High Country Press

Published Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  • Today’s 2020 Candidate Announcements

    December 12, 2019. Note: Each day, the High Country Press will share emails and announcements from candidates that are entering their names into the 2020 primary and general election. Today we received the following announcements from Governor Roy Cooper seeking re-election, Jenna Wadsworth running for NC Commissioner of Agriculture, Ray Pickett running for NC House and Deanna Ballard seeking re-election for NC Senate. After Governor Roy Cooper filed his notice of candidacy and made official his 2020 re-election campaign, he issued the following statement: “As Governor, my team and I have fought tooth and nail for better pay for teachers and other educators instead of sweeping corporate tax cuts. We’ve engineered overwhelming success in recruiting jobs and growing businesses. I’ve vetoed bad Republican budgets that valued corporate tax cuts over investments in education, clean water and better health care and I’ve vetoed extreme right-wing social legislation that’s wrong for our people and our economy. We’ve worked hard and gotten results, but there’s more to do. I’m asking the people for a second term to complete our mission of a better educated, healthier and more prosperous North Carolina.” / Read more…



  • Division of Parks and Recreation Seeks Public Input on Elk Knob Master Plan Dec. 17


    December 12, 2019. The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation is seeking public input on the Elk Knob State Park Master Plan currently being developed. When finalized, the master plan will be a 20-year plan that covers the entire state park. Elk Knob State Park began as a state natural area in 2003 and became a state park in 2008; the park encompasses over 4,200 acres spanning Watauga and Ashe counties and is sited within the Amphibolite Mountains, an ecological hotspot of global significance. A drop-in style open house meeting will be held Dec. 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Optimist Park Clubhouse, located at 1012 State Farm Road in Boone. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and can expect to spend 20-30 minutes to review, discuss, and comment on amenities and recreational priorities for the park and provide other feedback. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • Open Enrollment Deadline Approaching Quickly; Healthcare Signups Continue Through December 15

    December 12, 2019. You still have time to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Healthcare Marketplace if you’re still trying to figure out how to best manage your healthcare coverage. The final day of eligibility is Sunday, December 15. If you are unsure of how to go about this process, there are certified counselors across the High Country that can walk you step-by-step through the process. “We don’t pressure people to sign up for anything. We’re not brokers, so we’re not making a commission or anything. We are certified application counselors here to help people,” said Alex Noriega with High Country Community Health, in a previous interview with the High Country Press. “It’s through the marketplace where people can sign up for their health insurance and apply for a tax credit based on household income and household size. Once we finish the application, it is a real-time process so they are able to immediately see the plans offered to them through the marketplace. I highly recommend people come in and look at all the options being offered, you never know if you might be able to save some money.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Shawn Clark to be Named Appalachian State’s Head Football Coach Friday


    December 12, 2019. Shawn Clark will be named Appalachian State University’s 22nd head football coach on Friday, according to school sources. The university’s board of trustees will hold a conference call on Friday to approve the hiring. Clark has been at Appalachian State the last four seasons as the offensive line coach. He was named interim head coach for the school’s New Orleans Bowl game on Dec. 21, but will now have the interim tag removed. Clark received support from current and former players to fill the head coaching job since Eliah (Eli) Drinkwitz resigned last weekend to become head coach at the University of Missouri. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Watauga Community Band Presents Christmas Concert December 15th at Watauga High School


    December 12, 2019. December 15th, the Watauga Community Band Christmas Concert will begin at 5 until about 6 P.M. at the Watauga High School auditorium. The band’s director, Bill Winkler, will conduct the band in a variety of Christmas music, both religious and secular.  Selections include A Canadian Brass Christmas, arranged by Luther Henderson, Celtic Carol, arranged by Robert W. Smith, and The Bells of Christmas, by Robert Longfield.  Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride will also be featured. “We have the challenge every year as we try to do the Christmas concert from Mother Nature and Appalachian football games, but it looks like this year, as long as the school schedule doesn’t get crunched, we’ll be able to play over at the high school, so we’re looking forward to that,” said Steve Frank, another of the of the band’s directors commented. “It’s a great venue, the school has a great auditorium and we’ve done several things in conjunction with the high school over the last few years.” By Colby Gable / Read more…



