High Country Press

Published Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 9 – March 17

    March 25, 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



  • Totally 80s Party Benefits Boone Service League March 30 with Music, Food, Auction, and More!


    March 25, 2019 Whether you were born in the ‘80s, went to high school in the ‘80s or lived through the ‘80s, the Boone Service League invites you to help us celebrate this iconic decade! The Totally 80s Party brings this unforgettable decade of daring fashion, radical hairstyles and unforgettable tunes back to the future from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, at the Boone National Guard Armory. The event is open to guests 21 and older. DJ Dave Blanks will spin you right round with all the hits of the ‘80s, and the event includes food from Gadabouts Catering, a cash bar with wine and Appalachian Mountain Brewery beer, totally tubular live auction packages, games to win prizes, photo booth, best-dressed contest, as well as other fun ‘80s surprises. Tickets are $40 and are available in advance or at the door. / Read more…



  • Ashe County’s On the Same Page Literary Festival Will Feature the Poet Laureate of the United States, Tracy K. Smith on April 1


    March 25, 2019 Smith will read her poetry and answer the community’s questions at the open-to-the-public event in West Jefferson.  “We will feature Tracy K. Smith’s to help celebrate Poetry Month this April,” said Ashe County Arts Council Executive Director, Jane Lonon. “When she was originally selected as Poet Laureate of the U.S., Smith stated one of her goals was to reach rural areas, places where you don’t usually find Poet Laureates…we immediately contacted her,” Lonon explained, “On the Same Page and Ashe County are a perfect fit.” (Originally scheduled for the September, 2018 Festival, Smith was unable to come due to the hurricane.) / Read more…



  • High Country Counties Rank Near the Top of the List for Return on Investment From Property Taxes


    March 25, 2019 Property owners in Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties should all feel pretty good about what they actually get for the taxes that they pay. According to a recent study from SmartAsset, all three of those counties rank in the top 10 in North Carolina for getting the most our of their property tax dollars. The study, which has been done each year for the last five years in North Carolina, compares the amount of money spent on property taxes that go back to each county versus school rankings and crime statistics for the county, since police forces, schools and other public utilities are often times the largest benefactor of tax revenue. Watauga, which has one of the lowest tax rates in the entire state, ranked seventh on the list. Avery County ranked sixth overall and Ashe County was eighth overall. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Choose Your Own Handmade Bowl During Watauga Empty Bowls at WHS This Saturday


    March 25, 2019 Add a meal at Watauga High School to your calendar for this Saturday, March 30, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. You’re invited to come out and choose a handmade bowl to enjoy homemade soup in for the 18th Annual WHS Empty Bowls Benefit Dinner. Unlike when you usually go out to eat, you get to take your bowl home with you as part of the event’s goal to remind us that there are always empty bowls and hungry people in the world. The evening will also feature a silent auction, desserts and live music. By Hailey Blevins / Read more…



  • Hardin Park Sixth-Grader wins Regional Spelling Bee, Now Eligible for National Spelling Bee


    March 25, 2019 Repeat Watauga County Schools Spelling Bee Champion, Hardin Park sixth-grader Sam Nystrom, took his hot spelling streak on the road March 24, securing first place in the regional spelling bee held in Winston-Salem. The contest pitted Sam against third through eighth grade competitors from 17 nearby counties. He bested 27 spellers over 11 rounds, correctly spelling the word “tilth” to secure his victory. Sam is no stranger to the regional spelling bee. He made his first trip to Winston-Salem two years ago as a fourth-grader. It wasn’t until a nine-year-old Sam found himself competing against some the the state’s best spellers that he realized he might have a knack for the craft. / Read more…



  • ‘The Grandfather Challenge’ Hiking Program For At-Risk Youth Opens 2019 Season


    March 25, 2019 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 2019 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. / Read more…



  • Endangered Virginia Big-Eared Bat Habitat Permanently Protected; Short Film Released


    March 25, 2019 A planned highway widening project and an old wildlife mystery set the stage for this short film about discovery and survival. In 2010, the North Carolina Department of Transportation proposed widening NC Highway 105 from Boone to Linville. Under the Endangered Species Act, widening that road required evaluating the project for impacts to threatened or endangered species. “Highway 105 is a narrow corridor bordered by the Watauga River on the downside and mountains on the upside. So how would you go about four-laning that road? You are going to blast, a whole bunch. With dynamite and earth moving, I realized immediately there would be a concern for bats,” said Marella Buncick, a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. / Read more…



