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NC REALTORS® Launch Statewide Campaign to Raise Awareness About Support Efforts Through Expertise, Partnership and Advocacy

June 25, 2024 The NC REALTORS® launched a comprehensive awareness campaign highlighting the specialized expertise and knowledge that REALTORS® provide both buyers and sellers. REALTORS® are essential to the buying and selling process, especially amid an increasingly complex real estate market. As a trusted partner, NC REALTORS® work alongside their customers every step of the way. From understanding ongoing market forces to knowing when rush hour traffic starts, REALTORS® use their expertise to your advantage.

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St. Mary of the Hills Presents Concert of American Music on July 7  at 3 pm

June 24, 2024 Tenor Tyler Young and Tyler Dellaperute, pianist, bring a recital of solo piano and vocal works by American composers to the next Summer Concert at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church on Sunday afternoon, July 7 th at 3 pm. They’ll perform works by Amy Beach, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, Fats Waller, and others for a delightful afternoon of music on this holiday weekend.

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Feeding Avery Families Celebrates Renaming Ceremony to Honor Dick Larson

June 24, 2024 Feeding Avery Families, a nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger in Avery County, held a grand celebration on June 19 to honor the contributions of longtime volunteer and community leader Dick Larson. The event marked the official renaming of their food distribution center to “The Dick Larson Food Pantry.” The celebration, attended by community members, volunteers, and local dignitaries, was filled with heartfelt tributes and a spirit of gratitude. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the new sign that now proudly reads “The Dick Larson Food Pantry.” By Harley Nefe

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Carlton Gallery Announces an “Art Dash” on June 29, Featuring Artist Egidio Antonaccio

June 24, 2024 Carlton Gallery plans an “Art Dash” on Saturday, June 29, which will feature artist Egidio Antonaccio demonstrating his masterly painting skills from 2 to 4 pm. Antonaccio is a talented fine art painter whose realistic impressionist landscapes show his love of nature.  He is a standing gallery artist, as well as a teacher at the gallery’s seasonal painting workshops. Many of the small paintings (17 or more) rendered in his workshops will be available for viewing and purchasing during this “Art Dash” and the following week.

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An Appalachian Summer Festival’s 40th Anniversary Season Kicks Off June 29 with a Classic(al) Fusion of Music Genres

June 24, 2024 Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts celebration, An Appalachian Summer Festival, kicks off its 40th anniversary season this week. The festival runs June 29-July 27 and features a uniquely diverse and world-class mix of music, dance, visual arts, and film programming. Performances take place at multiple venues on the campus of App State. From alt-rock, bluegrass and blues, to soul, Broadway, classical and more, the festival offers 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.. Click here for full schedule:

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Movie Review: “The Bikeriders” Now Playing at Boone Regal

June 24, 2024 Watching “The Bikeriders,” the word “inauthentic” kept driving through my mind. For example, I wasn’t buying pretty-boy Austin Butler as a tough biker. There is a planet where Butler can come off as intimidating and that planet is called Arrakis. Here on Earth, he looks like a clean-cut actor making a calculated decision to take on a grungy role to make people notice his range, but it’s backfiring because it is so transparent. And it’s even worse for the actors that I regarded as tough guys going into this movie. Based on other performances they’ve turned in, Michael Shannon, Damon Herriman, and Boyd Holbrook all seem like good choices for a rough-and-tumble biker pic. But here they’re buried under so much bad makeup and unconvincing acting choices that it will actually be harder for me to take them seriously the next time they try to look dangerous in a good movie.

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Horn in the West’s 72nd Season Begins Tonight, Friday June 21 for a Journey Through History

June 21, 2024 Experience the excitement of the American frontier like never before with Horn in the West! Follow the brave pioneers as they navigate the challenges of the wilderness, all while surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With thrilling action, incredible music, and a powerful story of hope and perseverance, Horn in the West is an adventure you won’t want to miss. Buy your tickets now and join us for a journey through history! The house gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8:00 p.m.

