• Broadband Internet Service Expanding in Avery County Through LightLeap Program

    November 19, 2018 Avery County is getting Broadband Internet Service for many parts of its 247-square mile radius and many of its 17,797 residents with ongoing efforts to obtain the service for all parts and residents of the county. An agreement was made September 7 between the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and North Carolina Wireless of Hickory that the latter will perform work pursuant to Broadband Internet Service being installed. Contractual obligations and related work on the installation process have been ongoing since. Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. informed the Avery Board of Commissioners about a Broadband Internet Service Grant being awarded by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to the Avery Chamber of Commerce at the Board’s February 2018 meeting. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Schools Releasing Early at 2 p.m. as a Winter Storm Gets Closer to the High Country

    November 14, 2018 In preparation for the impending winter storm, Avery County Schools are dismissing early on Wednesday. Avery County Schools will dismiss today at 2 p.m. with Newland Elementary dismissing at 1:30 p.m. “Our goal is to get students and staff home safely before the incoming wintry weather arrives,” said a statement released on the Avery County Schools Facebook page.   / Read more…



  • Early Voting Totals High in Avery County

    October 22, 2018 There seems to be a prevalent feeling that there is as much, or even more, interest in the 2018 North Carolina General Election on November 6 in Avery County as any in the past decade. And Avery Board of Elections statistics proves that to be true. According to Avery Board of Elections Deputy Director Caleb Hogan, early voting in the county is “higher than normal” since Early Voting began last Wednesday, October 17. He said 366 have cast their votes as of this morning and that approximately 100 county voters have already have submitted their votes by absentee ballot. Hogan added that the large number of early and absentee votes may indicate there also will be a high voter turnout on November 6. If that happens, it will be a sharp opposite of the county’s May 2018 primary election when turnout was low as only 3,380 out of 11,724 registered voters (28.8 percent) cast ballots then. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Not Among Counties to Receive Monies From Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund

    October 10, 2018 North Carolina Public Schools Superintendent Mark Johnson has announced that $141 million in grant funds from the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund will be awarded this year to thirteen school districts, including those in Anson, Ashe, Caldwell, Caswell, Cherokee, Columbus, Martin, McDowell, Mitchell, Nash, Swain and Tyrrell counties. The grant awards will allow for construction of new school buildings in these economically distressed areas. The County of Avery and its public school system jointly applied for grant monies through the Needs-Based Public School Capital Fund program, but that application was rejected. Had the application been approved, the fund could have provided the County with up to $10 million for capital projects. That amount is more than half of the estimated $19.5 million total cost for the pending Avery High School new construction and renovation project which was approved by the Avery Board of Commissioners earlier this year. However, the county was not guaranteed to receive that amount of funding, and is not promised any other funding. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Habitat for Humanity Dedicates 47th Home


    October 5, 2018. On Sunday, September 30, Avery County Habitat for Humanity celebrated the completion of Daniel and Ashley Mina’s new home in the White Oak Knoll community in Newland. The completion of this home marked Avery Habitat’s 47th home during the past 27 years, and the first home completed in the new community development. To arrive at the dream of homeownership, Daniel and Ashley, along with their children David and Araceli, spent more than 500 “sweat-equity” hours by volunteering in the Habitat’s ReStore, on construction sites and by attending an eight-week series of homeowner education classes. Daniel Mina is employed by Avery County Electric and Ashley Mina works a part-time job and attends Mayland Community College. Avery County Habitat for Humanity is a Christian housing ministry striving to eliminate sub-standard housing in Avery County by assisting local, low-income families who seek home ownership as a means of obtaining financial stability and generational transformation. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Receives Grant From Appalachian Regional Commission to Expand Broadband Access


    September 21, 2018. Avery County was awarded a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to expand broadband in the county and North Carolina Wireless (NCW), LLC. a Fixed Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) will provide that service. The grant request was submitted to the ARC by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce a 501 (c) (3) organization whose Executive Director is Ms. Melynda Pepple, on behalf of the citizens of Avery County. Ms. Pepple was assisted by the Avery County Manager’s Office and the staff of The High Country Council of Governments in developing the grant request to the ARC. The grant was approved in early 2018. ARC’s mission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. The grant is an award of $100,000 for the purpose of expanding broadband service to unserved and underserved areas for Avery County. The grant was awarded with further consideration of serving low-density and low-income areas of the county. Ms. Pepple and the Avery Broadband Committee received early guidance from the NC Department of IT to assist in identifying the unserved and underserved areas. / Read more…