  • Appalachian State Athletics to Celebrate Mountaineer Day on March 30


    March 25, 2019 Appalachian State is excited to welcome fans, friends and alums to Boone for Mountaineer Day on Saturday, March 30. The day will get started early with a 10 a.m. football scrimmage at Kidd Brewer Stadium, open to the public. With heavy construction in and around the stadium, fans are encouraged to park at the Rivers Street Parking Deck or Peacock Lot. The Shelco East Gate will open at 9:15 a.m. West gates, clubs and suites will not be available for the scrimmage. Limited concessions will be available on the east side of the stadium, as well as restrooms. Fans will have the opportunity to meet and greet with the football team – winners of three straight Sun Belt Conference Championships and four straight bowl games – at the conclusion of the approximately two-hour-long scrimmage. / Read more…



  • Appalachian Roller Derby is Back in Action and Ready to Begin Their Season March 30th


    March 25, 2019 After using their off season to recoup, regroup and innovate, Appalachian Roller Derby is back in action and ready to begin their season with a win against Classic City! Appalachian Roller Derby is currently ranked 99 out of 339 qualifying teams in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. This season, ARD is embarking on a new journey, facing difficult teams, and traveling to New York to play in a highly competitive tournament. Thanks to the direction of returning Coach Scott “CoolHandDuke” Herman and Bench Coach Ian “Sinbad” McCauley, these skaters are more than prepared for the perseverance, endurance, and heart they must give on and off the track to earn each and every victory they will receive this season! Join Appalachian Roller Derby in West Jefferson on Saturday, March 30th as they take on Classic City! / Read more…



  • Boone Town Council Votes to Delay a Yes or No Decision on Hwy. 105 Superstreet Project


    March 22, 2019 After over an hour of discussion by the Boone Town Council regarding the Hwy. 105 Superstreet project at Thursday night’s meeting, a motion was passed to allow more time for conversations with the DOT and the public before the council would feel comfortable with giving the latest DOT proposed plans a yes or no vote.. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • Mountaineers to Host Marshall in WBI Second Round on Monday, March 25


    March 22, 2019 The Mountaineers are back to #DefendHolmes! Appalachian State University women’s basketball will host Marshall in the second round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational on Monday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Holmes Center. Tickets are general admission seating and are $10 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-12) for Apps’ first home postseason tournament game since the 2010 WBI championship. Tickets are free for App State students, and there will also be free food available on site for App State students in attendance. / Read more…



  • High Country Crime Stoppers Seek Public’s Help


    March 22, 2019 The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in locating Timothy John “TJ” Trivette. Mr. Trivette is a 36 year old white male with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 6’0” tall and weighs approximately 185lbs. Mr. Trivette was last seen by his family on Wednesday March 13th 2019 and was wearing black or dark colored pants, a dark colored shirt, and had a beard. Mr. Trivette’s vehicle was located unoccupied near the Guy Ford bridge. If you have spoken with, or seen Mr. Trivette since March 13th 2019, please contact the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division at (828)-264-3761. / Read more…



  • Irish-Appalachian Concert at Jones House Tuesday March 26 with Claudine Langille and Bob Vasile


    March 22, 2019 The Jones House Indoor Concert Series continues on Tuesday, March 26 with Irish-Appalachian band Claudine & the Lads. The band is led by Claudine Langille, a mandolin and tenor banjo player best known for her work with the band Touchstone and collaborations with Triona NiDhomhnail. Langille is known for her prowess on her instruments, her powerful song writing, and her singing voice. She currently performs with the Vermont based band Gypsy Reel. Langille maintains a musical connection with the traditional music of the maritime provinces of Canada, especially Nova Scotia, home of her father. Performing with Langille are “the lads” Fiddlin’ Al McCanless, Colin Shoemaker, and Bob Vasile. / Read more…



  • Boone Area Chamber of Commerce to Host Vision Northwest North Carolina, May 22

    March 22, 2019 Seeking an opportunity to spark dialogue regarding economic leadership in 12 Northwest North Carolina Counties, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announces the creation of Vision Northwest North Carolina, a one-day summit that will highlight local trends in economic, workforce, and talent development. The event takes place Wednesday, May 22nd, at Leon Levine Hall at Appalachian State University. / Read more…