  • Todd Rice and Bill Aceto of Blue Ridge Realty & Investments Announce the Grand Opening of Their Lenoir Office

    December 12, 2019. Todd Rice and Bill Aceto, co-owners of Blue Ridge Realty & Investments announce the Grand Opening of their Lenoir Office located at 215 Chruch Street NW in beautiful downtown Lenoir. The professional team includes Lenoir REALTOR® and Broker-In-Charge, Don Williams; REALTORS® Breanna McKay, Mary Baker, and Beverly Clark; in addition to the Broker Operations Manager, REALTOR® Michelle Hammond. Blue Ridge Realty & Investments is one of the longest established independent real estate companies in Western North Carolina.  The company was founded in 1981 and has consistently been a leader in real estate sales for residential, land, commercial, rentals, property management, and development.  / Read more…



  • Valle Crucis Stream Restoration Project to Begin this December


    December 12, 2019. You might notice some activity at the historic farm adjacent to the Original Mast General Store if you’re driving through Valle Crucis on Highway 194 South this winter. Blue Ridge Conservancy is implementing stream restoration techniques to mitigate soil erosion and streambank degradation along Dutch Creek. The goal is to make the property more conducive for agriculture and make it safer and easier for public access. Reducing the amount of erosion and sedimentation will also protect the water quality of Dutch Creek, which feeds directly into the Watauga River. Dutch Creek is a popular Hatchery Supported trout fishing stream and is designated Trout Waters by the NC Division of Water Resources. The creek flows from Hanging Rock Ridge through the Upper Valle, under Highway 194 South, and through the property owned by BRC. The 21-acre farm, previously owned by John and Faye Cooper, was donated to BRC in 2015. / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, December 2 – December 8

    December 11, 2019. Looking to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Want to keep an eye on criminal activity in your area? Take a look at these recent incident and arrest reports from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department. Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • Beech Mountain Town Manager Fired After 4-1 Vote from New Town Council

    December 11, 2019. Beech Mountain Town Manager Tim Holloman was fired from his position during Tuesday’s town council meeting. “We had a change in our town council and the new council decided to go a different way. They voted 4-1 to dismiss Tim Holloman,” said Kate Gavenus, who is the Director of Tourism and Economic Development for Beech Mountain. Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department Chief Robert “Bob” Pudney was appointed interim manager by a 5-0 unanimous vote. According to Gavenus, the meeting was recessed until Monday, December 23 at 4 p.m. to continue the rest of the agenda with Pudney serving as the interim town manager. Pudney has been the chief of the Beech Mountain Fire Department for 10 years.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • SugarFest Returns to Sugar Mountain for the 17th Consecutive Year this Weekend


    December 11, 2019. Ski Conditions are improving almost hourly as temperatures remain cold enough to continue making snow in preparation for SugarFest at Sugar Mountain this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday. “It’s an official kickoff to winter where we bring a lot of fun things together and encourage people to come up and get things started for the ski season,” says Kim Jochl, the Vice-President and Director of Marketing at Sugar Mountain Resort. SugarFest, which has been held each year since 2003, will kick off on Friday with the annual preseason ski clinic that will feature United States Olympian Andrew Weibrecht for the second straight year. The clinic begins at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until 7 p.m. The ski clinic also takes place from 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday and again from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • “A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas” Holiday Show Brings New Holiday Tradition to the High Country Dec. 13-14


    December 11, 2019. Local Precision dance troupe The Carolina Snowbelles are headed to the newly renovated Appalachian Theatre to debut their renowned holiday show on December 13 at 7:30 p.m. and December 14 at 3:00 p.m. The Carolina Snowbelles aim to create a new holiday tradition in downtown Boone with their production of A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas this weekend; the 22-member dance troupe has been rehearsing this 90 minute show since August – their most ambitious and comprehensive performance to date. A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas will feature precision tap and jazz, vocal performance, and ballet, as well as spoken word and audience interaction. Throughout the performance, audience members will experience the Snowbelles’ impressive precision dance and spectacular costuming along with two brand new scenes featuring choreography by New York City Ballet alumnus, Amanda Edge and Colorado Ballet alumnus, Brad Parquette. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • 23rd Annual “An Appalachian Christmas” Benefit Concert Presented by JSMHM Dec. 13


