October 15, 2021. Back in July, the Avery Humane Society launched the Lucky Paws Raffle Extravaganza where people could purchase online raffle tickets for prizes donated by over 50 area businesses and individuals in the High Country. The time to purchase tickets for the raffle is almost over as people still have time to get their $100 raffle tickets by midnight on October 17. “Every prize was donated so all of the raffle ticket purchases are going to the shelter to provide, food, shelter, medical care and a lot of love and attention,” said Gwynne Dyer, the Executive Director of the Avery Humane Society. “We are so grateful to the business community that gave us all of these incredible prizes and we are amazed and thankful for the support from the public in buying tickets. Fundraisers like this are so important to the sustainability of the shelter because we don’t get any government funding. These things are vital to us.” There are 11 total grand prizes that will be given out on Thursday at 6 p.m. The event will be streamed on the Avery Humane Society’s Facebook Page. You do not have to be watching the stream to win a prize. By Nathan Ham
October 15, 2021. With vibrant fall leaf colors emerging throughout the region in addition to popular events making a reappearance this year, there are many reasons why locals and visitors alike are out and about in the High Country this weekend. Between both the Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis and the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, there is much to enjoy the next couple of days. Preparations for both events are currently underway, as volunteers are helping set up the scenes. By Harley Nefe
October 15, 2021. It’s that time of year again to be thinking about the winter season, and Ray Russell, the founder of Ray’sWeather.com, just released his Fearless Winter Forecast for the 2021-22 winter season. “The winter setup looks a lot like last year with just subtle differences in the forecast,” Russell said. “Last year’s forecast worked out great, it was at least in the top one or two forecasts that we’ve ever done.” Both this winter and last winter will be La Nina years with last year being stronger than this year according to Russell. “La Nina years mean a little less snow than average so we put the forecast less than the long-term average but more than the last 10-year average,” he said. “The thing that was missing last year is we have had a couple of years where we just haven’t had any northwest flow snow events where we get the strong northwest winds and moisture off of Lake Michigan or Lake Erie where it would snow on the mountain tops for days at a time.” By Nathan Ham
October 15, 2021. Following a week of unseasonably warm temperatures, the peak time for fall leaf colors was delayed a few days from earlier predictions, according to the latest fall color report from Appalachian State Biology Professor and “Fall Color Guy” Howard Neufeld. Higher elevations are experiencing peak colors right now; however, areas such as Boone and Blowing Rock with elevations below 3,500-4,000 feet will be peaking soon. August, I said best color in the High Country would be between Oct 10-20. Now, I think it will be closer to the 20th.” By Harley Nefe
October 15, 2021. In May 2021, Pope Francis announced the convocation of the Synod, which will run from October 2021 to October 2023. Through this process, he seeks input from the laity about their hopes and dreams for the future of the Church. In the spirit of unity, a group of Catholics of the High Country invites all Catholics to join in sharing and relaying all ideas to take part in this important movement. The synodal review process will take place in three phases: a local phase at the diocesan and parish level, a continental phase engaging bishops’ conferences around the world, and a universal phase. In this last phase, bishops and laypeople will convene in Rome to discuss the findings and topics from the first two phases.
October 15, 2021. And So I Stayed, a documentary film examining how the judicial system treats survivors of domestic violence, follows the compelling stories of three women who traded one prison for another. On Sunday, October 24 at 3:00 p.m., the Appalachian Theatre will host an exclusive online screening followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, Daniel A. Nelson and Natalie Pattillo, who will discuss their work and the filmmaking process. Kim, Tanisha, and Nikki are three survivors of domestic violence whose strikingly similar stories are separated by over 30 years. None of them were believed, and each of them was criminalized for fighting back. After suffering years of mental and physical abuse, they were incarcerated for killing their abusers based on the question asked by judges as well as society at large, “Why don’t they just leave?”