  • Hospitality House Launches Food Pantry Challenge, Capital Bank Pledges to Match All Donations up to $10,000


    March 22, 2019 Hospitality House, the regional nonprofit housing and hunger relief agency serving Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Avery, Alleghany, Mitchell and Yancey counties, recently launched an ambitious campaign to more than double the size of its existing food pantry. Having fed nearly 61,000 people from food boxes and served over 1.1 million meals in the dining room since opening in 2011, the need has long since outgrown the current 126 square foot pantry. “This project has been a goal of ours for several years now,” stated Hospitality House executive director Tina B. Krause. “Each time that Second Harvest Food Bank does a site visit, they are in disbelief at the number of people that we are able to feed out of such a small space.” / Read more…



  • Highlander’s Grill & Tavern Host Avery Chamber Business After Hours on Tuesday


    March 22, 2019 Tuesday evening, Avery County’s Chamber Meeting was hosted at Highlander’s. Melynda Pepple, the executive director of Avery County Chamber of Commerce, led the meeting, beginning by welcoming everyone before introducing Dave and Karen, the owners of Highlander’s, and awarding them a plaque. Other topics discussed were the Leadership Avery class’s work to support Avery High School’s culinary class, an update on progress to reduce the opioid crisis in Avery and upcoming events and meetings. By Hailey Blevins / Read more…



  • Panel Discussion at Lees-McRae College on March 20 Addresses Opioid Misuse in Avery County

    March 22, 2019 Opioid misuse has reached not only alarming, but horrifying levels across many parts of the United States, including in Avery County. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and many others. Therefore, a program designed for three purposes: to educate, bring awareness and help stop the ongoing opioid misuse as well as stop its misuse in the county was held Wednesday, March 20, in the Evans Auditorium at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Jim Cottrell Honored with Special Celebration of his Career and Passion in the Ski Community


    March 20, 2019 It was a total surprise for Jim Cottrell on Tuesday afternoon. Friends, family and ski patrol members and ski instructors gathered at Appalachian Ski Mountain for a surprise party to celebrate Jim’s long and distinguished career in the ski community. Cottrell was the original founder of the French-Swiss Ski College at Appalachian Ski Mountain in 1969 along with retired businessman Jack Lester. The college taught its 1,000,000th skier in 2005. “We’re here to enjoy a fun day with our beloved friend, Jim Cottrell, and share some of his passion and enthusiasm for skiing. We’ve got a room full of people that are joined by their love of Jim and love of skiing,” said Brad Moretz, owner of Appalachian Ski Mountain. Walter Jaeger of the Professional Ski Instructors of America presented Cottrell with an award for his longstanding dedication to and enthusiasm for snow sports education in the southern region. He is just the sixth person to ever receive the award from the PSIA Eastern Division Region 7, which extends from Maryland to Florida. The award started in 2005. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga, Avery Obituaries – March 20, 2019

    March 20, 2019. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • Ski Update: Sugar Mountain Hoping to Remain Open Until March 31; Beech Mountain and Appalachian Ski Mtn. Calling it Quits This Weekend


    March 20, 2019 Sugar Mountain Resort will be the last one standing after this weekend. Both Appalachian Ski Mtn. and Beech Mountain will have their final few days of skiing through the end of this weekend before closing for the 2018-19 year. Beech Mountain will officially close for the season on Saturday, March 23 at 5p.m. Tubing and ice skating have already closed for the season. Skiers and snowboarders will receive 25 percent off slope passes, rentals and lessons. Appalachian Ski Mtn. will be closing out the season as they always do with the Meltdown Games. The end of winter celebration will begin on Saturday with the Impossible Box/Rail Contest at 11 a.m., followed by the Cardboard Box Derby at 12:30 p.m., Ski and Snowboard Big Air at 2 p.m. and the Trash Bag Downhill Race at 4 p.m. On Sunday, events pick back up at 11 a.m. with the High Ollie Contest followed by the always-fun Pond Skim and Costume Contest at 1 p.m. and finally the Chinese Downhill at 4 p.m. to cap off the season. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga Commissioners Approve Highway 105 Superstreet Project Changes