    December 11, 2019. Presenting “An Appalachian Christmas” in early December has become a holiday tradition for Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music. This marks the 23rd year that this free concert offers the opportunity for local musicians to give back to the High Country community – celebrating “giving” – the real “reason for the season”. As the late MHM’s beloved founder, Joe Shannon once said, “As MHM prepares to close the door on its current year – in the process, it opens the door for others.” No admission is charged for this benefit concert, but a love offering will be collected, and 100 percent of the proceeds are given to two worthwhile community non-profit organizations known for helping those less fortunate. The benefactors once again are the Hospitality House, which is Watauga County’s homeless shelter and Santa’s Toy Box, which helps to assure that all children in Watauga County get a visit from Santa. The concert takes place this Friday night, December 13h, at Grace Lutheran Church in Boone beginning at 7:00pm. / Read more…



  • High Country Home Sales in 2019 Already Top 2018 Sales


    December 11, 2019. With one month remaining in 2019 local Realtors® have already sold more homes than in all of 2018, according to the latest real estate report by the High Country Association of Realtors®. It is the ninth consecutive year of sales growth in the four-county area. It is also the most homes sold in a year by Realtors® in more than a decade. The growth has been powered by a prolonged busy summer selling season. Realtors® have sold more than 200 residential and multi-family homes every month since May, according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The last three months – September, October and November – recorded the highest sales during those months since at least 2005, the earliest MLS data available. / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Christmas Confections to Sweeten the Season


    December 11, 2019. My kitchen pantry is filling up quickly with sugars, nuts and all those other ingredients needed for my annual Christmas cookie and candy-making marathon. I’m not sure when it will happen, but it must be soon— and in addition to an uninterrupted stretch of time and a burst of energy, I’m also waiting for a convenient clear, cold day without rain. The weather affects it, believe it or not, especially when working with chocolate. The following recipes include some of my favorite seasonal delights, or a version of same. I hope you find something here to help with your own Christmas candy-making and baking inspirations. When you see the smiles it all brings to your loved ones, you will realize it was well worth the effort. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Watauga, Avery Obituaries – December 10, 2019

    December 10, 2019. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • Today’s Email Announcements

    What’s going on in your community? Here’s a brief update on the emails we received today. Check back each day for an updated list of events going on in the area. As always, please feel free to email us about your event or update.

    Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • Melissa Reaves’ 18th Annual Holiday Show at The Beacon Dec. 14 with Lineup of Expert Musicians


    December 10, 2019. Melissa Reaves is returning to host her 18th annual Holiday Show at The Beacon this Saturday, December 14 with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the show starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18. CDs of Reaves’ newest album, Bitter Pear, will be available for purchase at the show. For the past 18 years, Reaves has hosted her annual Holiday Show at locations across Boone; for the past 12 years, the show has been hosted downtown at The Local. This year, the venue is changing to The Beacon, where Reaves will be joined by several of her closest associates on stage to bring the house down this holiday season. Guitarist Masa Takahashi, kalimba master Kevin Spears, bassist Philip Bynoe, keyboardist Timothy Dick, and drummer Timothy Roberts are joining together with Reaves this Saturday to put on a performance you will never forget. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • Small Town Christmas a Big Time Hit in Banner Elk


    December 10, 2019. Santa Clause had a busy weekend in Banner Elk, finding time to take part in a pancake breakfast, take photos with pets, read stories to children and even take a jump into Wildcat Lake for the Polar Plunge. Banner Elk’s Small Town Christmas brought big crowds to Avery County over the weekend that included a wide range of events. The weekend started on Friday with caroling, hot chocolate and the lighting of the Christmas tree donated by Elk River Evergreens in Elk Park. “That was well attended, we had probably 200 hundred people come out for that,” said Nancy Owen, Banner Elk’s Tourism Development Director. Saturday started with the Reindeer Run during the morning sponsored by Williams YMCA of Avery County, followed by a pancake breakfast with Santa Clause. After that, Santa headed to the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce where people brought their pets to have a photo made with Santa, thanks to the Avery County Humane Society.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Shirley Harris ‘Buys Boone Lunch’ in Honor of her Husband Tim’s 75th Birthday on Wednesday