October 15, 2021. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) will be hosting Asian- American comedian Henry Cho for an evening of stand-up comedy and laughter on Saturday, October 23. This Appalachian-native has been a regular entertainer onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, and will make his ATHC debut in Boone as part of his southeast tour. His distinctive style of “edgy, but clean” humor delights audience members of all ages. Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, a mecca of Appalachian culture, this region holds a special place for Cho. Kickstarting his career at a Monday night competition at a Knoxville comedy club, Cho has received an overwhelmingly positive reception of his unique brand of humor. Three decades later, this performer has made his mark in the world of comedy. By Laura Voytko
October 14, 2021. Legislation that would produce new controls upon the nonprofit body governing North Carolina high school sports has been agreed to in principle, state officials have said. However, some uncertainty remains, as all the details haven’t been ironed out. North Carolina House and Senate GOP members who have scrutinized the North Carolina High School Athletic Association want changes made to address what they deem is the group’s oversized control over member schools, eligibility decisions and monetary penalties. They have also highlighted the flush coffers of the association, which was founded in 1913. The GOP lawmakers from both chambers said both Republican and Democrat legislators met with representatives of Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, the State Board of Education and NCHSAA officials “to discuss the best pathway forward” on legislation. By Tim Gardner
October 14, 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
October 14, 2021. Get ready to make plans to visit Appalachian Ski Mtn. to take advantage of the huge savings on all the winter necessities during their 24th annual Preseason Sale that starts October 15. Located at the Alpine Ski Shop in the downstairs lobby at the base lodge, the Preseason Sale will be taking place October 15 through October 24. During the 10 days, customers have a chance to visit and find some great deals on all the items they will need on the ski slopes in the upcoming months. Guests can find everything from skis and snowboards to helmets, accessories and children’s clothing, all discounted up to 70% off. By Harley Nefe
October 14, 2021. Fall color is reflected in the lake at Camp Yonahnoka near Linville, N.C., as Grandfather Mountain rises in the distance. Colors are continuing to progress at a steady rate, and with a dip in temperature this weekend and into early next week, experts anticipate that peak color is just around the corner in the WNC High Country. For more fall color photos, visit www.grandfather.com/fallcolor. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
October 14, 2021. The 365 Strong World Powerlifting Federation’s World Games are set to begin on Friday, and Avery County resident Blake Stanley is hoping to become the county’s first world champion in any sport. Stanley has been averaging three hours a day lifting and doing active recovery work preparing to become a world champion weightlifter and the High Country’s third World Champion (Bob Matheson won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins in 1972 and 1973 and Benny Parsons won the 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship). The event is set to take place from Friday, October 15 through Sunday, October 17 and is slated to feature representatives from about 13 countries. The event takes place at Muzz’s Gym, located at 201 NC Highway 268, Elkin Hwy Suite J in North Wilkesboro and will begin on Friday at 6:15 p.m. with an opening ceremony and an athlete meet and greet. Lifting will take place on Saturday and Sunday as some of the best lifters from all over the world compete for a world title. Stanley will lift on day two starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets will be $10 per person and the entire community is strongly encouraged to attend the historic event!
October 14, 2021. The Watauga County Board of Education paid tribute to the work of school principals during its October meeting in honor of National Principals Month. Principals from each school were invited to the meeting to be recognized. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott and the board thanked principals for their multifaceted and challenging work that, Elliott said, had become even more vital over the course of the pandemic. “Principals are among the hardest working, yet often least recognized individuals in education,” Elliott said. “Principals set the academic tone for their schools, and it is their vision, dedication, and determination that provide the mobilizing force for achieving student success. Each October, we seek to honor these unsung heroes for their tireless efforts in pursuit of excellence in education.” Elliott said one of a principal’s most-important roles in a school was as an educational leader.
October 14, 2021. As a popular fall crop, cabbage is one of the most versatile vegetables to come out of the ground about this time every year. Thanks to good friends, we’ve already enjoyed a few nice, crisp heads. We’ve put it in soup, baked, fried and boiled it, shred it for coleslaw and now, we are anticipating the joy of sharing (and eating!) sauerkraut off the pantry shelf this winter. As I’ve said before, I remember as a child growing up in Avery County, seeing the awesome cabbage fields that grew there. It seemed that each mountainside was covered in cabbage in the fall, creating a breathtaking scene from the roadside. A cousin to Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and kale, several varieties of cabbage grow in this country, with green cabbage a common link to the North Carolina mountains. There’s so many ways to enjoy cabbage. I hope these recipes will become some of your favorites. By Sherrie Norris
October 14, 2021. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland.
October 14, 2021. Recent Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Award winner Richard Campbell joins non-profit business professional Caroline Poteat as two of twenty-one individuals honored across the State as Business North Carolina Magazine’s 2021 Trailblazers. Campbell serves as Operations Manager and Director of Marketing for Boone Rent-All & Parties Too while Poteat is Director of Development for Blue Ridge Conservancy. The official announcement from Business North Carolina says the annual feature recognizes thriving business owners and professionals under the age of 40 who work in North Carolina cities and towns that have fewer than 100,000 residents. They received nominations for talented professionals from Winterville near the coast to Sylva in the mountains. This year’s roster reflects a variety of occupations including a farmer, banker, police officer and a couple operating an ice cream shop. Several economic-development officials are also profiled. Their efforts breathe life into communities in great need of promoters and champions.
