• Avery County Schools to Have Wide Area Network Internet Access through SkyLine/SkyBest Beginning this School Year

    July 8, 2020 SkyLine/SkyBest announced that they have been working with Avery County Schools to provide Wide Area Network (WAN) high-speed internet access to all the schools in the county. “We have partnered with SkyLine/SkyBest for many years to provide network services to portions of Avery County Schools, and we are very happy to be able to expand that partnership to cover our entire district-wide area network,” said Dennis Brown, the Executive Director of Human Resources with Avery County Schools. “The expansion of network services to our schools provides opportunity for both our schools communities to enjoy quality high-speed internet service.” Installation of fiber networks has been ongoing in Avery County and this will allow for the network to be operating as schools begin the 2020-21 year. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • One Additional Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in Avery County; Total Now up to 10

    June 22, 2020 Avery County has reached double figures in confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Avery County Health Department, part of Toe River Health District, was notified that this tenth resident of the county tested positive for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The announcement about the infected individual was made on June 21. The individual is in isolation and this specific case is not related to any of the county’s other COVID-19 cases, according to TRHD officials. To protect individual privacy, no further information about this case will be released. Of Avery County’s 10 COVID-19 cases, 5 are active, while 5 of the individuals who contracted the disease have recovered, the TRHD noted. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Sheriff’s Department Featured on WBTV for Delivering Essential Items to the Elderly


    March 30, 2020 Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye announced on Wednesday, March 18, that the Sheriff’s Department will assist with delivering groceries, prescriptions and other items in the county during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Their positive effort for the community led to WBTV putting together a story on what Sheriff Frye and his department are doing to help those in need throughout Avery County. In a previous High Country Press story, Sheriff Frye announced that the service began on March 19 and has helped the elderly and those with immune system problems be able to get food and medication without having to get out of the house. / Read more…



  • Visitor Restrictions Remain in Effect at Appalachian Regional Healthcare Facilities Because Of High Increase in Flu Cases; 217 Patients Diagnosed Locally in 21-Day Period

    February 21, 2020 As of Friday, Feb. 21, visitor restrictions remain effective in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System hospitals–Watauga Medical Center in Boone and Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville –to help limit the spread of the flu as the number of flu cases has dramatically increased in recent weeks. “Flu cases have shown a steady increase as we enter the height of flu season,” said Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System in a press release a few weeks ago. “The flu virus spreads mainly person to person through coughing and sneezing. For the health and safety of our patients, we are asking the community to refrain from visiting to help protect the patients in our facilities.” Community members may visit if they: Are 18 years or older; Are healthy and do not have the flu or influenza-like illness, and do not live with anyone who has been diagnosed with the flu or influenza-like illness. The medical teams at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis for siblings of newborn babies and families of hospice or end of life patients.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Volume of Early Voting in Avery County Has Been High

    February 20, 2020 The Avery County Board of Elections is still reminding its residents that 2020 Primary Election Early Voting is underway in the county. And according to election officials, the county has witnessed a large voter turnout so far. Avery County Board of Elections Director Shelia Ollis said that a huge volume have taken advantage of Primary Election Early Voting to cast their ballots, which numbered 344 as of 12:00 Noon on Thursday, February 20.  That’s an average of approximately 63 per day. Primary Election Early Voting in Avery County began Thursday, February 13 and runs through Friday, February 28, excluding Saturdays and Sundays except for Saturday, February 29 when Early Voting will also be open. All Early Voting in the county must be done at the Avery Board of Elections Office, located in the Avery Court House Annex at 200 Montezuma Street in Newland.   By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Early Voting in Avery County Open For 13 Days, Starting February 13

