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It’s a Chilly Start to 2018! Snow and Cold Ring in the New Year

Published Monday, January 1, 2018 at 12:15 pm

Jan. 1, 2018. Cold and snow ushered 2018 in across the High Country with record-breaking temperatures and a fluffy 2 plus inches of snow. The low was minus 3 degrees on Snake Mountain this morning with Beech Mountain coming in at minus 2. Sugar Mountain is reporting a low of 4. In Boone in got down to 7 degrees. Where did the snow come from? As Ray Russell from Ray’s Weather explains, “Cold air squeezed the proverbial blood out of a turnip Sunday, frigid air producing light, fluffy snow out of very dry air.” Rural roads are covered with snow this morning but the main roads are clear. Looking ahead the weather pattern remains in place with possible more record breaking low temperatures coming Thursday and Friday. / Read more…
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NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Playoffs Preview: Georgia vs. Oklahoma / Alabama vs. Clemson

Published Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 6:35 pm
Dec. 31, 2017. The North Carolina High Country is loaded with college football fans eagerly anticipating the National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Division 1 Playoffs. This column provides previews and predicted final scores of both semifinal games on January 1. The Oklahoma Sooners and Georgia Bulldogs face off in the 2018 Rose Bowl. And the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide play in the 2018 Sugar Bowl. The winners of each of these games will then play January 8 for the National Championship (2017 season). By Tim Gardner / Read more…
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Enjoy New Year’s Day in the Great Outdoors; First Day Hikes at Local State Parks Listed Here

Published Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 9:56 am
Dec. 30, 2017. A North Carolina New Year’s tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnection with nature continues in 2018 with First Day Hikes in North Carolina State Parks on Jan. 1. More than 40 guided hikes are scheduled in the state parks system on New Year’s Day, ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to several-mile rambles, most of them featuring educational programs led by rangers along the way. All state parks will be open on the holiday. On Jan. 1 this year, thousands of hikers walked several thousand miles on state park trails, exploring state parks and state recreation areas in brisk winter weather. In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago, an annual event that now draws more than 800 visitors. / Read more…
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Area Ski Slopes Ready For The Weekend With Great “True Peak Season Conditions”

Published Friday, December 29, 2017 at 3:34 pm

Dec. 27, 2017. Freezing temperatures are allowing the ski slopes to continue opening more slopes and the slopes that are open are averaging 20 to 50 inches of snow on them. Appalachian Ski Mtn. has 100% of their slopes open including their three terrain parks. They also have all of their lifts operating. Drew Stanley of Appalachian says, “What a great time to ski or snowboard! Conditions really couldn’t get better, with ample snowmaking temps we have been able to build a large base and are now 100% open with all slopes, 3 terrain parks and true peak season conditions.” / Read more…
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Ski Slopes Enjoying Holiday Crowds With Blue Skies, Perfect Temperatures and Great Conditions

Published Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Dec. 27, 2017. Area ski slopes are seeing their parking lots filling up with cars and buses - and lots of snow enthusiasts on the slopes enjoying perfect weather for this important holiday season for them. Beech and Sugar were using their overflow parking areas on Thursday to accommodate the holiday traffic. With blue skies and great snow on the slopes, visitors were all smiles for the skiing, snowboarding and tubing conditions. Talia Freeman, marketing director at Beech Mountain Resort said,  " We've had an overwhelming response, and its been incredible busy. The conditions are great, weather's perfect and we have a lot of happy customers." And the weather forecast will continue to bring perfect conditions through the New Year holiday. / Read more…
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The Boone Boil Water Advisory Has Been Lifted

Published Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 3:05 pm
Dec. 28, 2017. As of 11:30am today, December 28, 2017, our Water Treatment Plant reported that the water samples that were taken yesterday in response to the System Pressure Advisory are negative of any bacteria. THE BOIL WATER ADVISORY HAS BEEN LIFTED AND THE WATER IS AND HAS BEEN SAFE TO DRINK. / Read more…
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It’s Time To Bundle Up! Freezing Temperatures Forecasted To Be In Place For Next 10 Days

Published Thursday, December 28, 2017 at 9:51 am

Dec. 27, 2017. Freezing temperatures are making for some interesting roadside icicles across the High Country as well as causing lakes to start freezing over. With nighttime temperatures below freezing for the past 5 days, it’s beginning to feel a lot like winter! And the freezing cold weather pattern is forecast to continue at least for the next ten days. New Year’s Day looks to be the coldest with temperatures reaching into the single digits. This Friday and Saturday daytime temps make it above freezing – but just barely! After that daytime temperatures are forecast to stay below freezing until Saturday of next week. The Arctic dry high pressure has any chance snow on hold during this period. It’s time to bundle up! / Read more…
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Conversation with Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.

