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Movie Review: “If” Now Playing at Boone Regal

May 20, 2024 My biggest complaint about writer/director/star John Krasinski’s new movie “IF”… is that it’s a movie. What I mean is that Krasinski clearly has some broad ideas for worldbuilding and there are many interesting characters in the mix, but the movie has to rush so much to stay within the “movie” format of a two-hour runtime that the whole thing is kind of a mess. The story follows 12-year-old Bea (Cailey Fleming) as she stays with her grandmother (Fiona Shaw, charmingly reminding me of my own grandmother) while her widower father (Krasinski) is in the hospital for heart surgery. Her family does their best to keep her in good spirits, but Bea can only bring herself to split her time between being bored and worrying that she’ll lose another loved one.

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Carlton Gallery Hosts its 42nd Spring Group Exhibition – “Alchemy of Abstraction – Harmony Unveiled” with Opening Reception on May 25

May 20, 2024 Carlton Gallery begins its 42nd Spring Group Exhibition – “Alchemy of Abstraction – Harmony Unveiled” with an Opening Reception on Saturday, May 25 from 2 to 5. This reception affords the opportunity to meet some of the gallery artists in attendance. Mark your calendars for an afternoon of great art and good conversation, while enjoying light hors d’oeuvres. Gallery owner, Toni Carlton, extends an invitation to everyone to visit during this awe-inspiring 42nd Spring Group Exhibition which runs through July 15th. 

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“Best of Broadway” Concert Coming to Banner Elk Presbyterian Church Sunday, June 9

May 20, 2024 Broadway comes to life in Banner Elk with a fun afternoon of beloved songs from popular musicals. The “Best of Broadway” concert fundraiser on Sunday, June 9, at 3 PM will be performed inside the historic sanctuary of Banner Elk Presbyterian Church. Admission is free, and donations will be collected for their Preschool. Familiar faces from Lees-McRae Summer Theatre and the Banner Elk Presbyterian Choir sing songs from Oklahoma, Annie Get Your Gun, Mame, Shrek, The Secret Garden, Fiddler on the Roof, Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Pippin, Little Shop of Horrors and others. The cast of extraordinary local talents include Nina Allbert, Jarrett Koski, Kristin Lutzeier, Rob Toler, Janet Speer, Laura Russell, Rob Dingman and Pat Anderson. Accompanist will be Dr. Michael Hannah.

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Wildlife Commission Adopts New Regulations for 2025- 2026 Season Regulations

May 17, 2024 RALEIGH, N.C. (May 16, 2024) – Commissioners at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) have adopted the new rules for the 2024-25 seasons effective Aug 1. The new rules, adopted during the Commission’s February business meeting and approved by the Rules Review Commission in April, include:Wildlife Poacher Reward Program – Include inland fisheries related crimes for eligibility in the Program.

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Barthel Found Guilty of Disrupting a January 16th Avery Board of Commissioners Meeting and Resisting a Public Officer

May 17, 2024. William J. Barthel, age 32, with a last known address of 1668 Emerald Mine Road in Spruce Pine, has been found guilty and sentenced in Avery County District Court for his conduct during a meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners. On May 14, Barthel was found guilty by Judge Matt Ruppfor one count each of Disruption of an Official Meeting and Resisting a Public Officer. Both are misdemeanor charges. Judge Rupp sentenced Barthel to sixty (60) days in jail, thirty days (30) on each convicted charge, with one (1) day credit for the day he already served when he was arrested before he posted bond.  Judge Rupp then suspended the sentence, which means Barthel will not be jailed for the two convictions. .  By Tim Gardner

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New River Conservancy (NRC) and the Center for Appalachian Studies (CAS) Invite You to Water Cycle on Sunday, June 2 in Creston

May 16, 2024 New River Conservancy (NRC) and the Center for Appalachian Studies (CAS) invite you to Water Cycle – a free, family-friendly event on Sunday, June 2 from 3:00 – 8:00 PM  in Creston, NC at Riverview Community Center that will showcase area artists and offer hands-on workshops for the public.  The goal of the event is to amplify the need and increase awareness of the importance of a clean and healthy watershed.   Workshops begin at 3:00 PM  and will feature water monitoring, weaving, poetry, and photography. Performances featuring live music, poetry, and film will start at 6:30  to 8:00 PM.  Performers include Trevor McKenzie and Julie Shepherd Powell, Scot Pope and Brenda Smith, and Annie Woodford. A special screening of the Trash Trout Motion Picture Show will close the show.

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LETTER: To: The Offices of the NC Governor’s Office and NC Attorney General

May 16, 2024 Letters to the Editor. By Mary Walker / Across Watauga County, more residents are voicing concerns about how health care costs have increased dramatically under UNC Health, a “not-for-profit” medical system owned by the State of North Carolina, which now manages many medical facilities in Watauga County. The cost of routine doctors office visits have significantly increased, as UNC Health now bills lab work and routine tests as “hospital services.” Residents are now being billed hundreds of dollars for appointments that used to be billed as a co-pay, as UNC Health has changed the billing practices and the codes the providers use.

