August 4, 2021. Avery County’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget does not include funds for specific animal control enforcement services in the county, as a debate continues whether such is needed in the county. Avery County has no animal ordinances such as control or lease laws or other related regulations. In June, Jim Ward, representing the non-profit Advocates for the Care of Animals in Avery County organization presented the Avery County Board of Commissioners with a check for $100,000.00 to fund an animal services position in Avery County since such a position was not included in the county budget. However, the commissioners did not accept the check.
August 4, 2021. On May 20, 2021, Councilperson Dustin Hicks announced their resignation, effective July 31, 2021. During the Special Town Council Meeting on August 3, 2021, Jon Dalton George was elected to fill the vacant seat of Councilperson Dustin Hicks. Councilperson George will be seated until December 2021. The Town Council also voted for all future Town Council meetings and town board, commission and committee meetings to be held virtually until further notice.
August 4, 2021. Beech Mountain Resort’s Summer Concert Series kicks off this weekend with Umphrey’s McGee playing two shows spanning August 6 and 7. General admission tickets are $42 at the door. . Gates open at 5 p.m. and show starts at 7 p.m. This show is open to all ages and 5 and under get in free.
August 4, 2021. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce’s Community, Government & Education Committee in partnership with the Town of Blowing Rock invites all residents and business owners to attend the annual State of the Town event Thursday, August 12 at 5:30 pm at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum. The meeting will be held upstairs in the Community Meeting Room. Join us to learn about exciting current and future projects in the Town of Blowing Rock as well as look at the economic indicators. The Town’s report will be presented by Mayor Sellers and Town Manager, Shane Fox. Charles Hardin will update the audience on the current projects and initiatives of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Village Foundation. Tracy Brown, Executive Director of Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority will present the initiatives of the Authority along with year-end occupancy numbers and how covid19 has affected tourism and marketing of the Village.
August 4, 2021. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) is pleased to announce that it is reopening its doors to the general public on September 3 for the first time since March 2020. This concludes an extended period of time during which ATHC produced 15 online broadcasts of seven films and eight “Live from the Appalachian Theatre” stage shows and private events. These events reached a virtual audience of thousands of dedicated supporters who sustained the venerable King Street landmark in downtown Boone during the global pandemic. Tickets for these events will go on sale to ATHC members at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 6 and to the general public the following week at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 12.
August 4, 2021. Two actors from the first season of “Horn in the West” have returned this summer to see the performance, 69 years after they first took the stage. Roberta Austin and Don Stevenson, who took the stage first in 1952, pleasantly surprised the cast and crew with their reservations. It’s always a treat for our alumni to return for the show,” said board member Steve Canipe. “They always comment on how the stage, costumes, and script have evolved since their time, but the feeling remains the same.” The presence of these original cast members this summer also reminded the organization about the importance of its foundation.
August 4, 2021. For the first time in months, just this week I had a pot of homemade vegetable soup simmering on the stove. I don’t recall ever doing that this time of year. But, the temps dropped slightly, the day was rather cool and rainy and I needed to use up some ground beef and fresh veggies I had in the fridge. I added soup’s best friend — grilled cheese — and served a meal that my family seemed to enjoy. It surprised even me. But, today, as I write these words, the sun is shining and I am listening to the weather forecast that’s calling for rising temps once again. I’m thinking no more soup for a couple months. Creatures of habit, we are. With the onset of spring and summer earlier this year, I subconsciously began planning how to make life simple in the kitchen. It’s pretty easy to peel, slice, grill and serve. It’s usually healthier that way, too, for which many of us are striving these days. Throwing salads together also becomes easier as the season progresses, when we can just run to the garden for one more addition. They can also be enhanced with the following tips: SEE STORY By Sherrie Norris
August 3, 2021. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland.
August 3, 2021. BRAHM (Blowing Rock Art & History Museum) is pleased to announce its new Trustee members who were recently elected at the Annual Meeting. Trustees serve three-year terms and are actively engaged in the leadership of the museum. This year’s class of Trustees is: Dan McLamb, Brent Moore, Maria Saterbo, and Cantey Tanner. Officers for 2021-22 are President – Sandy Huff, Vice President – Joe Coyne, Treasurer – Dean Hamric, and Secretary – Teresa Caine.
August 3, 2021. During this year’s 98th consecutive Blowing Rock Horse Show, the main ring at the L. M. Tate Show Grounds was dedicated to the memory of Sallie and Kenny Wheeler of Keswick, VA. The Wheelers loved their times in Blowing Rock and supported the horse show for decades. From their home base at Cismont Manor Farm in Keswick, Sallie competed in both Saddlebred and Hunter Divisions while Kenny dominated the Hunter ring with a consistent string of talented Green Conformation and Working Hunters. The couple showed throughout the United States, and at one time or another won every major championship in their various competitive divisions. Kenny’s success extended into the Breeding Division where he clinched the Best Young Horse Award thirty-four times at the prestigious Devon Horse Show.