  • Avery County Tree Farmer Larry Smith to Provide 2018 White House Christmas Tree

    September 19, 2018 Avery County has long been known as one of “The Christmas Tree Capitals of the World.” Therefore, it seems only fitting that a Christmas tree grower from the county will supply The White House Christmas tree. Larry Smith of Mountain Top Fraser Fir in Newland was recently awarded the 2018 Grand Champion designation at the National Christmas Tree Association’s Christmas Tree Contest in Green Bay, Wisconsin, giving him the honor of providing the official White House Christmas tree. Since 1966, members of the NCTA have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room. Every other year the NCTA hosts a national tree contest at which growers, industry experts and consumers vote to select the Real Christmas Tree grower who will provide the official White House Christmas Tree and as well as one for the Vice President’s residence. To qualify for the national contest, growers must first win their state or regional competitions, so being named National Grand Champion is a significant achievement. 2018 marks the 53rd year a member from the National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas Tree. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Commissioners Discuss New High School Loan Application and Communication Between the Fire Commission and Association

    September 18, 2018 During their bi-monthly meeting September 17, the Avery County Commissioners discussed a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loan Application for new construction and renovations at the county’s only high school and held a joint meeting with the county’s fire commission and the Chief’s of the County’s twelve Fire and Rescue departments. All Commissioners — Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Blake Vance (Vice-Chairman); Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Faye Lacey were present at the meeting. Other top county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore. Barrier told the Commissioners during an official public session at the meeting that the County has applied for a $19,500,000.00 USDA loan for the high school project. He said there are various detailed parts to completing the loan application, but that he and Poore are working feverishly to complete it and that they will have it submitted by its September 30 deadline. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Got By With Minimal Impacts From Florence Storm

    September 18, 2018 Perhaps an accurate way to term Storm Florence’s impact in Avery County would be that it was minimal, but that it could have been a lot worse. Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier said Avery dodged a “major bullet for the most part” as Florence brought steady and consistent, but not heavy downpours to the county, causing relatively minor problems. According to reports from the National Weather Service, Avery County received between 4 ½ to 5 inches of rain from Saturday until Monday afternoon. Barrier heaped praise on the county’s emergency services outlets for their efforts during Hurricane Florence, saying it was a “total team in its most powerful sense.”  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Issues a State of Emergency Due to Tropical Cyclone Florence


    September 14, 2018. The North Carolina High Country is likely to get pounded with heavy rain and possibly have various emergency problems caused by Hurricane Florence (Tropical Cyclone) starting Saturday and continuing into Tuesday. And as a result, Avery County Board of Commissioners Chairperson Martha Hicks has issued a State of Emergency for the entire county beginning at 12:00 noon on Saturday. It will remain in effect until all possible dangers from the hurricane end. A provision of the State of Emergency order is that the county may enforce a curfew between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. each day it remains in effect. Restricted business operations and access to certain areas and buildings may also be implemented in the county according to the State of Emergency declaration. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Nancy Johnson Resigns as Avery County Finance Officer


    September 13, 2018. Avery County Finance Officer Nancy Johnson has stepped down from the post. County Manager Phillip Barrier said Johnson gave him her resignation letter last Wednesday, September 5. Barrier added that Johnson’s resignation is effective immediately. The Avery Board of Commissioners went into executive (closed) session during their regular monthly meeting Tuesday, September 4, but did not address Johnson’s job status upon returning to open session. Johnson was unavailable for comment. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Frady Named Avery County High School Varsity Boys’ Basketball Coach


    August 9, 2018. Avery County High School has a new boy’s head basketball coach. Cody Frady has been named to fill the position, with his appointment approved by the Avery County Board of Education. Frady comes to Avery from Carolina Day School in Asheville, where he coached basketball the past five seasons. He has 15 years of prep coaching experience. He is a graduate of Charles D. Owen High School in Black Mountain, where he played basketball. He served as a varsity assistant and head jayvee coach there for several seasons. The Avery job will be his first as a head prep basketball coach. Frady is a graduate of Mars Hill College where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in physical education. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Commissioners Receive Approval of Sales Tax Referendum and Airport Funding Notice