Published Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 11:12 am

Dec. 27, 2017. High Country Press reporter Tim Gardner conducted an interview with Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. about his roles and responsibilities of heading the county’s government, how he rates its stability and progress and his observations about those who work individually, yet collectively, to make contributions to its success. Excerpts from that interview follow. By Tim Gardner / Read more…
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Boil Water Advisory Issued for Town of Boone

Published Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 9:38 am
Dec. 27, 2017. A boil water advisory is in place for Boone after a 12-inch water main break on Hwy. 105 near Troy's Diner around midnight last night. AppHealthCare (Appalachian District Health Department) is working with restaurants, childcare facilities, and other healthcare facilities to provide guidance regarding the boil water advisory issued as a precautionary measure by the Town of Boone today, December 27, 2017. Periods of low or no pressure in the water distribution system increases the potential for introduction of bacteria into the water system. Therefore, the Division of Water Resources advises consumers to boil water used for human consumption for 1 minute (including drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation) or used bottled water until further notice. / Read more…
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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – December 26, 2017

Published Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 11:14 am
Dec. 20, 2017. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…
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Movie Review: “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”

Published Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 10:53 am
Dec. 26, 2017. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” bears very little resemblance to its 1995 predecessor. That film was about a jungle-themed board game that invaded our world. This movie is about a jungle-themed video game that sucks players into its world. It’s probably better that this film goes in a different direction. All the inevitable jokes about the displaced animals invading suburbia and becoming Internet sensations would get old real quick. By Bob Garver / Read more…
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Increase in Flu Cases Prompts Healthcare Facilities to Discourage Visitors

Published Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 10:32 am
Dec. 26, 2017. Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, visitors 12 and under should refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control, seasonal flu activity continues to increase in the U.S. The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like illness increased sharply from last week and has been at or above the national baseline for three weeks so far this season. / Read more…
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Mountain View Speedway Honors Top Point Finishers at Awards Banquet

Published Tuesday, December 26, 2017 at 10:20 am

Dec. 26, 2017. The annual Mountain View Speedway awards banquet was held on December 16th at the Riverview Community Center in Creston. All the top point finishers in each division were honored. Drivers earn points weekly at the track based on their Feature race finishes. All 2018 rule updates were handed out as well as 2018 schedules for the first half of the season to all who were present. Plans and some of the upcoming events for 2018 were also discussed. In the Semi Mod 4 division, Billy Goodman remained strong throughout the 2018 season earning him his first Point title at the track. / Read more…
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App State Rolls Past Toledo 34-0 to Claim Dollar General Bowl Championship

Published Sunday, December 24, 2017 at 9:24 am

Dec. 24, 2017. The anticipated scoring shootout and down-to-the-wire finish between Appalachian State and Toledo in the Dollar General Bowl Saturday night never materialized. Instead, Appalachian State roared to a surprisingly easy 34-0 shutout victory over the Rockets before 28,706 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama and an ESPN national television audience. The Mountaineers won nine games in 2017 season. It also marked their third consecutive bowl victory —all coming in the State of Alabama. After erasing a 24-7 deficit, Appalachian State won 31-29 against Ohio on a last-second field goal in the 2015 Camellia Bowl, and then used a tiebreaking field goal to claim a 31-28 victory against Toledo last year at the same bowl and site in Montgomery, AL By Tim Gardner / Read more…
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Boone Sunrise on the First Morning Of Winter