    February 7, 2020. The Avery County Board of Elections is reminding its residents that the time period for early voting in the county begins on Thursday, February 13 and runs through Friday, February 28, excluding Saturdays and Sundays except for Saturday, February 29 when its Early Voting will also be open. All Early Voting in the county must be done at the Avery Board of Elections Office, located in the Avery Court House Annex at 200 Montezuma Street in Newland. The 2020 Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. “We’re expecting a very large voter turnout in Avery County this year, with many voters here taking advantage of Early Voting,” said Caleb Hogan, Assistant Director of the Avery County Board of Elections. Those who missed the regular voter registration deadline may still register and vote in Avery County during the early voting period, February 13-29. At an early voting site, registered voters may update their address, but not their party affiliation. Registered voters who wish to change their party affiliation were required to do so no later than February 7.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Flu Death Total Climbs to 63 in North Carolina as Appalachian Regional Hospital System Puts Visitor Restrictions in Effect and Ashe County Closes All Schools and Activities Until Feb. 10

    February 7, 2020. Nine more North Carolinians have died during the current 2019-2020 flu season, increasing the total to 63, the N.C. Division of Public Health officials said in their weekly flu report Thursday. Five deaths were reported for the week that ended Feb. 1, along with four deaths from previous weeks. Of the additional deaths, six were for individuals ages 65 and older, along with three ages 50 to 64. N.C. Department of Health and Human Services cautions the weekly report count does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state because many go undiagnosed or unreported. The division does not release a victim’s hometown, county, age or gender for legal privacy reasons. According to the Division of Public Health, of the 63 who have died in this season to date, 37 were 65 or older, 15 were ages 50 to 64, 10 were ages 25 to 49 and one was ages 5 to 17.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Community Paramedicine Program Receives $290,000 Grant from the Duke Endowment

    January 31, 2020. Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville recently received a three-year grant from The Duke Endowment totaling $290,000. These grant funds will allow Cannon Memorial Hospital and Avery Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to establish a Community Paramedicine Program to serve Avery County. Community Paramedicine is an innovative new healthcare model that seeks to provide underserved patients with improved access to public health and preventative healthcare services. Through the program, specially trained Community Paramedics visit patients in their homes to assess their overall health, living conditions, support structure and other social determinants of health. Avery EMS and Cannon Memorial Hospital will identify potential program participants through primary care referrals and by analyzing the highest utilizers of emergency services. By improving this populations’ health, the program will also reduce unnecessary EMS calls and emergency department visits, freeing up these services for true emergencies. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County is a Gun Sanctuary County

    January 30, 2020. Any debate over whether or not Avery County should declare itself a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” has long been over as its County Commissioners and County Manager have expressed a single resounding opinion: yes, it should. In fact, the Commissioners have adopted a resolution in support of the protection of The Right To Bear Arms. The Avery County Commissioners currently consist of: Chairperson Martha Hicks; Vice-Chairman Tim Phillips; Blake Vance, Dennis Aldridge; and Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr. Avery’s County Manager is Phillip Barrier, Jr. Vance was Vice-Chairman of the County Commission when it adopted the resolution last year (June Board of Commissioners meeting). The resolution cites The Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article 1, Section 30 of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, both which state: “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.” By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Number of Affected and Fatalities from Influenza Continues to Rise Across NC

    January 28, 2020. An additional eight North Carolinians have died during the current flu season, raising the total to 41, the N.C. Division of Public Health has reported. Six deaths were reported for the week that ended Jan. 18, along with two deaths from previous weeks. Of those deaths, four were for people ages 25 to 49; three were those 65 and older, and one was 50 to 64. It was the largest weekly victim total to date during the 2019-2020 flu season for the 25-to-49 age group. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services cautions the weekly report count does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state because many go undiagnosed or unreported. The division does not release a victim’s hometown, county, age or gender to the public due to legal privacy reasons. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Citizens Come Together to Organize a Winter Coat Drive with Special Event January 12


    December 31, 2019. As the ball drops on another year in the High Country, it’s never too late to consider how you might be able to help those less fortunate in your community. Avery County native Elizabeth Hempfling along with the High Country Charitable Foundation and Feeding Avery Families are pooling their resources together and asking the community to help out by donating new coats, jackets, gloves, hats, and other winter items to help make life a little easier for those that may be struggling to stay warm. “I grew up in Banner Elk so this is home to me. I’m not ashamed to admit I put socks on my hands to go play outside in the winter. It hit me that as it turns to winter up here, I don’t think there’s much attention given to the fact that there are people that don’t have jackets, don’t have gloves and don’t have the essentials to stay warm throughout the winter,” said Hempfling. Hempfling reached out to Jim Ward with the High Country Charitable Foundation to help launch this coat drive and get the word out.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Avery County Sheriff’s Office Made Christmas Joyous for Local Children