October 13, 2021. At Tuesday’s meeting of the Blowing Rock Town Council, a petition with 298 signatures was presented to the council about concerns over speeding and noise on Valley Boulevard/Highway 321 traveling through Blowing Rock. Lorry Mulhern, general manager of the Green Park Inn, spoke during public comment and presented the petition to the town council. “This petition at its core is a compilation of suggested action that individuals have been offering to town government for years,” Mulhern said. “The residents, taxpayers and business owners who have signed this petition have united behind it in the hope that some additional, different actions might be taken in order to address this matter and we hope that the Blowing Rock town government will unite with us in this cause. Many stand ready to assist in any possible way, just ask.” Blowing Rock Police Chief Aaron Miller was there to answer questions and shared a brief overview with council members and citizens in attendance about what the police department is doing in terms of traffic enforcement. Right now, the department has 13 full-time officers, 10 of which are assigned to traffic patrol and seven of those are certified to operate a radar. By Nathan Ham
October 13, 2021. The Avery County Board of Education voted unanimously (5-0) Tuesday night in favor of optional wearing of masks or other facial coverings for all students, teachers and staff in the county’s public-school buildings. As a result of the Board’s vote, parents of students in the Avery School System have the right to decide whether or not their children wear a mask or another facial covering when inside those facilities. However, mask wearing will continue to be required on all regular school and activity buses. Additionally, all visitors to the county’s schools can enter the schools by phone appointment only. Visitors will be screened upon entry and will be required to wear a mask. At indoor school events such as athletic games, school officials ask that non-vaccinated spectators wear a mask, but this will be on the honor system. There currently no such recommendation or mandate by Avery County Schools for outside athletic contests such as football games. By Tim Gardner
October 13, 2021. Pictured during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Oct. 13, this picnic spot on Grandfather Mountain, located just before Split Rock and Sphinx Rock, offers spectacular views of fall color, accompanied by the mountains and valleys below. Fall color is presently bursting on Grandfather, and the color change is steadily making its way into the lower elevations, with birches, maples and sourwoods stealing the show. Experts anticipate peak color around Oct. 20 for the WNC High Country. For more fall color photos, visit www.grandfather.com/fallcolor. Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
October 13, 2021. Early voting for Watauga County’s municipal elections in Boone, Blowing Rock, Seven Devils and Beech Mountain begins on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. More than 460 cities and towns across North Carolina are conducting elections in November to choose local leaders, such as mayors and councilmembers. During the early voting period, any registered voter may vote at any early voting site in their municipality before Election Day. Individuals may also register and vote at the same time using same-day registration. To take advantage of same-day registration, voters must attest to their eligibility by signing a voter registration application and providing proof of residence. During the early voting period, registered voters may update their name or address, but may not change their party affiliation. Voters may also vote on Election Day, November 2, at their assigned precinct or cast an absentee-by-mail ballot, if their municipality offers absentee-by-mail voting. The deadline to request a ballot is October 26.
October 13, 2021. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce held its 72nd Annual Membership Meeting Tuesday Night at Valle Crucis Community Park. The event was presented by First Horizon Bank with additional sponsorship support from Peak Insurance Group, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, and Spangler Restoration. North Carolina Secretary of Commerce Machelle Baker Sanders delivered the keynote address for the event, sharing a message about the economic resiliency of rural communities throughout North Carolina to an audience of over 300 members and guests of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. Secretary Sanders also discussed First In Talent, the Strategic Economic Development plan for the State of North Carolina, which provides recommendations and reference points for policy makers and economic developers across the state.
October 13, 2021. With the 44th annual Woolly Worm Festival taking place this upcoming weekend on Oct. 16-17 in Banner Elk, it means the search is on for locating woolly worms. The Avery County Chamber of Commerce, which co-sponsors the event along with the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk, is currently collecting as many woolly worms as possible in preparation for the event, and they are paying $1 per critter. “As long as they are alive and wiggly, we’ll take them,” said Anne Winkelman, Executive Director of the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve already been seeing a few.” By Harley Nefe
October 13, 2021. Quarterback Levi Lewis threw for one touchdown and ran for another and Chris Smith added two rushing scores as homestanding Louisiana-Lafayette rolled past Appalachian State 41-13 in a Sun Belt Conference clash Tuesday night before 20,066 at Cajun Field and a national ESPN2 television audience. Appalachian State (4-2, 1-1 Sun Belt) of the conference’s Eastern Division struggled both offensively and defensively. Louisiana-Lafayette had six plays that went for 25-plus yards, and two were touchdowns. The Western Division’s Ragin’ Cajuns had more than 200 yards both passing (209) and running the ball (246). By Tim Gardner
October 12, 2021. The Valle Country Fair is back after a “virtual” fair last year due to COVID-19 and will feature around 150 craft exhibitors for the 43rd year of the event. Each year, the fair takes place on the third Saturday of October on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center off of Highway 194. As always, admission to the event is free and parking is $10 per vehicle. Locals and tourists alike gather in Valle Crucis each fall for the fair, and after a year off from the traditional event, people are ready to get back out to one of the most popular fall events in Watauga County. “The fair is so much about community and community celebration. Being together is a really important part of that experience. You don’t get that full sensation of community without connecting with other human beings,” said Catherine Morton, who helps organize the event each year. By Nathan Ham
October 12, 2021. Realtors® in the High Country are certainly working hard for both buyers and sellers in the area, however the low levels of housing inventory compared to the high number of interested Buyers, is proving to be a tricky juggling act that Realtors® are contending with currently. The High Country MLS recorded 504 residential properties and 2,297 land listings at the first of September. October began with a few more homes on the market, showing 517 listed as of October 7th. MLS records for this year show the housing supply levels fluctuating from a low of 350, recorded in April, to a high of 576 recorded in August, although most months we see around 500 properties available. Last September we did see more homes in the MLS, with 730 homes listed. High Country MLS President, Shy Fecteau, states that “while inventory levels may be lower compared to this time last year, the good news for buyers is that there are plenty of new listings coming on the market every week. And the good news for sellers, or those considering listing their property, is that there are multitudes of buyers still looking for mountain homes & land”.