    March 20, 2019 At Tuesday’s meeting of the Watauga County Commissioners, the commissioners in attendance unanimously approved a resolution to support the most recent changes of the Highway 105 Superstreet project that were presented on Thursday by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Chairman John Welch, Billy Kennedy, Charlie Wallin and Perry Yates voted to support the project changes. Commissioner Larry Turnbow did not attend the meeting due to feeling a bit under the weather according to Welch. The commissioners that spoke about the road project seemed to be in agreement that something needed to be done to improve the traffic flow and safety of Highway 105. “At the hearing, they (NCDOT) did mention that time is of the essence and we’ve already lost six months with the redesign on this and if we don’t support it, that project will be all the way down at the bottom of the list again, which I’m not going to see it in my lifetime,” said Kennedy. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Dollar Days Begin April 1 at Grandfather Mountain


    March 20, 2019 Grandfather Mountain will open its gates to High Country residents, employees and their guests for only $3 each throughout April, as the park’s “Dollar Days” promotion returns in time for spring. Discounted admission aside, April offers mountains of activities on Grandfather, including the return of animal encounters, the seasonal reopening of the Fudge Shop, discounts on behind-the-scenes habitat tours and more naturalist programs. “We’re always excited for Dollar Days, as the mountain seems to spring to life with warm weather, friendly faces and new activities,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature park. The Dollar Days promotion allows anyone who lives or works in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga or Wilkes counties — along with their guests traveling in the same vehicle — to visit at the discounted rate. Students attending a local college or university are also eligible for the discount. / Read more…



  • Turchin Center Hosts Spring Exhibition Celebration During Festive First Friday


    March 20, 2019 The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University invites the community to a Spring Exhibition Celebration on Friday, April 5, 6-10 p.m. Held in conjunction with the downtown Boone Art Crawl, the public is invited to engage, discover and connect through the arts at the Turchin Center, where the festivities will include costumed dancers and live music in the Main Gallery, refreshments, and a cash bar. During this event, the Turchin Center will celebrate four exhibitions and many of the artists will be on-hand to meet visitors and provide insight into their intriguing work. This event is free and open to the public. / Read more…



  • Sixth Annual Joy Prom Scheduled for April 13 at Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone


    March 20, 2019 Prom night is always a time to remember, but few events capture the magic like that of Joy Prom, now in its sixth year in the High Country. Scheduled for Saturday, April 13 from 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at Alliance Bible Fellowship in Boone, Joy Prom is a unique party for a very special population. It is equivalent, on a local level, to a Hollywood event — complete with glamour and glitter, valet parking, the red carpet, flowing gowns, food, flowers, music, dancing, flashing cameras — and more. Special guests — teens and adults with developmental or physical disabilities — are made to feel like shining stars, treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, with a large group of volunteers coming along beside them to make sure it truly is a memorable, stress-free occasion. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Another Reason to Eat Chocolate!


    March 20, 2019. As if we need a reason to eat chocolate, we are in the midst of National Chocolate Week, always the third week in March. It’s not like millions of dollars weren’t spent recently on chocolate hearts and kisses for Valentine’s Day — or that chocolate Easter bunnies will not have their day in the very near future. But, who’s complaining? Yes, we need one special week devoted to chocolate. Let’s not waste another minute. / 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



  • Wednesday Marks the First Day of Spring and the Final Supermoon of 2019


    March 19, 2019 March 20 is a big day on the calendar for those looking forward to warmer weather, and those that look up to the sky at night. Wednesday is the first day of spring and will be the third and final supermoon of 2019. There was a supermoon in both January and February as well, but this one coming up tomorrow will be the final one of 2019. The next supermoon will not occur until February of 2020. Spring will officially arrive at 5:58 p.m. Wednesday evening. The full moon happens at 9:43 p.m. The supermoon gets its name because it is a full moon that also happens to be right around its nearest distance from Earth. That gives the moon the appearance of looking larger and having a brighter color at night. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Boone Police Forum Happening During Tonight’s Town Council Meeting


    March 19, 2019 The Boone Police Department will be holding a special presentation during the town council meeting on Tuesday night at the Boone Town Council Chambers, located at 1500 Blowing Rock Road. The forum will be from 6-8 p.m. and will give residents a chance to hear about information on numerous topics, including ways to be environmentally friendly, enforcement of drug laws, asset forfeiture and community policing. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Business Owners and Town Council Members Weigh In on Highway 105 Superstreet Debate