    August 8, 2018. Approval of a sales tax referendum being added to the November General Election ballot and additional funding for the county’s airport were among the topics of the Avery County Commissioners meeting August 6. Commissioners– Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Wood Hall (Woody) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Faye Lacey were present at the meeting. Vice Chairman Blake Vance was absent due to being on vacation. Other top county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; Finance Director Nancy Johnson; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore. Barrier noted that the Avery County Board of Elections has approved the commissioners’ request to add a referendum on the ballot about whether to levy local sales and use tax of one-fourth cent in Avery County in accordance with state statues. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk Donates $1,000 to the Avery County Back to School Bash


    July 26, 2018. The Avery County Back to School Bash received a “kickoff” gift from the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk. Club President Jeff Davis presented Avery Schools Superintendent Bryan Taylor with a $1,000 contribution. The Bash welcomes cash as well as backpacks, pens, pencils, all sorts of school supplies needed by Avery students. Those wishing to support the 2018-19 school year–individuals, families, companies, clubs or churches–are asked to mark their calendars for Aug. 11 and be at Avery County High School anytime between 10 a.m. and noon.  / Read more…



  • Avery County Commissioners Adopt New 2018-19 Budget

    June 20, 2018. By a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Avery County Commissioners approved a 2018-19 fiscal year county budget of $29,638,311.00 during their bi-monthly meeting June 18. A highlight of the budget is that there is no tax increase from the past fiscal year. All Commissioners–Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Blake Vance (Vice-Chairman); Wood Hall (Woody) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Faye Lacey were present. Other top county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Finance Director Nancy Johnson; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore. Approximately 25 others were present at the meeting. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Friends and Neighbors Gather for Opioid Awareness Forum in Banner Elk


    June 14, 2018. Community leaders and concerned citizens got together on Tuesday afternoon at the Best Western Mountain Lodge in Banner Elk for a special meeting to learn about and discuss the opioid abuse issues plaguing Avery County. The meeting was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club of Banner Elk and had approximately 110 people there in attendance. A five-person panel as well as a special guest speaker, a recovering opiate addict, were there to share their thoughts on the opioid abuse problem in Avery County and some ways to start trying to fix the problem. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Body of Missing Ohio Man Recovered in Elk River Falls on Wednesday

    May 31, 2018. Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye has confirmed that the body of a drowning victim was recovered from the Elk River Falls area near Elk Park on Wednesday, May 30. According to Frye, the body was recovered from the waters by law enforcement and emergency personnel around noon yesterday. Frye said the body is believed to be that of 26-year-old Thomas McCardle Jr. of Ohio. McCardle was visiting North Carolina and was in the river on Sunday, May 20, when, according to witnesses at the scene, he was pulled underwater by strong undertow near the base of the falls. An ongoing search has been underway for McCardle’s body since then. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Memorial Day Ceremony Held in Honor of Slain Veterans

    May 30, 2018. On Monday, May 28, Avery County held its annual Memorial Day celebration on the Newland Town Square between its veterans monument, Armed Forces flags displays and gardens and the Fallen Officers, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Ten Commandments monuments. The ceremony honored Avery County natives or residents who perished while fighting for our great nation in a military battle. Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday was held on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. The holiday has been observed every year on the last Monday of May since 1970. It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Mayland Community College Foundation’s FREE ScieNCe Festival Celebration Star Party, 4/21

    https://www.hcpress.com/boone/mayland-community-college-foundations-free-science-festival-celebration-star-party-4-21.html
    April 18, 2018. Join the Mayland Community College Foundation for a FREE ScieNCe Festival Celebration Star Party at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory on April 21. Free daylight activities and tours for the Earth to Sky Park and observatory begin at 5:30 PM at the observatory located at 66 EnergyXchange Drive in Burnsville. / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae College Celebrates Eighth Annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 9-13

    April 4, 2018. Join Lees-McRae College in celebrating spring’s return to the mountains during the eighth annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 9–13. Sponsored by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia, the College will highlight coal mining and other unique aspects of mountain heritage throughout the week. / 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 Kate Herman



  • Avery County Commissioners Vote to Approve Hiring of Fundraising Training Company