    December 10, 2019. F.A.R.M. Cafe welcomes Tim and Shirley Harris for a special Buy Boone Lunch honoring Tim’s 75th birthday. Tomorrow, December 10, the Harris’ along with friends and family will be on-site volunteering and serving a delicious lunch prepared from locally sourced ingredients. In addition to staffing the event, the Harris’ are generously donating funds to cover the day’s meal cost.   This contribution allows F.A.R.M. Cafe to utilize all additional donations made this Wednesday in its mission to fight food insecurity in the High Country. Just like each day at F.A.R.M Cafe, diners are encouraged to donate what they are able for a great lunch. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Deeds – Nov. 28–Dec. 4: 22 Deed Transfers With a Total Value of $7,949,000.00

    Dec. 10, 2019. A look at the recent deed transfers in Watauga County. The information comes courtesy of the Watauga County Register of Deeds. Compiled by Debbie Carter / Read more…



  • Winter Exhibition Celebration at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum Opens December 13th


    December 10, 2019. On December 13th, the Winter Exhibition Celebration at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will be presenting new works for its seasonal exhibit. The museum’s Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Director, Dianna Cameron, talked about the upcoming pieces in, saying, “The event we have coming up is one of our three annual opening receptions for our latest exhibitions, so it isn’t something really different that we do, we just feature different exhibitions with every reception. With this one, we have five exhibitions that we’re presenting, which is photographs by Hugh Morton, a show that traveled to us from Chapel Hill, we have a work of watercolors from Sallie Middleton and the Asheville Art Museum, and also curated the show of realistic wood sculptures by Pete Ludo, an artist based in Lenoir. We also have our exhibit by a local craftsman, Chris Capazzoli, who makes all of his guitars and string instruments by hand. Lastly in our community gallery, we’ll have an exhibition of photographs by David Holt, who is both a musician and photographer, and within that exhibit he talks about his mentors and heroes as a musician which features names like Doc Watson.” By Colby Gable / Read more…



  • Western Youth Network Festival of Trees in Blowing Rock Raised Over $50,000 Last Weekend


    December 10, 2019. The 5th annual Festival of Trees at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock this past weekend raised almost $50,000 for the Western Youth Network (WYN).  WYN provides unique and quality programming that offers support to over 200 children and youth each year through mentoring, after-school initiatives, substance abuse prevention and summer camps. Themed trees and wreaths, decorated by High Country businesses and individuals, were sold via an online auction while the four day festival was open to the public for their viewing enjoyment. / Read more…



  • Olympic Skier Andrew Weibrecht Returning to Ski Country Sports in Banner Elk on December 15


    December 9, 2019. For the second year in a row, United States Olympian Andrew Weibrecht will be making an appearance in the High Country. Weibrecht will be at Ski Country Sports in Banner Elk from 4-5 p.m. on Sunday, December 15. Hopefully, the weather this year will make up for last year’s snowstorm that put a damper on the event. “He (Andrew) came up here the weekend we had that 20-inch snow, so it was hard for people to get out and about and get up here,” said Bill Leonard, owner of Ski Country Sports. Weibrecht is a three-time Olympian and a two-time medalist in the Winter Olympics. He competed in 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics before announcing his retirement last year. The Lake Placid native won the bronze in Super-G at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and followed that up with a silver in the Super-G at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • App State to Conduct Search for Head Football Coach; Shawn Clark Named Interim Head Coach


    December 9, 2019. Sunday night, reports emerged that App State football coach Eli Drinkwitz agreed to take over at the University of Missouri after one season in Boone. Peter Thamel of Yahoo Sports confirmed the contract rumors last night, saying, “Drinkwitz replaces Odom, who was fired in the wake of a 6-6 season and a 25-25 overall record. Odom got Missouri bowl eligible in three of his four seasons but was fired by athletic director Jim Sterk immediately after this season. Sterk’s search had been underwhelming until Missouri’s contingent flew to Boone, North Carolina, on Saturday night to interview Drinkwitz. Reports named Army’s Jeff Monken, Louisiana Tech’s Skip Holtz and Arkansas State’s Blake Anderson among those under significant consideration.“ Mitchell Forde of MissouriRivals.com also confirmed the reports of Drinkwitz move, pending approval of the Board of Curators who most likely will allow the move to go forward. On the details of the search, Forde says, “Sunday, the two sides agreed on terms, though the details of the agreement have not yet been made public. Missouri will have to pay $1.7 million to buy Drinkwitz out of the remaining four years of his contract with Appalachian State. By Colby Gable / Read more…



