• Twenty-Six Candidates From Avery County File For Municipal Government Seats

    July 19, 2019. City, township and village municipal government seat filings concluded at 12:00 Noon today (Friday, July 19) and a total of twenty-six (26) candidates filed for office in Avery County. Filing began on Friday, July 5 for statewide municipal offices. Seats will be open for some Mayor and Town Council seats in the following Avery townships: Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Elk Park, Village of Sugar Mountain, Village of Grandfather, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Nineteen Candidates Have Filed From Avery County In Municipal Elections

    July 17, 2019. As the filing deadline nears, nineteen candidates have completed the necessary paperwork and paid the $5.00 filing fee to seek municipal government (city, town or village) seats in Avery County as of this morning (July 17). Filing began on Friday, July 5 and ends this Friday, July 19 at Noon. Seats are open for some Mayor and Town Council seats in the following Avery townships: Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Elk Park, Village of Sugar Mountain, Village of Grandfather, Beech Mountain, and Seven Devils. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Eight Candidates Have Filed From Avery County In Municipal Elections

    July 12, 2019. As of Friday morning, July 12, eight candidates have filed for municipal township governing seats in Avery County. Filing began on Friday, July 5 for statewide municipal (city and town) elections. Seats are open for some Mayor and Town Council seats in the following Avery townships: Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Elk Park, Village of Sugar Mountain, Village of Grandfather, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils. Candidates who have filed in Avery County include: incumbent Ray Allen Bolick for Banner Elk Town Council; incumbents Jesse Smith and Jane Milanovich for Crossnore Town Council; incumbents Bob Donovan for Mayor and Richard C. Norman for Town Council in the Village of Grandfather; Elaine McKinney Crane for Elk Park Town Council; Lewis (Van) Lecka for Town Council and Gunter Jochl for Mayor in the Village of Sugar Mountain. Jochl is an incumbent, but not as Mayor. He is currently a member of the Village’s Town Council. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Four File In Avery County Municipal Elections

    July 10, 2019. Filing began on Friday, July 5 for statewide municipal (city and town) elections. Four have filed as of this morning (July 10) for offices in Avery County. Seats are open for some Mayor and Town Council seats in the following townships: Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Elk Park, Village of Sugar Mountain, Village of Grandfather, Beech Mountain and Seven Devils. Candidates who have filed include incumbents Jesse Smith, Crossnore Town Council and Bob Donovan, Village of Grandfather Mayor. Incumbent Village of Sugar Mountain Town Council member Gunter Jochl has filed for the Village’s Mayor’s post. Additionally, Elaine McKinney Crane has filed for Elk Park Town Council. Filing ends on Friday, July 19, at 12:00 Noon and must be done in person at the Board of Election Office. Filing for any municipal office costs $5.00. On Monday, October 7, Absentee Voting by Mail Begins for General Election and Friday, October 11 at 5:00 p.m. is the voting registration deadline. One stop early voting begins October 16 and ends November 2.   By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Newland Aldermen to Consider Adopting New Personnel Policies

    July 10, 2019. The Town of Newland Board of Aldermen (Town Council) addressed various topics during its regular monthly meeting last Tuesday night, including news of possible changes to its existing personnel policies and the repaving of various sections in the Town. All Board of Aldermen members–Kenny Caraway, Dave Calvert, Lauren Turbyfill, Jamey Johnson and Christie Hughes – were present. Other town officials attending the meeting included: Mayor Valerie Jaynes; Town Administrator Keith Hoilman; Finance Officer Lise Meinhardt; Town Attorney Joe Seegers; and Town Clerk and Board of Aldermen secretary Tammy Gardner. During his Town Administrator’s and Water Works report, Hoilman said that Todd Burleson of Burleson Paving, Inc. in the Roaring Creek Community will soon start paving parts and spots of various roads, streets and parking lots in the Town that need to be resurfaced. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Commissioners Appoint State Convention Voting Delegate; Receive Positive Fiscal Year Tax collection and Forest Service Reports