Published Friday, December 22, 2017 at 9:00 am

Dec. 22, 2017. First winter morning sunrise over Boone from Howard's Knob. Winter starts off on the warm side with two days of unseasonably mild weather ahead before cold air returns for Christmas Eve. Saturday will be rainy with the high temperature getting close to 60 degrees. Will there be a White Christmas in the High Country? Ray's Weather says we'll see snow flurries Sunday night into Christmas morning with maybe a dusting of snow around Christmas morning . . . "A few snow flurries may decorate the early morning." says Ray.  Photo by Jan Todd / Read more…
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He’s back! Armanti Edwards Receives His Due in Canadian Football League

Published Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 10:00 am
Dec. 21, 2017. Armanti Edwards may be the best player to suit up for the Black and Gold. The Mountaineer football icon won two national titles, four Southern Conference championships, two Walter Payton awards and put his stamp on the greatest upset in college football history — all while graduating from Appalachian in three and a half years with a degree in graphic arts and imaging technology. It was too perfect when the Carolina Panthers traded up to take Edwards in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft. A homegrown hero getting to play at the game’s highest level in his own backyard is the type of tale only seen in movie scripts. / Read more…
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Beech Mountain Resort’s “Totally Retro ’80s Ski Weekend” Named a Top 20 Event in Southeast

Published Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 9:46 am
Dec. 21, 2017. Southeast Tourism Society has named the Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend at Beech Mountain one of the Southeast’s top 20 tourism events for January/February 2018. The Totally ’80s Retro Ski Weekend is Feb. 22-25, and this marks the first time in the weekend’s seven-year history that it has earned a spot in the STS Top 20. Events considered for recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000. The four-day weekend celebrates the New Wave decade with retro skiing daily, ’80s tribute bands nightly, and lots of throwback activities in between. People wear dayglo retro ski apparel on the slopes and 1980s fashions off the slopes. / Read more…
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App State Football Adds 23 Student-Athletes on New December Signing Day

Published Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 9:24 am
Dec. 21, 2017. National Signing Day arrived for Appalachian State Football with a southern Alabama twist. Twenty-three student-athletes from the Class of 2018 signed with head coach Scott Satterfield’s program Wednesday, three days before the Mountaineers (8-4) play Toledo (11-2) in the Dollar General Bowl. This is the first year with a December signing period, which comes before the February period that still exists, and this month’s three-day signing window began a day after Appalachian State’s team landed in Mobile, AL. / Read more…
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Winter Solstice and First Day of Winter is Today

Published Thursday, December 21, 2017 at 8:05 am
Dec. 20, 2017. The winter solstice happens today at 11:28 a.m. in the Northern Hemisphere and is “the day the Sun stands still” as it reaches its southern-most position at the Tropic of Capricorn. The Sun then “turns around” on its journey to the summer solstice, which happens this year on June 21st. December 21st is the first day of the winter season, which will last till the March Equinox on March 20th. In Boone for the winter solstice the sun will rise at 7:34 a.m. EST and set at 5:15 p.m. EST for a day’s length of 9 hours and 41 minutes and 40 seconds.. / Read more…
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Watauga, Avery Obituaries – December 20, 2017

Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 2:17 pm
Dec. 20, 2017. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…
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190 Homes Sold in November Worth $53.67 Million; Inventory Low as Sales Remain Strong

Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 1:41 pm
Dec. 20, 2017. With one month remaining in the calendar year, local Realtors® are poised to see sales growth for a seventh consecutive year. It’s been so busy, local inventory is near a three-year low. Sales in November mirrored those of a year prior, according to the High Country Multiple listing Service (MLS), which tracks Realtor® sales in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. Local Realtors® sold 190 homes worth $53.67 million in November, according to the MLS. The average sold price - total value divided by homes sold - was $282,499. / Read more…
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The USASA Southeastern Snowboard and Freeski Series Announces Schedule for the Winter 2018

Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 9:47 am
Dec. 20, 2017. “Our first season as a sanctioned series was a huge success! We held a total of 7 events in the disciplines of slopestyle and boardercross/skiercross. Skiers and snowboarders from all ages competed for a chance to qualify for the USASA National Championships in Colorado. A total of 24 athletes qualified, and of those, 18 accepted the challenge. As a new series, we definitely held our own. For some it was their first time out west, much less competing at a national venue with other top-level athletes from across the US.” Says series director Donnie Hefner. The Southeastern Series claimed two national champions, both in boardercross. Kyle Orsburn (Mens Senior), and Andy McDaniel (Mens Legend) took home gold on the super-fast, cross course at Copper Mountain last April. / Read more…
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Blue Ridge Mountain Club Opens Ascent Wellness and Fitness Center: Fitness With a View

Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 9:31 am
Dec. 20, 2017. Blue Ridge Mountain Club has opened the doors to the 5,200-square foot Ascent Wellness and Fitness Center located at The Village at Watson Gap. The Wellness and Fitness Center is the first of three facilities to open as part of the overall Amenity Center which is poised to be the true social center of the thriving and vibrant community. “We’re very excited to present this first-class space and its wide range of amenities to Blue Ridge Mountain Club members,” Jim Pitts, Blue Ridge Mountain Club General Manager, said. “The space is filled with cutting-edge equipment, high-end furnishings and the most stunning views of the Blue Ridge mountains you’ve ever seen. / Read more…
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App State Plays Toledo for Dollar General Bowl Championship In Mobile, AL Saturday, Dec. 23

Published Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 11:24 am
Dec. 19, 2017. The Dollar General Bowl between Appalachian State University and Toledo University figures to be one of the most exciting of the 2017 season. And in terms of over-all matchups between the teams, the game truly could be a classic. It will be played in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL this Saturday, December 23, beginning at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN. This is Appalachian State’s third straight bowl appearance in as many years eligible after transitioning from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, becoming only the second program to accomplish that feat. / Read more…
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Blowing Rock’s Main Street and Chetola Resort Decked Out For Night Time Holiday Cheer

Published Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 10:44 am
Dec. 19, 2017. Blowing Rock's Memorial Park and Town Hall on Main Street are lit up with lights and downtown merchants have decorated their front windows with holiday themes that makes a night time visit for a stroll down Main Street a festive occasion. Chetola Resort also has their holiday lights on full display where visitors can take a drive through the property and enjoy their night time scenery. It's dark by 5:30 and you'll find plenty of parking spots along Main Street for a visit to Blowing Rock for a little Holiday Cheer! / Read more…
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A Total of 1,475 Students Graduated From Appalachian State University on Saturday

Published Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 9:55 am
Dec. 19, 2017. A total of 1,475 students graduated from Appalachian State University Saturday, Dec. 16, during commencement in Holmes Convocation Center. Appalachian hosted two ceremonies, one at 10 a.m. for Hayes School of Music, College of Arts and Sciences, and Walker College of Business, and one at 2 p.m. for the Reich College of Education, Beaver College of Health Sciences and College of Fine and Applied Arts. Degrees were conferred on 1,123 undergraduates and 352 graduate students / Read more…
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Appalachian Football Team Gets A Bowl Send-Off Tuesday in Downtown Boone at 11:45 a.m.

Published Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 9:45 am
Dec. 19, 2017. The Appalachian State Sun Belt Co-Champion football team departs Tuesday for Mobile, Alabama, to participate in the 2017 Dollar General Bowl. The Jones House, the Downtown Boone Development Association, the Boone Police Department and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce have arranged a community send-off for the team Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 11:45 a.m. in downtown Boone. Fans, downtown merchants and customers are encouraged to wear their Black & Gold, bring flags, and display signs at the Jones House or along King Street. / Read more…
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‘Selfies with Santa’ Yields a Holiday Donation to the High Country United Way from App State

Published Monday, December 18, 2017 at 9:47 am
Dec. 18, 2017. Students, faculty, and administration of the Appalachian State’s Department of Applied Design worked off some end-of-semester nervous energy with an impromptu project that ended up raising funds for the High Country United Way.  Professor Don Corey said that, with the end of the semester arriving, students wanted to do something to “lighten the mood” with exams pending and final projects coming due. He said, “They wanted to do something festive for the holidays, kind of a kick-off,” and said, “They wanted to commandeer someone to dress up as Santa for it, doing what became ‘Selfies with Santa.’” / Read more…
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The Ensemble Stage Presented First Night of Their Holiday Production “An Ensemble Christmas”