  • Fan Shots From Appalachian State’s Victory To Win Sun Belt Championship

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    Dec. 9, 2019 Here are some fan shots from Saturday’s 45-38 victory over Louisiana-LaFayette. The crowd was electric with enthusiasm watching their team battle for another Sun Best Championship. Photography by Debbie Carter. / Read more…



  • No Decision on Valle Crucis School Property Until March of 2020

    December 9, 2019. The idea of a new Valle Crucis School will be put on hold until March 2020 at the earliest after the Watauga County Board of Education decided to extend the due diligence period on the property that the county has under contract. “The board voted to extend the due diligence period on the property until March to perform some additional testing. We are still waiting for those results at the moment,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. Citizens have voiced their opinion on the potential property, known locally as the Hodges Property on Broadstone Road, a 14.4-acre parcel of land that is roughly a quarter-mile from the current Valle Crucis School. While everyone agrees that Valle Crucis needs a new school, opinions have differed greatly on where that school should be located.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • The Carolina Snowbelles to Perform Holiday Show at The Appalachian Theatre this Friday & Saturday


    December 9, 2019. A new performance holiday tradition will begin in downtown Boone this weekend with the production of A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas. Local precision dance troupe The Carolina Snowbelles is headed to the newly renovated Appalachian Theatre to debut their holiday show on December 13 at 7:30 pm and December 14 at 3:00pm. The 22-member dance troupe has been rehearsing this 90 minute show since August – their most ambitious and comprehensive performance to date.  A Carolina Snowbelle Christmas will feature precision tap and jazz, vocal performance, and ballet, as well as spoken word and audience interaction. Throughout the performance, audience members will experience the Snowbelles’ impressive precision dance and spectacular costuming along with two brand new scenes featuring choreography by New York City Ballet alumnus, Amanda Edge and Colorado Ballet alumnus, Brad Parquette.. / Read more…



  • The Powder Horn is Back in Print, WHS School Newspaper Relaunches Print Edition


    December 9, 2019. In a matter of weeks, we are set to turn our calendars to the second decade of the 21st century. Over the past twenty years, our society has become indelibly plugged-in. In the past two decades, the technology that first allowed us to make calls without being tethered to a cable between phones has supplied us with computers in our pockets and virtual assistants in our homes. In the modern world, everything from the refrigerator to the doorbell is connected, digitized and networked. But for a group of students at Watauga High School — digital natives who never lived in a pre-internet world — there is an appetite for renewing a long-familiar medium: a print newspaper. Over the past three months, journalism students at Watauga High School have worked to revitalize the school’s newspaper, The Powder Horn. The publication, whose print edition has existed in some form since Watauga High School’s foundation in 1965, has been online-only for several years. / Read more…



  • MerleFest Announces Lineup Additions For 2020 Festival


    December 9, 2019. MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the next round of artist additions for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. John Prine, Billy Strings, Colin Hay, Kelsey Waldon, and Gangstagrass will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today’s lineup announcement adds five great artists to MerleFest’s already stacked lineup. / Read more…



  • Eliah Drinkwitz Leaving Appalachian State After One Season to Become Missouri’s Head Coach


    December 9, 2019. Eliah Drinkwitz, one of college football’s fastest rising coaching stars, is leaving Appalachian State University as its head coach to take the same post at the University of Missouri, according to nationally published reports. Official announcements from both universities and Drinkwitz are expected soon. Drinkwitz, whose lone year of head coaching experience saw him take the Mountaineers to a 12-1 record with two wins over Power Five teams (South Carolina and North Carolina) and a Sun Belt Conference championship. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Mountaineers Claim Sun Belt Conference Championship With 45-38 Win Over Louisiana-LaFayette at Kidd Brewer Stadium