    July 3, 2019. The Avery County Board of Commissioners addressed several topics during their regular monthly meeting July 1, including electing a voting delegate at the State Commissioners Convention to High-Speed Broadband Internet Service to receiving reports about the past 2018-19 fiscal year’s Tax Collections and Forest Service. Commissioners–Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Dennis Aldridge were present. Other top county officials attending included: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Finance Officer Tim Greene; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore. Commission Vice-Chairman Blake Vance was absent due to an unforeseen problem at his place of employment, according to Barrier, Jr. The Commissioners unanimously (4-0) approved Hicks as a voting delegate to the state conference of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners next month. The 112th NCACC convention will be held in Guilford County (Greensboro) August 22-24. During the business session on Saturday, August 24, each county will be entitled to one vote concerning items that come before the membership, including the election of the NCACC Second Vice-President. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • A Conversation With Avery County EMS Director Mike Edmisten


    July 1, 2019. Mike Edmisten took over as the Director of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in February 2019 in his native Avery County. He replaced retired, former director Jerry Turbyfill. Edmisten came to Avery in May of 2018 from his post with Watauga County Emergency Services. He transitioned from a part-time to a full-time employee before becoming a supervisor, and eventually to the director of Avery’s department. He is an eleven-year veteran of the EMS profession. Avery Emergency Medical Services (EMS) began operations in the fall of 1994 and proudly serves nearly 18,000 residents of the county and its visitors. The Avery EMS currently operates at the Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic level with Edmisten supervising almost three dozen full-time and part-time employees. Edmisten and his staff are highly-trained and known for their zenith expertise in their chosen profession. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Town of Newland Adopts 2019-2020 Budget by a 3-2 Vote

    June 26, 2019. The Town of Newland has a budget of $868,783.00 for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, its officials have announced. The budget was adopted by a 3-2 vote. Board of Aldermen (Town Council) members Kenny Caraway, Dave Calvert, and Lauren Turbyfill voted in favor of the budget. Aldermen Jamey Johnson and Christie Hughes voted against. Thus, the budget adoption passed by a majority vote. The Board of Aldermen, Mayor Valerie Jaynes, Town Administrator Keith Hoilman, Town Finance Officer Lise Meinhardt, and other town officials had worked preparing a proposed budget during several town workshops this year. It eventually became the adopted budget. According to the budget, which runs from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, there will be no increase in the Town’s tax or water and sewer rates.   By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Former Avery Schools Superintendent Bryan Taylor Hired To Stokes County Post

    June 17, 2019. After resigning as Avery County Schools Superintendent, it didn’t take Bryan Taylor long to find a new job as he was hired by another school system only two days later. Taylor has been named Assistant Superintendent of Stokes County, NC Schools, according to a press release from that school system dated June 13. Taylor’s start date with Stokes County Schools has not been established, the press release noted. He will replace Tony George in the post. The Stokes County School System is headquartered in Danbury, NC, approximately 20 miles North of Winston-Salem. Taylor told the Avery County Board of Education members of his intent to step down as Superintendent during a closed session of its meeting on June 11. Taylor had said that the exact date of his resignation was not set and that he would be available to help the transitional process with the hiring of a new Superintendent. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • One Hundred Thirty-Four Graduate From Avery County High School In 2019 Class

    June 13, 2019. Avery County High School held its annual commencement and graduation ceremony on June 7th in the school’s gymnasium, sending off the latest group of graduates into the next journey of their lives. There were 134 in the 2019 graduating class, which marks the 50th in the school’s history. The ceremony had to be moved indoors from the school’s MacDonald Stadium due to heavy rain. According to Avery Schools Superintendent Bryan Taylor, the 2019 graduating class received a half million dollars ($500,000.00) in scholarship awards to attend colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. The Avery High Band and chorus were featured during graduation as “Pomp and Circumstance” was played as the graduates marched into the gymnasium in front of a capacity crowd of family, friends, special guests, teachers and school system officials.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Area Native and Former Avery Resident Waddell Wilson to be Inducted Into NASCAR Hall of Fame


