May 19, 2021. With the end of a very interesting and unusual 2020-21 school year just a few days away, it is a concern of many parents and grandparents how to keep the kids well fed during the summer months. We can’t say enough about the way our local school systems have provided nutritious meals and snacks for our children in the last year, and wish to publicly thank each and every one involved for the extra service that has been provided. Statistics indicate that more than 30 million children in the country today rely on free or reduced-price meals at school, with more than 900,000 North Carolina students, alone, relying on the nutritious meals and snacks served during the school year. But, as we know, hunger doesn’t take a summer break, especially since the COVID pandemic. Thanks to the No Kid Hungry program, our school children have been able to eat well year-round, a much-appreciated and needed service that will continue in some form in most school districts in our area. By Sherrie Norris
May 18, 2021 Movie fanatics should get their tickets, popcorn, candy and drinks ready because Regal Boone Cinema is scheduled to open May 21, with films scheduled to premiere starting May 27. This reopening comes after all 536 Regal movie theatre locations, which house 7,076 screens across 42 states, shut down on Oct. 8, 2020. The movie theatre chain Regal tweeted a statement on Oct. 5, 2020 announcing the closure, saying: “In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures, Regal will suspend operations at all theatres at close of business on Thursday, October 8, 2020 until further notice.” By Harley Nefe
May 18, 2021 Appalachian State University’s black and gold pride was on full display during its Spring 2021 Commencement. For the first time since December 2019, App State held an in-person commencement, hosting 13 in-person ceremonies May 7–12. As part of the commencement celebrations, Chancellor Sheri Everts conferred degrees in person and through a prerecorded virtual conferral to more than 3,600 Mountaineer graduates, including 3,209 undergraduate and 480 graduate students. Recordings of the ceremonies, as well as the virtual degree conferral, are available on App State’s commencement website. By Jessica Stump
May 18, 2021 Blowing Rock’s Art in the Park offers open-air gallery experiences for art-lovers, collectors, and craft enthusiasts each year. The six-show series, which is presented once a month from May through October, sets up downtown on Park Avenue. The show is adjacent to Main Street and central shops and restaurants in Blowing Rock, creating an enjoyable stroll-and-shop experience that always features fresh art. “Artists spent a lot of time this past year in the studio creating, and I am really excited to see their new work,” said Suzy Barker, Art in the Park Director. “We had a lot of new applicants this year, too.” Some show favorites will be returning for 2021 as well, like painter Marcus Thomas and woodworker Andy Costine.
May 17, 2021 Live main stage theatre and children’s shows will return this summer for Ensemble Stage, a professional theatre located in Banner Elk. Production dates are set for June through October. The 2021 Summer Season Subscriptions will be on sale beginning May 18 for 2019 and 2020 season subscribers. First time season ticket subscribers can make their purchases starting May 24. Season subscriptions are $69 for adults and $63 for senior or military citizens. Individuals who would like to buy single show tickets instead of a season subscription will be able to purchase tickets beginning June 8.
May 12, 2021 As Watauga County and the High Country continue to grieve in the wake of the events of April 28, the community has been displaying blue ribbons and shining blue lights in observance of Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox. Here are a couple photos from Tuesday night showing the welcome to Boone sign and the Watauga County Administration Building.
May 11, 2021 The Watauga Community Recreation Center has been seeing so many smiling faces in the pool, people enjoying the fitness area, playing pickleball and so much more. There has been a tremendous response and support from the community since its opening day on April 26. It’s not too late to get involved and join in on the excitement by attending various fitness classes. In addition, the Watauga County Parks & Recreation staff are still offering tours of the facility for folks to see if it’s the right place for them.
May 10, 2021 FORUM at Lees-McRae College began in 1979 by a small group of summer residents for the purpose of bringing a stimulating series of cultural programs to the area, and it has been providing musical entertainment to community members of the High Country ever since. After the difficult year with COVID-19, staff are now happy to announce that FORUM at Lees-McRae is returning for its 42nd season during summer 2021 at the Broyhill Theatre in Hayes Auditorium on the Lees-McRae campus. The season will kick off on Monday, June 14.