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Avery Among Fifteen Counties to Receive State Funds to Help Complete High-Speed Internet Connection

June 20, 2024 The North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity announced on June 17 that $67 million in Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program awards to connect 15,835 households and businesses to high-speed internet in fifteen counties across the state.  Avery is the only county in the North Carolina High Country to receive this funding through a program that creates a partnership with local governments to close the digital divide. These projects will be funded by nearly $35 million from the federal American Rescue Plan awarded by NCDIT, nearly $16 million from counties, and more than $16 million from selected broadband providers. By Tim Gardner

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Santa Visits Beech Mountain’s Farmers’ Market July 5th with Over 40 Vendors

June 20, 2024 Santa will HIKE through the Beech Mountain Farmers’ Market on Friday, July 5th from 2 – 6pm.  FREE photo opportunities, children’s holiday craft/gift making station, plus patriotic temporary tattoos and spirit beads are all part of the fun up on Beech Mountain! Over 40 vendors will showcase their local fresh organic produce, honey, baked goods, ice cream, plants, flowers, microgreens, gourmet dog treats, art, homemade crafts, jewelry, body and hemp products, farm raised beef/pork/eggs and much more.

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2024-2025 Avery County Fiscal Year Budget Revealed

June 20, 2024 Click here to see the Avery County 2024-2025 Fiscal Year Budget, adopted by its Board of Commissioners, contains a detailed breakdown of anticipated revenues and expenses for the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1st, 2024 and ends on June 30th, 2025.

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2024 Blowing Rock Tour of Homes Offers a Spectrum of Mountain Lifestyles on July 26

June 20, 2024 From a soaring mountain-style home literally hanging over the edge of the John’s River Gorge to a cozy, art-filled condo, from a cottage-style home designed for visits from the grandchildren to an elaborate villa filled with antiques, the 66th annual Blowing Rock Tour of Homes truly has something for everyone!  Sponsored by St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, with volunteers from across Watauga County and beyond, the Tour is a summer fixture in this picturesque mountain village, attracting visitors from around the entire region.

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ASU’s DEI Programs To Be “Defunded” – Part II

June 20, 2024. As previously reported (in a Part I HCP Column dated June 5), in May 2024, the UNC Board of Governors passed a new Policy that “defunds” the DEI bureaucracies at all 16 UNC public universities, including Appalachian State University (“ASU”). This Part II Column reports on and summarizes some aspects of the currently existing ASU DEI bureaucracies and their activities, some local reactions to the new UNC Policies, and previews some likely changes at ASU as a result of the new UNC Policies. By Mark A. Murphy PhD, JD

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Avery Board of Commissioners Distribute Opioid Settlement Funds at June 17th Meeting

June 19, 2024 During a special meeting on June 17th that lasted less than thirty minutes, the Avery Board of Commissioners provided four organizations funding from the National Opioid settlement money the County received. The Avery County Government (Board of Commissioners) has hosted several public input sessions about the National Opioid Settlement as per the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the State of North Carolina and Local Governments with more such sessions to be scheduled in the future.  These sessions are held to hopefully ensure that Avery residents and business owners and their other representatives have an opportunity to learn more about the settlement and the County’s efforts to address substance use disorder.  Those attending any of these public input sessions can offer their comments about both topics if they so choose. By Tim Gardner

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Summertime in the Mountains Has Arrived!


June 19, 2024 . We don’t need the calendar to remind us, but just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, summer has arrived in the mountains this week. Not only are the roads crowding up with seasonal visitors coming to enjoy what we are blessed with year-round, but so are the local entertainment venues, hotels, restaurants, grocery store parking lots, pools, quaint downtown shopping attractions and more. And the thermometers are definitely reminding us that summer has arrived, unlike what we were experiencing just a few days earlier. So, what are we going to do about it? I say let’s make the best of it! Let’s make memories with our own families, even if we can’t run away anytime soon to a different playground. Get that fire pit cleaned out and bring on the s’mores. Head to the Blue Ridge Parkway before the sun rises to witness the world come alive over our amazing terrain. Featured recipes this week include few “cool” ideas to help keep the awesome in your summer. By Sherrie Norris

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Property Snapshot – Residential Properties Sold Within the Same Price Point

June 19, 2024  Every month or so we like to take a look at residential properties that have recently sold within the same price point but within different communities in the High Country to see the difference location and community might make in what is available for the around the same amount of money. The following properties sold between May 1, 2024 and May 31, 2024  ranging in price from $275,000 to $310,000. Two are single family detached homes and one is a condominium. They are located in Boone, Sparta, and Vilas. By Karen Cleghorn, REALTOR, Blue Ridge Realty & Investments, LLC