    December 27, 2019. Megan Phillips’ husband, Ridge Phillips, is a narcotics detective for the Avery County Sheriff’s Office.  Quoting Megan: “I have had the privilege to be a part of Shop with a Cop for 3 years now. It is truly one of the most rewarding traditions I get to experience during the holiday season. “Being a teacher at Banner Elk Elementary, I get to see the smiles on the kids’ faces when they come into school wearing their new clothes, coats, and boots. Many of these kids don’t ask for much, some ask for a battery-powered toothbrush, pillows, play dough, socks and underwear, things that most of us take for granted every day.” In addition to helping kids have a Merry Christmas, participating officers also help give children a positive impression of law enforcement personnel as friends and neighbors who care for them. Avery Sheriff Kevin Frye believes the program is good not only for local children but also for his personnel and family members.  It is a way they can give back to the community. / Read more…



  • Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce Donates Funds Collected at Inaugural Polar Plunge


    December 26, 2019. Banner Elk Chamber President Jo-Ann McMurray announced the donation of funds collected at inaugural Polar Plunge to Banner Elk Fire Chief Tyler Burr. Pictured here, left to right: Megan Lewis, Joseph Silver, Tyler Burr, Jo-Ann McMurray, Carol Seitz and JC Steinbaugh. The Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce is located on 100 Main Street at the streetlight in downtown Banner Elk and is open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Summer) and 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Winter). / Read more…



  • Multitude of Candidates Have Filed for Avery County, State and Federal Government Offices; Foxx No Longer Will Represent Avery Following Court Ruling

    December 20, 2019. Filing for the 2020 government elections ended at 12:00 Noon on Friday, Dec. 20 and dozens of candidates from the area filed for Federal, State and local offices, including sixteen for county-wide government seats that will be open in Avery County. For Clerk of Court, Interim Clerk of Court Teresa Benfield filed, along with Theresa Lewis King, Lisa Vance and Linda Webb.  Benfield has served in the interim role since the retirement earlier this year of longtime Clerk of Court Lisa Daniels. All four candidates have worked in various capacities in the judicial system.  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Inaugural Avery County High School Reunion Set for Saturday, October 26 in the School Gymnasium


    October 23, 2019. Did you attend or graduate from Avery County High School? Would you like to reconnect with former classmates and friends? Would you like to visit with old friends in other classes? Then the First Annual Avery County High School Reunion is for you! The three schools that consolidated to form ACHS (Newland High, Crossnore High, and Cranberry High) have had annual reunions for many years. Avery County High School has been in existence now for 50 years and there has never been an annual reunion for all classes. But finally, one will be held this Saturday, October 26, the day after Avery’s Homecoming Celebration and Football Game. The reunion will take place in the ACHS Gymnasium, located at 401 High School Road in Newland. It is free to attend and doors will open for fun and visiting at 1:30 p.m. The reunion will last until 5:30 with a special program at 2:30 p.m. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Commissioners Hear Report on Domestic and Sexual Violence

    October 9, 2019. Details of the past year’s work of OASIS, the organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Avery and Watauga counties was the headline topic of a light workload during the Avery Commissioners meeting on October 7. Commissioners–Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Blake Vance (Vice-Chairman); Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Dennis Aldridge were present. Other leading 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. OASIS stands for Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter, and is a private, non-profit entity. Its spokesperson Tiffany Moon gave the annual report to the commissioners, which is considered fitting as October is Domestic Awareness Month. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery High School Students Volunteer and Take College Tours with Mountain Alliance