Published Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 11:20 am
Dec. 16, 2017. The Ensemble Stage presented its first night of their holiday production called “An Ensemble Christmas” on Friday at the Cultural Arts Center at the Historic Banner School. It was another sold out show with an enthusiastic audience enjoying the 24 musical numbers. The show was written and directed by Lisa Lamont and Gary Smith who are the Directors of An Ensemble Stage. The show was a fast-paced tribute to the Andy Williams and Bing Crosby television holiday shows of the 60’s and 70’s. / Read more…
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Ski Slopes Are In Great Shape For The Weekend!

Published Friday, December 15, 2017 at 3:42 pm
Dec. 15, 2017. The ski slopes couldn't be happier with weather conditions that have allowed snowmaking to be almost continuous during the past week. Snow from last weekend's storm is still covering much of the ground across the High Country and temperatures will be below freezing Friday and Saturday nights before a slight warming trend takes place Sunday through the first part of the week. Drew Stanley of Appalachian Ski Mtn. says "Conditions for the weekend should be fantastic! Weather for the weekend looks ideal for skiing, cool but not frigid, clear and calm." Talia Freeman of Beech Mountain reports, "In regards to snowmaking and cold temperatures. This has been the best December we have experienced in several years." / Read more…
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Youth Sledding Hill Opens After an Offseason of Upgrades Next to Beech Mountain Chamber Office

Published Friday, December 15, 2017 at 3:38 pm
Dec. 15, 2017. Beech Mountain’s youth sledding hill, a popular winter attraction in the North Carolina mountains, has opened for the 2017-18 season. The sledding hill is owned and operated by the Town of Beech Mountain, which instituted several offseason upgrades. Grading work evened the slope and created a longer stretch to slow down at the bottom, while special padding, like the type used at ski resorts, was installed at the bottom of the hill and along the sides. Other improvements included dividing the hill into a slower side for younger kids and a faster side for older kids, and increasing the capacity of water flow to the snow gun to maximize snowmaking. / Read more…
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Todd Bush Shares Photos of Geminid Meteor Shower From Wednesday Night

Published Friday, December 15, 2017 at 3:31 pm
Dec. 15, 2017. Last Wednesday night and Thursday morning were good for viewing the annual Geminid Meteor Shower. Though the gusty high winds (note blurry trees) at elevations of the High Country dropped the feel of the temperature a bit. The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini. They are thought to originate from an astroid unlike most major meteor showers associated with debris from comets. / Read more…
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Watauga County Deeds – Dec. 7-13: 36 Deed Transfers With a Total Value of $8,345,500.00

Published Friday, December 15, 2017 at 12:07 pm
Dec. 15, 2017. A look at the recent deed transfers in Watauga County. The information comes courtesy of the Watauga County Register of Deeds. Compiled by Debbie Carter / Read more…
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Hayes School of Music Alumni Ensemble Members Nominated for 4 Grammys for Jazz Categories

Published Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm
Dec. 14 2017. The nominees for the 60th Grammy Awards were recently announced, and three alumni of Appalachian State University’s Hayes School of Music (HSOM) are members of an ensemble nominated for four Grammys in the Jazz and Composing/Arranging categories. Jay Coble ’81 (trumpet), Jack Wilkins ’82 (tenor saxophone) and Matt Vance ’91 (baritone saxophone) are members of Chuck Owen and the Jazz Surge, an 18-piece jazz ensemble based in Tampa, Florida. The group’s most recent album release is “Whispers on the Wind” / Read more…
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BSG’s 4th Winter Warmer Project Has A Collection Event at Appalachian Mountain Brewery Saturday

Published Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 2:02 pm
Dec. 14 2017. A coat/blanket drive will be held at Appalachian Mountain Brewery on Saturday, Dec. 16 from noon to 7 p.m. Members of the BSG Board will be at Appalachian Mountain Brewery this Saturday to collect any gently used coats, blankets, boots, hats, gloves …. Anything to keep people warm during the winter. AMB is providing a complementary Christmas “Cheer” to anyone who brings a coat or blanket or donates $10 / Read more…
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