    March 28, 2018. During a public hearing March 23, the Avery County Commissioners hired Capital Development Services of Winston-Salem, NC to perform fundraising training and related work for the County and its Cooperative Extension Service. The Commissioners’ action was approved by a 4-1 vote. Commissioners Martha Hicks (chairperson), Blake Vance (vice-chairman), Tim Phillips and Wood Hall (Woody) Young, Jr. voted to hire Capital Development Services. Commissioner Faye Lacey voted against. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • February Only: W.A.M.Y. Community Action’s Have a Heart Program

    https://www.hcpress.com/news/february-w-m-y-community-action-heart-program.html
    Feb. 19, 2018. During the month of February, help W.A.M.Y have a heart for our community! For only one dollar, you can purchase a heart from one of the participating vendors. Your heart goes right back into supporting your community and helping to break the cycle of poverty in the high country.  / Read more…



  • The Following Courses are Available at Mayland Community College, Open to the Public

    Feb. 16, 2018. Are you or a friend looking for a course that will help you improve your business? Perhaps you aresimply looking to learn a new trade or skill. Mayland Community College is offering several course to the public. The starting dates vary per class.  / Read more…



  • Appalachian Ski Mtn Hosted USASA Southeastern Series, Last Weekend (Jan. 26- 28)

    https://www.hcpress.com/avery/appalachian-ski-mtn-hosted-usasa-southeastern-series-last-weekend.html
    Feb. 2, 2018. Last weekend, skiers and snowboarders gathered from as far away as New York state gathered at Appalachian Ski Mountain to brave the elements, and compete in the USASA Southeastern Series boardercross/skiercross weekend. Over the two days, there were 4 races. These competitions serve as the regional qualifier for the USASA National Championships to be held in April at Copper Mtn. Colorado. The Southeastern Series takes their show on the road over the next couple of weeks. / Read more…



  • Mayland Community College is Offering a Large Variety of Courses Starting Feb. 5

    Feb. 2, 2018. Mayland Community College is offering a plethora of courses that cater to various interests including agriculture, business, marketing, social media and more. Compiled below is a list of MCC courses to supplement and foster a tremendous learning environment. MCC serves as the educational gateway to opportunity.  / Read more…



  • The Hospitality House Hosts Everyone Counts! Point-In-Time Count Happening Jan. 31

    https://www.hcpress.com/asu-news/hospitality-house-hosts-everyone-counts-point-time-count-happening-jan-31.html
    Jan. 24, 2018. Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, marks the annual Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care (CoC), is the annual documentation of the extent of homelessness in our region, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey counties. / Read more…



  • Library, Senior Centers Offer Free Tax Assistance for 2018 Filing Season

    Jan. 19, 2018. The Watauga County Public Library is in its eighth year of offering tax assistance for the 2018 filing season. The library program began in 2011 with Rao Aluri as the Site Coordinator; Tim Dannenfelser, a graduate student in Accounting at Appalachian State University, will be the new Coordinator. The (VITA) Volunteer for Tax Assistance program provides free income tax preparation and free electronic filing for eligible low to moderate-income Watauga County residents. The program operates in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service and receives financial support from the Friends of the Library and the IRS. / Read more…



  • Grandfather Mountain Announces 2018 Schedule of Events

    https://www.hcpress.com/avery/grandfather-mountain-announces-2018-schedule-events.html
    Jan. 19, 2018. An elk, a Girl Scout, two cougars and a bagpiper walk onto Grandfather Mountain… The punchline? It’s 2018 at the Linville, N.C., nature preserve and attraction. No joke. / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, Jan. 8- 16

    Jan. 17, 2018 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 Kate Herman



  • The Williams YMCA of Avery County is a High Country Sports and Fitness Activities Jewel


    Jan. 5, 2018. Something for everyone. Perhaps no other term better personifies the many programs offered at the Williams YMCA of Avery County for people of all ages and any physical fitness level. Since its opening in 2007, the Williams YMCA of Avery County truly has fulfilled its mission statement of: Putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. By Tim Gardner / 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 Kate Herman



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, Dec. 19- Jan. 1

    Jan. 3, 2018 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 Kate Herman



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, Dec. 19- Dec. 28

    Dec. 30, 2017. 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 Kate Herman



  • Celebrating the New Year with the High Country’s Bars

    For the adults ages twenty-one and up, the High Country bars are inviting you to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the best. Depending on where you are staying, here is a list of some  of the High Country bar celebrations.

    Read more…
    Compiled by Kate Herman



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