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    December 8, 2019. Another season and another conference championship for the Appalachian State University Football Mountaineers. After Saturday’s dramatic 45-38 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, the Mountaineers have now won at least a share of the last four Sun Belt championships. That includes the past two conference’s two championship games, which were both held at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone. This season, Appalachian State used a three-touchdown performance from game Most Valuable Player Darrynton Evans, a running game that that powered for 267 yards and a defense that forced three turnovers to produce the win. The Mountaineers (12-1) have won at least nine games in every season since 2015, and that includes at least 10 wins in four of the last five seasons. Appalachian State, which also secured the first 12-win season ever for the Sun Belt and for a major college football bowl-subdivision school from the state of North Carolina, jumped to a 21-7 lead by the end of the first period. By Tim Gardner / Photography by David C. Mayo / Read more…



  • Ski Resorts Expecting Great Weather and Slope Conditions for the First Weekend of December


    December 6, 2019. It should be a busy weekend on the ski slopes with near-perfect skiing weather for the first full weekend of December. “We were really able to capitalize on this cold front and we’ve made snow the last couple of nights and it’s definitely peak season snow. We’ve got a 28-36 inch base on eight open slopes and going into the weekend, the forecast looks just about perfect for skiing and snowboarding,” says Drew Stanley, the Marketing Director at Appalachian Ski Mtn. This weekend also marks the annual anniversary weekend celebration at Appalachian Ski Mtn. Ticket prices for Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. are only $5. “The first full weekend of December we offer 1962 prices, that was our first year of skiing,” said Stanley. “We’re excited to have great conditions for all of the people coming up to celebrate our anniversary.” This year, the special $5 ticket price is available online only. Customers simply purchase their tickets in advance online to get the special anniversary pricing. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • East Boone Connector Multi-Modal Path will be Built by the NCDOT


    December 6, 2019. Harmony Lanes is excited to announce that the East Boone Connector multi-modal path, proposed to the NCDOT in the spring of 2019, has been added to the plan for the Bamboo/Wilson’s Ridge road upgrades by the NCDOT, and will be paid for by the NCDOT.  The East Boone Connector will run on the west side of Bamboo Rd. from US 421 to the Wilson’s Ridge intersection.  The multi-modal path will be separated from traffic by a curb and grass/landscaping to protect users.  The East Boone Connector will be the first on-street protected multi-modal path in Boone.  It will allow East Boone pedestrians and cyclists to access the Boone Greenway, services like the Hospitality House and businesses like Center 45 climbing gym and Hatchet Coffee at Bamboo Rd., the future town complex at Brookshire Park, the future Grove Street connector greenway, and Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park.   / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell to Hold Watauga County Town Hall on December 10

    December 6, 2019. WHAT: Watauga County General Town Hall Meeting with NC Rep. Ray Russell. WHEN: 6-7:30 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 10. WHERE: Boone Council Chambers, 1500 Blowing Rock Rd. The 2019 legislative session was the second-longest in North Carolina history but still resulted in significant failures from the General Assembly. No comprehensive budget was passed and the legislature failed to act on the state’s Farm Bill. Education and environmental needs were significantly underfunded. There was some success, however. The Raise the Age law changed state statutes to include 16 and 17-year-olds as juveniles for many nonviolent crimes. In addition, child sexual abuse statutes and sexual assault laws were strengthened. / Read more…



  • Today’s 2020 Candidate Announcements

    December 5, 2019. Note: Each day, the High Country Press will share emails and announcements from candidates that are entering their names into the 2020 primary and general election. Today we received the following announcements from N.C. House Representative Ray Russell, Watauga County School Board candidate Ronny Holste and U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx. Hello, my name is Jason Cornett and I am asking you for your vote for Watauga County Board of Education. I am a native of Watauga County living in Vilas with my wife, Brandy, and son, Josh. Brandy serves the Business Officer for Appalachian State University Housing and has worked at ASU for almost 20 years. Josh is a senior at Watauga High School, and was recently accepted into Appalachian State University where he plans to attend next fall. I grew up in the Bethel community where I attended Bethel Elementary School and went on to graduate from Watauga High in 1994. After high school, I entered the workforce at Appalachian State University. I held positions in Food Service and office administration before seeking a career in law enforcement. I began as a security officer at App State in 1999 and attended basic law enforcement training at night while working day shift. / Read more…



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