August 3, 2021. Over the past couple of years, Grandfather Mountain has welcomed a few new, yet familiar, faces to its leadership team to direct the foundation into the future as it prepares to open the new Wilson Center for Nature Discovery in 2022. “Our mindset is to protect and preserve Grandfather Mountain for future generations,” said Jesse Pope, president and executive director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the non-profit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature park. “But what we learned in the last few years is that we really have to be adaptive to change, and we have to respond to the world around us. We are transitioning from a preservation mindset to a conservation and future planning mindset, with a more mission-focused approach.” This approach is centered on the foundation’s central purpose of inspiring conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain.
August 2, 2021. Dignitaries and citizens celebrated the Grand Opening of the Town of Beech Mountain’s Public Works Facility and Convenience Center with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Thursday, July 22. Opening the 5 million dollar, state-of-the-art facility is just one more step in the Town’s plans to upgrade its infrastructure system. During his remarks, Town Manager and Beech Mountain Volunteer Department Fire Chief Robert Pudney noted that design work for the project began in April 2018 and construction started in November of 2019. He recalled pouring concrete in the rain with some of the attendees.
August 2, 2021. Jim and Kathy Neace of Raleigh visited the High Country last week after a gap of 55 years to celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary where they met – in Banner Elk, at the then Lees-McRae Junior College. Business student Kathy, from Winston-Salem and football scholar Jim, from Key West, FL, fell in love almost immediately on meeting and 18 months later, in 1966, they tied the knot with all the family present in the only time slot available when Jim’s father, a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, was stationed to San Diego. By Bernadette Cahill
July 19, 2021. Two years ago, Watauga County officially joined the initiative known as National Night Out. It was a success with good community involvement, and organizers hoped that it would become an annual event. Then, COVID-19 happened and stopped it in its tracks before it really got off the ground. But now, plans are underway for the county’s second event and it’s shaping up to be fun, informative and reflective, said coordinator Sgt. Casey Miller with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Department. Miller tells us that local law enforcement agencies will be joining forces with thousands of other communities across the country for National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 3. The event is scheduled to take place from 4-7:30 p.m. at Watauga High School in Boone. Since 1984, National Night Out has been bringing communities together to enhance the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement — while bringing back a true sense of community as we once knew it. By Sherrie Norris
August 2, 2021. Painters Lee Harper and Tunde Afholayan Famous are spending this week at the Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock through August 8 as part of their Artists in Residency program. Harper has enjoyed a successful career as dancer, choreographer, teacher and artist. A native of Hickory, Harper attended the Juilliard School of Music and graduated from the North Carolina School of the Arts with a degree in dance. In addition to dancing professionally with iconic New York dance studios such as Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre, Lee enjoyed a long association with the Atlanta Symphony, choreographing works for her professional dance company. Harper’s art work in oil includes still life, dancers, landscapes and more. Come meet Lee from August 2 through August 8 at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock. Famous, a Nigerian-born artist, is considered one of today’s most prolific African contemporary artists. Exploring color as the basis of painting, he infuses spiritualism and symbolism in his powerful, lyrical expressions.
July 30, 2021. The Delta variant of COVID-19 has brought about a huge increase in positive cases across North Carolina. The rate of positive cases per 100,000 people jumped up 99% from the previous week according to data provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. While the numbers still do not indicate a large number of infections (77 per 100,000 people), the percentage shows that the spread of the Delta variant is much broader than just one week ago. The positive rate of infections in Watauga County jumped up to 4.28%, the highest it has been since mid-April. There are currently 22 active cases in Watauga County with 16 others being actively monitored. Ashe County has 28 active cases with 39 people being actively monitored and Alleghany County has just two active cases with four people being actively monitored. As of July 29, AppHealthCare has administered 41,024 vaccine shots. There have been a total of 8,245 positive COVID-19 cases in the three-county area served by AppHealthCare, including 84 deaths and 58 cases where someone that has been vaccinated has tested positive for the virus. By Nathan Ham
July 30, 2021. 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.
Compiled by Nathan Ham
July 29, 2021. Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently transferred 615 acres of land to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to become part of Three Top Mountain Game Land. With this transfer, BRC has conserved 1,000 acres at Three Top, bringing the total area to over 3,100 acres of protected land. Important for conservation due to its biodiversity, and designated as “exceptional” by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program, the Three Top Mountain Game Land addition includes over three miles of headwater streams of the North Fork New River and expands the protected range for wildlife habitat and migration corridors. The additional acreage also includes a new public access for recreational opportunities such as hiking, birding, and hunting.