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Free Fireworks Display and Family-Friendly Event in Spencer at the N.C. Transportation Museum 

June 19, 2024 Kick-off your Independence Day celebrations with the N.C. Transportation Museum on Saturday, June 29! Beginning at 5:30 p.m. enjoy an evening of family fun with our Fireworks Over Historic Spencer Shops! Activities include fireworks, food vendors, children’s craft area, balloon twister artist, bubble show, DJ music, inflatables, as well as corn hole and other lawn games. On display will be the Ride of Pride trucks from Daimler Trucks North America’s Cleveland, NC plant. Food vendors will be available on site. The spectacular firework show will begin at 9:15 p.m. The main fireworks viewing area will be in front of the Bob Julian Roundhouse. In the event of severe weather, fireworks show timing may be adjusted.

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A Night of Folk Fusion: Evie Ladin and The Wilder Flower Live at The Jones House June 21

June 18, 2024 Prepare for an enchanting evening of music as Evie Ladin and The Wilder Flower take the stage for a special concert at The Jones House in downtown Boone, NC. This free event will be held on June 21st at 5:30pm, offering a delightful blend of folk, Americana, and Appalachian traditions. Kicking off the evening is the incomparable Evie Ladin, a multi-talented artist renowned for her skills in banjo playing, singing, percussive dancing, and square-dance calling. Evie’s performances bridge Appalachian music with other cultural traditions, creating a unique and captivating fusion. Following Evie Ladin, The Wilder Flower will continue the musical journey with their dynamic blend of folk, Americana, bluegrass, and Old-time music.

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W.A.M.Y. Community Action Offering Free Weatherization Services to Low-Income Households in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties


June 18, 2024 . WAMY Community Action, a non-profit organization, is actively reaching out to help low-income families improve the energy efficiency of their homes. With the aid of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), WAMY is on a mission to protect homes from weather elements and improve energy conservation through free services to those households that meet the income eligibility criteria. Examples of the services offered under WAMY’s Weatherization Program include installing insulation, air sealing, and duct sealing. The program is not exclusive to homeowners; renters are also eligible for these services, provided they have obtained permission from their landlords. After weatherization services, households could save approximately 30% to 35% on their heating and cooling expenses, thus making a significant impact on their monthly budget

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Book Brigade Young Adult Book Club at the Watauga County Public Library Every Thursday

June 18, 2024 The Watauga County Public Library has brought back our Book Brigade book club for high-school aged teenagers over the summer. Book Brigade will be meeting at the Watauga County Public Library every Thursday at 3:30 PM up through August 1st, alternating between book discussions and hangout days, with video games, board games, and puzzles. Pizza and drinks will be provided at every meeting. The next book is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee on Thursday, June 27. On Thursday, July 11, we’ll be discussing Parachutes by Kelly Yang. The final book, to discuss on Thursday, July 25, has yet to be determined.

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USDA Awards $50 Million to Support Farmworkers and Agricultural Employers

June 18, 2024 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on June 14 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $50 million to 141 awardees in 40 states and Puerto Rico, through the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program), reaching 177 unique agricultural operations and over 11,000 workers. The awards will help improve the resiliency of the U.S. food supply chain by addressing agriculture labor challenges and instability, strengthen protections for farmworkers, and expand legal pathways for labor migration. This program delivers on a commitment made as part of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and furthers the Administration’s commitment to a regional approach to migration in the hemisphere.

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Public Comment Period Set for Proposed Changes to Rules About Election Protests and Recounts

June 18, 2024 The State Board of Elections is proposing temporary amendments to rules governing election protests and recounts so that post-election proceedings are completed in a timely fashion. The rules would be in effect on a temporary basis, to ensure that they can become effective before the general election. Gaps in the current timelines for election protests and recounts can lead to unnecessary delays in the final certification of elections. In recent years, election protest decisions and appeals have led to delays in certification for weeks, or even months, after an election. Such delays could be especially problematic in a presidential election, because federal law sets a strict deadline for states to certify their selection of presidential electors, in advance of the Electoral College meeting.

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