WAC, Mark Freed director of the Jones House Cultural and Community Center, and Lane Moody coordinator for the Downtown Boone Development Association (DBDA). The group came up with this idea to activate community engagement with local artists while also providing a fun summer activity for residents and visitors. In addition, this project offered the Jones House a chance to honorably offload retired instruments while still celebrating Boone’s rich history with music.

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Grandfather Mountain Fall Color Update Oct. 19

October 19, 2021. Grandfather Mountain’s color-dappled peaks rise beyond MacRae Meadows, site of the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Although fall color is peaking at the area’s higher elevations, many trees in lower elevations have yet to turn, making Grandfather Mountain the ideal location from which to watch the season unfold. For more fall color photos, visit www.grandfather.com/fallcolor. Photos by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

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Appalachian State Hosting Coastal Carolina in Wednesday Night Showdown at The Rock

October 19, 2021. Appalachian State still has a shot at winning the Sun Belt Conference Championship even after last week’s dismantling at the hands of Louisiana. The Mountaineers (4-2, 1-1 SBC) will host #14 Coastal Carolina (6-0, 2-0 SBC) in a game that could determine who wins the Sun Belt East Division. App State will look to bounce from last Tuesday’s 41-13 loss to the Ragin’ Cajuns. The Mountaineer offense struggled throughout the night. Quarterback Chase Brice completed just 15 passes in 26 attempts for 133 yards and two interceptions. App State averaged just 2.7 yards per carry and finished with only 78 rushing yards as a team. Nate Noel had 44 yards on 17 carries. Camerun Peoples did not play as he continues to recover from an injury. Coastal Carolina, currently ranked 14th in the country, has won all but one of its games this season by at least four touchdowns. The only close game they played was a non-conference game at Buffalo where the Chanticleers escaped with a 28-25 win. Coastal Carolina has scored at least 50 points in four of the team’s six games.  By Nathan Ham

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Blowing Rock Civic Association Creates Video Interviewing Candidates for the Blowing Rock Town Council

October 19, 2021. The Blowing Rock Civic Association put together a video with three of the four Blowing Rock Town Council candidates seeking to be elected on November 2. Pete Gherini, Doug Matheson and Melissa Pickett took part in the interview. Candidate Nancy Collins did not participate due to a prior commitment. “We felt unsure about whether to have our traditional in-person forum because of the uncertainty around COVID,” said Tim Gupton, President of the Blowing Rock Civic Association. “It struck us that this would be a really effective way to do a better, in-depth job of asking specific questions and getting the candidates on the record. We think that helped because the questions were important to us as a homeowner group. I think we got some good responses.” Gupton said that the questions were sent to the candidates in advance so that they could better prepare their thoughts. He added that the video interview format may be what they move to going forward with future candidate forums.  By Nathan Ham

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Watauga County Schools Nets High Marks in State Bus Safety Inspections

October 19, 2021. Watauga County Schools has received a high rating on the annual North Carolina bus safety inspections conducted by the Department of Public Instruction. Each year, officials from the state visit every school district in North Carolina to assess the condition and upkeep of their buses. The inspections are scored on a demerit system in which a lower score indicates a better performance. Last year, the state average inspection score was 32 — Watauga County Schools scored 21.75 on this year’s test. The annual inspection tests school districts on several criteria regarding the upkeep and maintenance of its bus fleet. Transportation Departments are judged on the overall condition of the fleet, their quality of their monthly in-house inspections, their paper and electronic records, parts inventory, and office procedures. Watauga County Schools Maintenance Director Jeff Lyons said the positive inspection report was the direct result of the dedication and skill of his team of mechanics.

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Sweet Treats: Cupcrazed Cakery Opens Second Location in Boone, Offers Variety of Desserts

October 19, 2021. Another sweet spot has landed in Boone that offers sugary goodies of all types to those around. Cupcrazed Cakery, which is owned by Wendy Shanahan, is an unique bakery that has been featured on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars and Rewrapped and has won both TV show competitions. With the original bakery located in Ft. Mill, South Carolina, now the award-winning baked goods are available through a second location located on Blowing Rock Road under The Standard at Boone.“We were looking to expand,” Shanahan said. “I’ve had a house in the area for five years, and I have always loved Boone. It’s a place a lot of people come to. We thought this would be a perfect spot to be able to make a place that could be part of the community where people can come to celebrate, come when they’re sad, treat themselves, treat their kids, have a place for parties and classes, have a place where you can meet up with friends or sit and study or have a business meeting — to be able to have a space that you can have events.” By Harley Nefe

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Skyline/Skybest Donation Jumpstarts WCS Middle School Golf Team

October 19, 2021. A donation from Skyline/Skybest has been used to jumpstart the inaugural season of play for Watauga County Schools’ new middle school golf team. Made up of 32 golfers from seven different schools, the team is set to finish its season next week after completing six matches. Skyline/Skybest donated $3,707 that was used to purchase each golfer on the team a shirt and hat as well as golf balls, tees and other equipment. The WCS team has hosted two matches this year at Sugar Mountain and Lenoir Golf, the team was able to provide meals at those matches thanks to the funding. The WCS team has hosted two matches this year at Sugar Mountain and Lenoir Golf, the team was able to provide meals at those matches thanks to the funding. Edward Hinson, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for Skyline/Skybest, said supporting local schools was an important part of the co-op’s work in their community. “An essential component of our cooperative is to help support and meet the needs throughout the communities we serve,” Hinson said. “On behalf of SkyLine, our board of directors, our executive team and our entire membership it is our honor to support your athletic endeavors. We applaud the efforts of Watauga County Schools including the student engagement and education on and off of the field.”

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‘The Grandfather Challenge’ Hiking Program For At-Risk Youth Opens 2021 Season

October 19, 2021. The healing power and majesty of Grandfather Mountain cannot be denied by those among us who have experienced its beauty, wonder, and adventure. Although he was struggling with mental illness throughout his mid-teens and young adult life, Jason Matthew Nipper found peace and serenity as he and his parents hiked the challenging trails of this wonderful mountain called Grandfather. Jason passed away in 2014, and his parents James & Cheryl Nipper are pleased to announce the opening of the 2021 Season of their unique and challenging hiking program for at-risk youth taking place at Grandfather Mountain. This program was formed in honor of Jason, and focuses on teenage students who suffer from mental disorders and/or drug addictions, and also serves kids struggling with other personal problems for reasons beyond their control, including instances of parental abuse or neglect, placement in foster homes, and similar obstacles and challenges in their lives. After being unable to host this program for nearly two years because of covid related restrictions, Jason’s parents are thrilled to be able to resume their program this Fall.

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