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Resident Doctors to Host Second Annual Wilderness Medicine Conference in the High Country June 29th-30th

May 16, 2024 From mountains to lakes, ski slopes to waterfalls, and everything in between, the High Country has always drawn us to explore, experience, and to be immersed in the beauty of nature. Our rolling mountains welcome people from far and wide and provide endless opportunities for adventure. Unfortunately, more opportunities for adventure can translate to higher incidences of injuries, illnesses, and traumas.
Recognizing the need in our community, our resident doctors are set to host the second annual Wilderness Medicine Conference June 29th-30th at the Valle Crucis Conference Center. The conference is open to all – including physicians, residents, PAs, NPs, nurses, students, and more

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5th Annual Vision Northwest North Carolina Takes Place Thursday, May 23: AI & Technology Solutions for Northwest NC

May 15, 2024 “The 5th annual Vision Northwest North Carolina summit will take place Thursday, May 23, 2024, at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s Watauga Campus in Boone. This year’s event is focused on AI and Technology Solutions for Northwest North Carolina. Vision Northwest North Carolina brings together thought leaders from across the region to discuss current economic development trends impacting businesses, agencies, and communities. This year’s event features expert speakers and presenters, bringing thoughtful conversation and best practices to how AI and technology can be used for good throughout the region.

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“Two Headed Diver: Lynne Hobaica & Rickie Barnett” Opens at BRAHM

May 15, 2024 “A new exhibition entitled “Two Headed Diver: Lynne Hobaica & Rickie Barnett” has opened at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM). It will be on view through November 2, 2024, in the Museum’s Schaefer Gallery. “Two Headed Diver: Lynn Hobaica and Rickie Barnett” consists of works by the individual artists as well as pieces from their collaborative project, “Two Headed Diver.”

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Beech Mountain’s Farmers’ Market OPENS June 7th;  “Watch Us Grow” is the Theme

May 15, 2024 “Watch Us Grow” is the theme for Beech Mountain’s 1st Farmers’ Market of the year on Friday, June 7th.  “We’ve grown to 36 farmers, artists and local craft vendors, all sharing a wide assortment of homegrown and handmade products…there really is something for everyone at the market.”  remarked Sandy Carr, Volunteer Market Manager. Markets will be held on the first Friday of the month, June – October, from 2 – 6pm in the public parking lot across from Fred’s General Mercantile.  At the June Market, the 1st 100 attendees will receive free white pine seedlings to plant courtesy of the Buckeye Recreation Center and a free market shopping bag.  June’s Special Guest is the High Country Hottest Blogger Jen Gemberling with over 19k followers @ncmountaintraveler.  She will be sharing her social media and local knowledge at the Town’s Community News Tent from 2 – 4pm.

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Blowing Rock School to Host New Annual Event “Rocket Run” at Davant Field May 24


May 14, 2024 Blowing Rock School is set to host a new annual event with its first-ever Rocket Run on May 24, 2024 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Davant Field. As a start to the summer, the fun-run style event will include a bubble run, food trucks, music, games, bounce houses, a photo booth and more. The event is free and open to the public, with proceeds benefiting a newly endowed Playground Maintenance Fund. When the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization was reestablished following the pandemic, it came to the board’s attention that the school playground – widely enjoyed by residents and visitors alike – had no plan for ongoing maintenance. The needs are vast and costly, from the turf surface to the beams and ropes that make up the play space so many children and families enjoy year-round.

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Watauga County Republican Women’s Club Next Monthly Meeting is Wednesday May 29

May 14, 2024 The Watauga County Republican Women’s Club (WCRWC) will have its next monthly meeting on Wednesday May 29 at The Dan’l Boone Inn, 130 Hardin Street, Boone, NC. Lunch at 11:30 AM for $14.00, with meeting to follow. All interested in furthering the Republican cause in The High Country are welcome to attend and are invited to join. Call 828-832-6864 for more information. The WCRWC usually meets the last Wednesday of each month. See us on Facebook and learn more.

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Representative Virginia Foxx Introduces the Grant Integrity and Border Security Act


May 11, 2024 On Monday, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 8334, the Grant Integrity and Border Security Act, legislation that would require all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that apply for a federal grant to certify, as part of their application, that they have not, will not, and are not engaging in acts related to the smuggling and transportation of illegal aliens into the United States – and that they are not engaging in a conspiracy to take any of these actions. “Border security remains one of the most pressing issues of our time – the circumstances in which the nation finds itself warrant immediate, targeted solutions. The Grant Integrity and Border Security Act is one such solution that I am placing squarely upon the table,” said Representative Foxx. “There are already documented incidents in which NGOs have allocated funds to accelerate the entry of illegal aliens into our country, all the while corrupting public trust and thumbing their noses at the rule of law.

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NFIB’s APRIL SURVEY: Inflation Continues to Hinder Small Business Operations

May 14, 2024 NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rose by 1.2 points in April to 89.7, marking the first increase of this year but the 28th consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98. Twenty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in their business, down three points from March but still the number one problem for small business owners. “Cost pressures remain the top issue for small business owners, including historically high levels of owners raising compensation to keep and attract employees,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB Chief Economist. “Overall, small business owners remain historically very pessimistic as they continue to navigate these challenges.