    October 4, 2019. A select group of eight Avery County High School students recently had the opportunity to both prepare for their academic future and lend a helping hand. Through the non-profit organization Mountain Alliance, eight students from the high school toured N.C. State University, UNC-Wilmington and Campbell University, and spent time volunteering in Wilmington with the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM). “We are proud to offer this trip to students as we feel that touring colleges allows students the opportunity to envision themselves on a college campus,” said Brittany Starbuck, the Program Director at Mountain Alliance. “We try to include colleges that have differences so students can compare and think about what type of college they would be most happy and successful at.”  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Abigail Swanger Chosen to Elite Class of 15 ‘Afterschool Ambassadors’ in America


    October 1, 2019. Abigail Swanger is an interesting and highly-accomplished individual with a tremendously deep passion to help and be a mentor and positive influence on children. And her honorable efforts are being recognized across the nation—literally. The Afterschool Alliance has announced that Swanger, Family and Community Coordinator at WAMY’s Community Kids Afterschool Program for Avery County, has been selected to serve as an Afterschool Ambassador for the Afterschool Alliance in 2019-2020. Swanger, a Greenville, SC native and Appalachian State University graduate, is one of just 15 leaders in the United States chosen for this prestigious honor this year. Ambassadors will continue their work supporting local afterschool programs while serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term, organizing public events, communicating with policymakers and community leaders and in various other ways increasing awareness and support for afterschool and summer learning programs. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Native and Former McDowell County Sheriff Dudley Greene a Candidate for State House of Representatives


    October 1, 2019. Avery County native and former McDowell County Sheriff Dudley Greene announced in a press release Wednesday, Sept. 25, that he will file as a Republican candidate in next year’s election for the North Carolina House of Representatives. Greene is 56 years old. He will be seeking the seat currently occupied but being vacated by his fellow-Avery native, Josh Dobson, representing the 85th District consisting of Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties. Dobson is not seeking re-election to the post and has announced he is a candidate for North Carolina Labor Commissioner in 2020. Greene is a 1981 graduate of Avery County High School and a 1985 graduate of Mayland Community College, where he earned a degree in criminal justice. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Commissioners Honor Airport Authority as Part of ‘Celebrate County Government’

    September 11, 2019. The Avery County Airport Authority has been honored by the Avery County Commissioners. As part of Avery’s “Celebrate County Government,” originated by County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr., the Airport Authority members were recognized at a Board of Commissioners meeting last week. The Airport Authority directs operations for the Avery County Airport at Morrison Field, which encompasses approximately 70 acres and is located on Brushy Creek Road, one-fourth mile off U.S. Highway 19-E in the Ingalls Community. The Airport Authority members are appointed by the Avery County Commission. Each member is known to possess high volumes of expertise about the many intricacies of airport procedures in general and Avery’s Airport in particular. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae College Provides Update on Residence Hall Evacuation

    September 3, 2019. In the early morning hours of Friday, Aug. 30, Avery Residence Hall at Lees-McRae College was evacuated for a suspected gas leak. The Banner Elk Volunteer Fire Department received the call at 12:29 a.m. and joined college personnel in evacuating the building. Students were moved to the Cannon Student Center for examination by the responding EMS teams. Approximately 70 students were later transported to area hospitals, where they were treated with symptoms commonly associated with exposure to carbon monoxide. By midday, all students were released by local medical personnel. During the initial evacuation and subsequent sweeps, hardwired detectors in the building, and those worn by first responders were not triggered to elevated carbon monoxide levels. All devices were tested and found to be operational. / Read more…



  • Suspected Gas Leak at Lees-McRae College Residence Hall Friday Morning

    August 30, 2019. Some students from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk have been transported to local hospitals this morning following a suspected gas leak. According to Lee King, Lees-McRae’s president, residence facility Avery Hall was evacuated early Friday. King said those students were transported to area hospitals for additional observation and treatment. He said some have been released while others are still getting examine by medical professionals. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Preparations Continue For 2019 Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural Fair That Runs September 4-7