    May 30, 2019. Waddell Wilson, a former resident of Crossnore School & Children’s Home in Avery County and native of Bakersville (Mitchell County) who achieved legendary status in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) has been chosen for the profession’s ultimate milestone—enshrinement into its Hall of Fame. NASCAR announced a five-member group that will comprise its next Hall of Fame class (2020)– the 11th since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010—which, besides Wilson, an engine builder and crew chief, consists of drivers Tony Stewart, Buddy Baker and Bobby Labonte and team owner Joe Gibbs. In addition, NASCAR announced that Edsel Ford II earned the 2020 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.“ I’m deeply honored for being chosen for this ultimate NASCAR recognition,” Wilson stated. “I thank my family, friends, all those who have worked on crews for me, the drivers and team executives I’ve worked for, and racing fans. I’ve enjoyed my career in racing and I appreciate the association with so many good people. The fact I’m being inducted with such quality individuals and successful colleagues makes it extra special.” By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Memorial Day Ceremony Held To Honor and Remember Fallen Veterans

    May 30, 2019 On May 27 Avery County held its annual Memorial Day celebration to remember and honor its natives or residents who perished while fighting for our nation. The ceremony was held on the Newland Town Square its veterans monument, Armed Forces flags displays and gardens and the Fallen Officers, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Ten Commandments monuments.  Avery County’s Memorial Day Ceremony is organized and conducted every year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary, Pat Ray Post 4286, in Newland. Approximately 250 attended this year’s event, including various Avery County government officials. This year’s program began with an invocation from Reverend Larry Dale Stamey, a veteran of the US Army who served during the Vietnam Conflict. Next was a Posting of Colors by the Avery High School JROTC, followed by the National Anthem sung by county resident Tara Andrews and Avery High School Chorus. Other patriotic Music during the ceremony was supplied by Dee Raby and the Avery High School Band. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery 4-H Summer W.O.W. Program to be Held June 17-26

    May 24, 2019 The Avery County 4-H Summer W.O.W. (Wonderful Opportunities Waiting) Program has begun accepting applications for the upcoming summer. The Avery County 4-H staff has planned another exciting, fun and educational summer program for youth, ages 5 to 13 years old through this unique program, licensed by the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Education. The 4-H Summer W.O.W. will run June 17 to July 26, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The participation fee is $25 per day. That fee covers all activity costs, transportation to and from the main site, breakfast, lunch and a healthy snack each day of the program. Children from other nearby counties such as Watauga, Mitchell, and Burke as well as some from out-of-state have enrolled in the program in past years and it again opens this year to children of the proper ages from outside Avery County to enlist.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • YMCA Volunteer Awards Ceremony Held in Linville

    March 8, 2019 The recent Leonard & Marjorie Williams YMCA of Avery County Volunteer Awards Party recognized achievement and philanthropy from its contributors and other patrons for 2018. More than 75 attended the awards celebration Feb. 26 in the newly renovated Hugh Chapman Center in Linville, a building developed especially for Avery County’s teens. Each award recipient continues to play an important role in moving forward the North Carolina High Country in general and the Avery County community in particular. Everyone touched in various ways by the YMCA has a story to share of its many positive benefits, and every story can be traced back to a YMCA volunteer such as those honored at the ceremony who believed positive change was possible. Of the ten awards presented, one in particular stood out-The George Williams Award, named for Sir George Williams who founded the YMCA in London, England in 1844. The farmer-turned-department store worker became deeply troubled at age 22 as he witnessed other young men turning to dangerous influences.   Wanting to make a positive influence on others, Williams organized eleven friends for Bible study, prayer and escape from life on the streets. Thus the YMCA was formed. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Commissioners Announce Award of $610,000 Community Block Grant