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Spruce Pine Alien Festival Prepares for a RETURNAlien Invasion of Massive Proportions on June 8th with Experts & Researchers

May 14, 2024 The Small Town of Spruce Pine North Carolina prepares for a RETURNAlien Invasion of massive proportions! On June 8th the town of Spruce Pine awaits the visitation of 10’s of thousands of show guests and Alien Interstellar visitors to the downtown Main Street Spruce Pine, NC on Oak Avenue.  Alien Lovers and UFO believers don’t want to miss the Spruce Pine Alien Festival and hear the latest information from the Spruce Pine Alien experts, scientist & researchers on the local area sighting, as well as, the recent shoot downs of Unidentified flying objects over Alaska, the US and Canada and recent sightings in Spruce Pine and surrounding Mountain towns and woodlands.

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Watauga County Schools Announces New Principals for Blowing Rock and Parkway

May 14, 2024 The Watauga County Board of Education has named two new principals for the district. Madison Hollar will be the principal of Blowing Rock School and Martha Trimble will be the principal of Parkway School. Hollar and Trimble will fill the vacancies which follow the retirement of Patrick Sukow at Blowing Rock School and Patty Buckner at Parkway School.

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St. Mary of the Hills Announces Summer Concert Series; Kicks Off on May 26th

May 14, 2024 St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church is pleased to announce an exciting and diverse series of Sunday afternoon summer concerts featuring local and AppState musicians every month through October. Sponsored by the Friends of Music at St. Mary’s, the season kicks off on May 26th with the genre-bending group ‘High Country Improv Collective’ – an eclectic group of musicians promising a fun performance that has been described as “a crazy, beautiful, musical experience…an afternoon of spontaneous musical exploration.”  The group includes Karen Caldwell on vocals, Jim Banks – trumpet and flugelhorn, Rob Falvo – percussion, Jim Lodin – Piano, Harold McKinney – trombone, and Cindy Tate-Gibson – accordion. Prepare to be entertained and surprised!

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MOAA Will Conduct the 16th Annual Memorial Day Commemoration at the Boone Mall May 27th

May 14, 2024 Your High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America will conduct the 16th Annual Memorial Day Commemoration at the Boone Mall. The ceremony will include participation of the Watauga Community Band offering a prelude concert commencing at 1030. At 1100, Watauga High School Marine Corps JROTC Color Guard will present the Colors. The Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem and Invocation will follow with brief remarks honoring those who have served our Nation. Deceased veterans of our military services suffered the discipline to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They dedicated their life to our country and deserve to be recognized for their patriotism and willingness to serve in war or peace

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Madeline Stewart of Blowing Rock Crowned Mrs. North Carolina American

May 13, 2024 Mrs. Blue Ridge Valley, Madeline Stewart, from Blowing Rock, NC, was crowned the 2024 Mrs. North Carolina American at the annual Mrs. North Carolina pageant held on May 5th, 2024, at the James Warren Citizens Center Theatre in Lincolnton, NC. The delegates competed in three areas of competition, including interview, swimsuit, and evening gown. This is the 5th year of the Mrs. North Carolina American pageant, the sister pageant to Mrs. North Carolina America, directed by Executive Director’s Wendy & Frederick C. Galle III.

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The Remarkable Rhododendron Ramble to Kick Off at Grandfather Mountain on May 25

May 13, 2024 Grandfather Mountain, the not-for-profit nature park run by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, is welcoming guests to celebrate the beauty of this season by partaking in our Rhododendron Rambles, a series of guided strolls that showcase the park’s blossoming rhododendron and other native species. The easygoing rambles take place at 1 p.m. daily May 25 through June 2. These short, guided strolls are led by the park’s naturalists and are included with the price of admission. If the rhododendrons continue to bloom beyond early June, Grandfather Mountain naturalists may extend the event date

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Beech Mountain Resort Announces the Return of its Annual Outdoor Concert Summer Series

May 13, 2024 North Carolina’s Beech Mountain Resort has announced the return of its annual outdoor concert series this summer. The series will kick off June 8 with performances by The String Cheese Incident and The Wood Brothers; followed by an extended Party on the Mountain weekend July 19-21 with NEEDTOBREATHE, Dispatch, Greensky Bluegrass, Yola, and Maggie Rose; with Sylvan Esso and Soccer Mommy rounding out the season on August 10. 

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Movement Mortgage to Host Sixth Annual High Country Top 50 Realtor Gala on May 30th

May 13, 2024 This coming May, the premier top 50 local real estate professionals in the High Country will gather to be honored for their 2023 success. This annual event was founded by The Angela McLean Team of Movement Mortgage in 2018 and has become the premier event for the Top Realtors in the High Country.  Movement Mortgage is one of the fastest growing mortgage companies in the United States.  This year’s celebration will be a magical one and an event not to be missed. This event has quickly become the Who’s Who of local real estate.  In fact, many local real estate agents often set this accomplishment as one of their annual objectives.

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