    March 19, 2019 The superstreet proposal for Highway 105 in Boone has been a popular item of discussion around the High Country since the original draft was revealed in September of 2018. Last Thursday, North Carolina Department of Transportation officials along with county and town staff and elected officials met to discuss potential changes to the original draft. Some of the changes included additional U-turn bulbs and keeping a left turn lane at the intersection of N.C. Highway 105 and the 105 Bypass so drivers do not have to turn right and then make a U-turn to go back towards Boone. One of the biggest changes was keeping Casa Rustica in its current location. The previous draft would have forced the restaurant out of the spot it has called home for decades. “It meant a lot to myself, my family and my staff to know that people cared enough to write letters and do the things they did to help us,” said Rick Pedroni, the owner of Casa Rustica. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Town Hall Will Explore Increasing Access to Health Insurance Coverage in North Carolina and the Impact of Expanding Medicaid

    March 19, 2019 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 6:00-7:30pm in the auditorium at Watauga Medical Center to discuss the impact of closing the coverage gap in North Carolina. The event will be moderated by David Jackson, President of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce (www.boonechamber.com) and will feature Erica Palmer Smith from Care4Carolina (care4carolina.com). Care4Carolina is an organization that seeks to strengthen the economic and social wellbeing of our state by increasing access to affordable, quality healthcare for all North Carolinians. Ms. Palmer Smith will highlight who is currently eligible for Medicaid in our community, who might be served by Medicaid expansion and the economic impact of such an expansion. She will also discuss current legislation that seeks to close the coverage gap. / Read more…



  • Movie Review: ‘Wonder Park’ Many Loose Ends and Unfunny Jokes

    wonder-1
    Mar. 19, 2019   “Wonder Park” seems like it was conceived as a writing exercise: come up with the most agreeable premise in the world and then screw it up. This is a movie that dares you – dares you – to dislike it. Go ahead and dislike an animated film largely set in a giant amusement park of the main character’s creation where all the rides are fun and unique. Go ahead and get mad at the supporting cast of cute furry mascots. Go ahead and get mad at the film’s promotion of creativity and its message to cherish the best parts of a relationship with someone who may be gone. All of these elements should make for an excellent family adventure, or at least a passable diversion for the kids. Instead we get a film that squanders one opportunity after another to do so much as entertain. By Bob Garver. / Read more…



  • Local Teen Produces Award-Winning Feature-Length Film “Doofuses,” Screening Is March 24


    March 18, 2019 An award-winning film shot locally by a Watauga County teen will be available for public viewing this coming week. the screening will be held at Hardin Park School on Saturday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. “Doofuses,” a comedy that would appeal to fans of “Napoleon Dynamite” and ‘Hot Rod,” won the Youth Category in the 2018 Boone Film Festival. The story follows two brothers as they try to throw their wheelchair-using friend the best birthday party ever while dealing with the  crushing weight of grief. Elec McCready, now 18, wrote the screenplay when he was 16 and produced and directed it when he was 17. / Read more…



  • Daniel Boone Rail Jam a Huge Success with Over 3,000 People Attending the Saturday Event


    March 18, 2019 Some of the best skiers and snowboarders the High Country has to offer made an appearance at the Daniel Boone Rail Jam on Saturday with over 3,000 fans in attendance. Snow piled up at the Daniel Boone Amphitheater as riders prepared for Saturday evening’s event. Combining the rail jam with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade made Boone the happening place to be this past weekend. “I think the rail jam just continues to increase in participation and they keep taking it to the next level every year,” said Pilar Fotta, the Town of Boone’s Director of Cultural Resources. “This year being the fifth year, I think we had an outstanding rail jam. I can’t say enough positive things about what that event is doing for that venue, what it’s doing for our area and what it is doing for us as a complete event destination.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • With 60 Floats and Over 4,000 Spectators, Boone’s St. Patrick’s Parade a Huge Success on Saturday


    March 18, 2019 In just its second year of existence, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boone continues to grow in popularity with over 4,000 spectators lining the streets to see one of the 60 floats go through downtown. Pilar Fotta, the director of cultural resources for the Town of Boone said that everything she has heard so far about the parade has been all good news. “I have heard people say how wonderful and creative the floats were and how talented the dancers and the people playing music on the floats were,” she said. “I have heard how festive the whole town felt and heard from a couple businesses that it was just an extremely busy day for them. All around, I’ve heard nothing but positive feedback.” Floats during the parade were judged by a panel of four judges that included Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz, Appalachian State University Chancellor Sheri Everts, Appalachian State football head coach Eli Drinkwitz and U.S. Olympic snowboarder Louie Vito. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



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