May 7, 2021 Even though the sidewalks of Rivers Street were filled with people Thursday afternoon, it was complete silence while everyone waited for the funeral procession of Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox to arrive. Eventually, the distant sounds of horses trotting and movements of uniformed officers from across the region could be heard in the very solemn atmosphere. Thousands of community members gathered together at Appalachian State University’s Holmes Convocation Center in the afternoon of May 6 in observance of the memorial service for both Sgt. Ward and Deputy Fox. By Harley Nefe
May 7, 2021 The old saying is if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change. Well, surprise! Snow fanatics got to see another round of snow showers on Beech Mountain this morning as a weather system is moving through the area Friday. Most of the High Country is seeing a cold rain except at higher elevations where snowflakes are falling, creating a light dusting on the ground. The sun should make an appearance later this afternoon as precipitation moves out of the area. Low temperatures this morning even in areas around Boone were in the 30s, making the temperatures perfect for some snow in places like Beech Mountain. It’s not too uncommon for higher elevations to see some snow in the month of May, as previous years have also seen light accumulations during this time. By Harley Nefe
May 6, 2021 Community members are coming together today to attend the funeral services for Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox at Appalachian State University’s Holmes Convocation Center at 111 Rivers Street. Doors opened for public seating at 1 p.m. and the services are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Prior to the start of the services, folks have been lining Rivers Street waiting for the procession to arrive. In addition, many uniformed officers from across the region have been entering the Holmes Convocation Center. By Harley Nefe
May 5, 2021 The past week has no doubt been a difficult one for the High Country, as community members are mourning the loss of neighbors, coworkers, friends and family. On April 28, Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox responded to a welfare check and died in the line of duty. The individual suspected of killing the two officers, Isaac Barnes, is also suspected of killing Michelle and George Ligon. Barnes, who is the son and stepson of the deceased civilians, also died at the scene. As the High Country continues to grieve over the tragic event that resulted in five deaths, there has been an outpouring of support from community members to get through the hard time. By Harley Nefe
May 5, 2021 The funeral services of Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox will take place at Appalachian State University’s Holmes Convocation Center on Thursday, May 6 at 3 p.m. with the doors opening to the public at 1 p.m. Both Sgt. Ward and K-9 Deputy Fox died in the line of duty after responding to a welfare check in Boone on April 28. As community members are mourning the loss of neighbors, coworkers, friends and family, many local businesses and offices have announced closures and early dismissals on Thursday, May 6, in observance of the memorial services so that citizens may attend the event for the fallen officers. By Harley Nefe
May 4, 2021 Quiet Givers is organizing a fundraiser for the family of George and Michelle Ligon, who passed away in the tragic shootings on April 28. “George and Michelle were longtime supporters of our organization,” said Executive Director Matthew Lucas, “and this is our way of giving back to them by supporting their family during this difficult time.” All funds raised during this fundraiser will be given to their family to help cover funeral costs, time off from work, and other unexpected expenses they may encounter. “She was a quiet, fierce, brilliant soul that gave so much more to this community than anyone really realizes.” Said Quiet Givers treasurer, Amber Robinson. “She was so graciously helpful.” While Quiet Givers fundraisers are usually anonymous, the organization felt that the magnitude of this tragedy warranted a unique approach to help the families of the victims. As always, donors’ names will remain confidential.
May 4, 2021 Appalachian State University will recognize more than 3,600 Mountaineer graduates during its Spring 2021 Commencement, presenting virtual and in-person commencement options to allow for the greatest possible participation and maximize health and safety of all participants. A series of in-person commencement ceremonies will be held in the George M. Holmes Convocation Center on App State’s campus at the following dates/times: May 7, 8, 10 and 11 at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.; May 12 at 1 p.m.
May 3, 2021 The funeral services for Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox will be conducted this Thursday, May 6 at 3 p.m. at Appalachian State University’s Holmes Convocation Center, according to Austin & Barnes Funeral Home & Crematory. Doors will open for public seating at 1 p.m. and those attending should wear a mask. Guest register books will be available at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and Boone Police Department. Sgt. Chris Ward, 36, an eight-year veteran in the field of law enforcement, began his career at the Beech Mountain Police Department in 2013 before joining the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, where he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He is survived by his wife and two children. Deputy Logan Fox, 25, a two-year veteran of the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, was a K-9 officer who handled Watauga County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Raven.” Prior to joining the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, he was a full-time deputy with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office. By Harley Nefe
April 30, 2021 A procession escorting Sgt. Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox, who were killed in the line of duty on April 28, will be taking place this afternoon. The procession will be leaving Winston-Salem around 1 p.m. and will be coming up Hwy. 421 back into Boone between 2 and 3 p.m. The route follows from Hwy. 421 into downtown Boone, turning right onto Water Street and going to Queen Street to the Austin & Barnes Funeral Home. There is expected to be between 100 and 200 cars as part of the procession escorting the deputies back to town that will include marked and unmarked units. By Harley Nefe
April 29, 2021 At an elevation of 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain is Eastern America’s highest incorporated town. It has 350 full-time residents, but the population swells to as high as 10,000 during the winter and 5,000 in the summer. People flock to Beech Mountain in the winter to ski at Beech Mountain Resort and in the summer to take advantage of the mild climate and numerous recreational opportunities. However, this year, the people of Beech Mountain are doing something more. They are celebrating because the town has reached 40 years as a municipality. By growing from a private resort destination in the 1960s to the town Beech Mountain is today, a lot has been happening in its many years of history, especially when looking at its 40 years as a municipality. In May of 1981, the Town of Beech Mountain was incorporated by act of the North Carolina General Assembly. By Harley Nefe
April 29, 2021. A look at the recent deed transfers in Watauga County. The information comes courtesy of the Watauga County Register of Deeds.