July 29, 2021. Franz Josef Michael Rueckert, PhD, has been hired as the new Dean of Natural and Behavioral Sciences. He will officially assume the role on Aug. 9. “I am thrilled that Rueckert will be stepping into this position and look forward to working with him at this exciting time in Lees-McRae’s history,” Provost Alyson Gill said. “The depth of the leadership experience that he brings will be a great benefit to the School of Natural and Behavorial Sciences college and I know that he will be a wonderful colleague.” Rueckert comes to Lees-McRae from the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, where he was the founding dean for the School of Sciences and Humanities. Prior to the school’s formation, Rueckert served as the chair of the Department of Sciences, where he oversaw the Biology, Chemistry, and Physics programs, the opening of new state-of-the-art lab spaces, and the development of the interdisciplinary Applied Sciences major. Rueckert’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, a Bachelor of Science in Physics, and a Master of Science in Physics all from San Diego State University, and a doctorate in Physics from the University of Connecticut. In addition to his administrative and leadership experience, Rueckert has worked closely with students in both classroom and research settings.
July 28, 2021. The Sun Belt Conference has announced the conference schedule for the upcoming 2021-22 season. The schedule will consist of 18 games for all teams, with each playing nine at home and nine on the road. All games will follow a Thursday-Saturday format. App State begins conference play with a home weekend against Louisiana on Dec. 30 and ULM on Jan. 1. The Mountaineers then hit the road for five of their next six contests. App State begins the road swing with a trip to Alabama to face South Alabama (Jan. 6) and Troy (Jan. 8). The Mountaineers return home for one game on Jan. 13 against Coastal Carolina, before making a return trip to Conway to battle the Chanticleers on Jan. 15. The Black and Gold play two more road games in Georgia on Jan. 20 (Georgia State) and Jan. 22 (Georgia Southern). App State closes out January with home contests on Jan. 27 versus Arkansas State and Jan. 29 against Little Rock. The contest with Little Rock is a double header with the women’s program.
July 28, 2021. Appalachian State University’s An Appalachian Summer Festival (AASF) concludes its 37th season with the Grammy-winning band Ranky Tanky in an outdoor concert at State Farm Road Concert Lot on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at 8pm. The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this quintet of native South Carolinians who mix Lowcountry traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B. From playful game songs to ecstatic shouts, from heartbreaking spirituals to delicate lullabies, the musical roots of Charleston, SC are fertile ground from which these contemporary artists have grown. To purchase tickets (sold in pods for up to two, four and six people), visit or call the Schaefer Center box office at 800-841-2787 or 828-262-4046, or purchase online at AppSummer.org.
July 28, 2021. The Watauga County Public Library invites the community to a free concert with The King Bees, Friday, August 6th, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM on the lawn at the library, 140 Queen Street in Boone, NC, (828 260 3254). Parking for the event is at the library and is free. Proclaimed as “Legendary Blues stylists…” by The Knoxville Journal, The King Bees, Rob “Hound Dog” Baskerville and Penny “Queen Bee” Zamagni, tour worldwide and have played Paris, Rome, London, New York and Chicago, Savannah, Charlotte, and Durham. Grab a blanket or bring folding chairs for the lawn, and pack a picnic basket if you like. We will see you at the Watauga County Public Library for some great music!
July 28, 2021. The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. New River Conservancy is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. New River Conservancy is applying to renew our accreditation through the Land Trust Alliance. As a member of the LTA, New River Conservancy can assure our landowners and other stakeholders that we have been vigorously and thoroughly reviewed all of our endeavors and are following best management practices to protect natural places and working lands.
July 28, 2021. The Toe River Health District, which comprises health departments in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, NC counties has again commenced reporting coronavirus (Covid-19) numbers again. The number of persons infected with the potentially fatal virus sharply declined this spring after one year of a consistent rise in cases throughout the region. But during the past five days, the number of positive cases is again growing and at an alarming rate. On Friday, July 23, Yancey County had nine new cases and Avery County had three. While Mitchell County reported zero cases on Friday, it had five cases during the past five days (July 19-23). In the same five-day time period, Yancey County had 18 new cases of the disease, while Avery County reported 15 and Mitchell County had five. By Tim Gardner
July 28, 2021. Another of summer’s greatest gifts growing in abundance this year around the High Country is the blackberry. Providing a great source of vitamin C and fiber, blackberries can be enjoyed in many different ways— by the handful just off the prickly bushes, in fresh fruit salads and smoothies and cooked in cobblers, jams, muffins and pies. It’s best to look for firm, plump and fully colored berries. And it’s advisable to store them in a single layer at room temperature or in the refrigerator —but don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them. Blackberries have been used medicinally for hundreds of years, with old-timers using its juice to treat infections of the mouth and eyes, as well as for digestion problems.
A tough mountain woman who lived to be 104 once told me to sip a little blackberry wine for any problem related to the stomach. I won’t deny finding truth in her well-prescribed remedy. She also told me that she once simply peeled and boiled the roots and stems and drank the liquid for various digestive related problems. There is strong belief by many that blackberries contain cancer-fighting agents. So, whether for medicinal purposes or just because you like the taste of blackberries, now is the time to eat up. Like our other summer fruit, they won’t be around very long. By Sherrie Norris