    March 8, 2019 Avery County has been awarded a huge amount of funds through the Community Development Block Revitalization Grant, its commissioners announced during their regular monthly meeting March 4. All commissioners attended, including: Chairperson Martha Hicks; Vice-Chairman Blake Vance; Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Dennis Aldridge. Also present were: County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr.; Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Commissioners Cindy Turbyfill; Finance Officer Tim Greene; and County Attorney Michaelle Poore. The grant the county received is in the amount of $610,000.00. Although the vote of approval of a grant award is considered a formality, it is required to be voted on by government regulations. It was unanimously (5-0) approved by the commissioners. Hicks said the grant can be used for emergency housing repairs and replacement for locals, and was obtained with through the combined efforts of High Country Council of Governments’ Michelle Ball, Poore and Barrier, Jr. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Flu Deaths Continue to Climb State-Wide as Local Cases Surge

    March 8, 2019 North Carolina’s number of flu-related deaths has reached 119, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services reported Thursday. A total of 11 people died from the flu during the week that ended March 2, and an additional 10 victims were added to totals from previous weeks. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported that for the first time this year, a child who was 4 or younger died from a flu-related illness last week. Also among the dead was a child between 5 and 17 as well as a young person between 18 and 24. So far, 73 of the victims were ages 65 or older. Officials from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services cautioned that the total number of deaths does not represent all flu-related deaths in the state because many may not be reported or even diagnosed. And to protect patient privacy, the state health department does not indicate which counties the deaths occurred in. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Greg Seiz Resigns as Newland Alderman

    February 15, 2019 During the Town of Newland’s regular monthly meeting, Alderman Greg Seiz announced he is stepping down from the post. His resignation became official then. Mayor Valerie Calloway Jaynes read a letter from Seiz, stating his intentions to resign as an alderman. Seiz said he is moving his residence to Linville Ridge Resort in Linville. When doing so, he would become ineligible to serve as a Newland Alderman as all elected town officials must reside within its limits. Seiz’s resignation marks the third time in only sixteen months that a Newland Alderman’s seat has become open for reasons other than a sitting member not seeking re-election or losing an election. Donetta McKinney also resigned as an alderman in October 2017. The then-Board of Aldermen voted for Seiz to fill McKinney’s two-year term (until 2019’s election) by a 3-0-1 (for-against-abstained) vote.  Seiz’s appointment gave him an automatic win of sorts for a Board seat as he had previously filed as a candidate for one of three other seats open in the November 2017 election.  Aldermen voting in favor of Seiz’s appointment then were Kenny Caraway, Dave Calvert and Roxanna Roberson.  Alderman Thomas Jackson abstained.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Linville Resorts Board of Directors Member John Mangan Receives University of Georgia Sports Award


    February 15, 2019 John Mangan, a member of the Board of Directors at Linville Resorts, Inc. has received one of the University of Georgia Athletics Department’s most prestigious honors. Mangan, a letterwinner and All-America tennis player at the University of Georgia, as well as a highly-successful businessman and philanthropist, was named the Hartman Award recipient for the past 2018 year at the university’s annual Circle of Honor Gala February 8th. Named for the late Bill Hartman, Georgia’s longtime kicking coach and chairman of the Georgia Student Educational Fund (Bulldog Club), the Hartman Award is one of the greatest honors given to a former University of Georgia student-athlete. The Hartman Award has been presented annually since 1992 and recognizes former Georgia student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in their profession and/or in service to others by 20 or more years of superior performance after graduation. Only former varsity athletes who have received a baccalaureate degree from Georgia can be considered for the award.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Conversation with Avery Senior Services Director Philip Adams


    February 6, 2019 Known by his family, friends, colleagues and those who use Avery County Senior Services for his excellent leadership skills as well as his kindness and compassion for others—especially the less fortunate– is the department’s apt director, Reverend Philip Adams. The Avery Senior Services Department in Newland has a most worthwhile reason for existence for the County’s golden citizens. Its mission statement reads: to promote the well-being of the County’s older adults by supporting services and activities which are intended to support their health and independence, enhance their dignity and encourage their involvement in and with the community. Continue reading for an interview exchange between this reporter (my questions) and Adams (his answers) about the multitude of services available to Avery’s senior citizens through his department. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • 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…



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