Compiled by Harley Nefe
April 29, 2021 A standoff between law enforcement and an individual at 553 Hardaman Circle in Boone, North Carolina ended shortly before 11pm on April 28. On April 28 at 9:44am, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a welfare check at the home when the homeowner’s employer called to report the homeowner did not report to work or respond to telephone calls. Deputies entered the residence after discovering all vehicles belonging to the residents were on the property. Upon entering the home, two Watauga County Sheriff’s deputies received gunshot wounds from an unknown individual within the residence. K-9 Deputy Logan Fox died at the scene. Sgt. Chris Ward died after being flown to Johnson City Medical Center for treatment.
April 28, 2021 Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is excited to announce that the King Street Market will be back on Tuesday, May 4! Come on out from 4-7 p.m. for music, kids’ activities, community organizations, vendors and friends! This year, the King Street Market is back and better than ever with more vendors and products, while still offering a spacious and sanitary shopping experience for customers. “If you’ve never been to the King Street Market, this year is the year to go! It’s a very spacious and relaxing afternoon market that offers a wide variety of local groceries and is filled with upbeat music, kid’s activities, and special events. This year in particular, we are happy to host 26 vendors that are selling products that will satisfy all of your craft and veggie needs. It’s a really lovely place to be and I hope folks come out to visit.” stated Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s Farmers’ Market Manager Ellie Mullis.
April 28, 2021 The Opening Day of the 2021 season for the Watauga County Farmers’ Market is Saturday, May 1 from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. at Daniel Boone Park, Horn in the West parking lot in Boone. Watauga County Farmers Market has been “Boone’s Town Square” since 1974 and provides the community with the unique opportunity to source local foods and artisan goods directly from the growers and makers who produce them. This season, the market welcomes a number of new vendors that will bring many exciting additions to market, including; mushrooms, pasta, hemp, popsicles, fermented foods, artisan snacks, unique crafts and much more!
April 27, 2021 Local High Country resident Kimberley Jochl released her latest book, “Hardly Easy,” to the public earlier this year on Jan. 12, and since then, she has been receiving rave reviews for her work. “Hardly Easy” is the third book Jochl has written, with the inspiration drawing from her real life experiences. She is a current resident of Sugar Mountain and is the vice president at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort. From the age of 16 to 23, Jochl was a member of the United States Alpine Ski Team, and she also earned her own pilot’s license in 2013. Jochl’s journey in becoming an author started when she decided to take flying lessons, and many of her memories helped shape the events in her latest book. By Harley Nefe
April 26, 2021 A unique feature of humanity is the desire and ability to create and appreciate art. Over the centuries many stylistic movements have risen and fallen. Today, contemporary art allows all styles to create their own space in galleries and museums around the world. The Art Cellar Gallery is fortunate to represent many artists with styles spanning from photo realism to abstraction. One prominent style that is widely practiced and celebrated in contemporary art is impressionism. Impressionism originated in the late 1800s and is categorized by rapid thick brush strokes, which enable the artist to capture light, movement and color like they never could with other traditional styles. The style gained popularity with French artists like Monet, Degas, Renoir and Cezanne. Later, its influence captured the attention of artists and collectors internationally and remains highly sought after.
April 26, 2021 Appalachian State University’s annual summer arts attraction, An Appalachian Summer Festival (AASF), proudly celebrates its 37th season from July 2-31, 2021. This monthlong whirlwind of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film programming has emerged as one of the nation’s leading regional arts festivals. After last summer’s transition to all-virtual programming, the festival is pleased to return to a full schedule of events featuring a variety of in-person outdoor and indoor performances, along with additional livestreaming and virtual options. Tickets for festival events will be available online and at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office beginning Monday, May 10 at 9am. For more information, visit www.appsummer.org or call the box office at 828-262-4046.