    August 29, 2019. The ever-popular Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural Fair is only one week away and preparations are on schedule for its opening on September 4, according to its Executive Director B.J. Beuttell. “All of us involved with the Avery County Fair are working feverishly to get everything ready for opening night and the three days it follows and we’re where we should be in terms of organization and having everything ready with nothing left to chance,” remarked Beuttell. The Avery A&H Fair will run Wednesday (September 4); Thursday (September 5), Friday (September 6) and Saturday (September 7). It will mark the second consecutive year that it will be hosted out of the Heritage Park property since the completion of the county’s new agriculture building on the site. Heritage Park is located at 661 Vale Road in Newland, approximately one-half mile behind the Ingles Markets Grocery Store. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • A Conversation with Avery County Department of Social Services Director Barbara Jones


    August 23, 2019. Regarded by her employees, colleagues, friends and especially those who use Avery County Social Services for her strong work ethic, keen eagerness to help those in need and never-ending compassion for her fellow human-beings is the department’s director, Barbara Jones. The Avery Senior Services Department has a most worthwhile reason for existence for the County’s citizens. Its mission statement reads: To be an advocate for and protector of the young, disabled, and aged citizens of Avery County.  To be an agency that works as a team to administer services and public assistance programs in an efficient, timely, consistent and professional manner. Continue reading for this reporter’s interview (my questions) with Jones (her answers) about the multitude of services available to Avery’s citizens through the Social Services Department and how her tenure in it has helped make her life fulfilling to the zenith, both professionally and personally. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Newland Aldermen Approve Site Plan; Sell Police Department Body Cameras to Village of Sugar Mountain

    August 14, 2019. The Town of Newland’s Board of Aldermen has approved a site plan for new homes on Vale Road and selling police department body cameras to the Village of Sugar Mountain, it was announced at the Board’s August regular monthly meeting. Board of Aldermen (Town Council) members Kenny Caraway, Christie Hughes, Lauren Turbyfill, and Jamey Johnson attended, while Alderman Dave Calvert was absent. Other town officials present at the meeting included: Mayor Valerie Jaynes; Town Administrator Keith Hoilman; Finance Officer Lise Meinhardt; and Town Clerk and Board of Aldermen secretary Tammy Gardner. Town Attorney Joe Seegers was absent. Rick Snyder, President of Snyder Surveying in Butler, TN presented the Board of Aldermen with layouts for five stick-built homes. Alderman Johnson made a motion to approve the site plan pending it’s within the guidelines of the Town’s ordinances. The motion carried unanimously (4-0). By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Discharge Permit Renewals Soon to be Approved or Denied For Avery, Mitchell Mining Companies

    August 12, 2019. An announcement is expected soon about whether five mining facilities in Avery and Mitchell Counties will be reissued wastewater discharge permits by the State of North Carolina. Sibelco has four facilities vying for permit renewal. One is in the Kalmia Community on the far Southern end of Avery County called Sibelco’s Schoolhouse Facility, located on Harris Mining Company Road. Mitchell County has the other three Sibelco facilities: the Crystal Facility on Crystal Drive in Spruce Pine and the Red Hill Facility, near Bakersville and its Quartz Facility on South Highway 226 in Spruce Pine. The Quartz Corporation wants permit renewals for a pair of its facilities, both of which are also located in Mitchell County – one (Feldspar) on Altapass Highway and the other (K-T Feldspar) on South Highway 226 Bypass. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery Board of Commissioners Learn Teenage Foster Care Needed; Receive News About County’s New Innovative Hospital Facilities

    August 8, 2019. Updates about foster care in the county and Charles H. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital and recognition of the Avery Morrison Library Board of Trustees members headlined a light workload during the Avery Commissioners meeting on August 5. Commissioners Martha Hicks (Chairperson); Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr.; Tim Phillips; and Dennis Aldridge were present. Commissioner Blake Vance (Vice-Chairman) was absent. 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. The Library Trustees were introduced and they and the library staff praised for providing the county what Avery Commission Chairperson Hicks called “the highest professional library service available.” The Library Trustees include Steve Bender, Clayton Harpold, Josh Smith, Kathee Massee, Susie Potter, and Aneda Johnson. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery High Football Looks To Be Improved in 2019

    August 5, 2019. In Mac Bryan’s first year as Avery High’s head football coach (2018), the Vikings struggled to find their new identity, only finishing 2-9 over-all and 1-4 in the Western Highlands 2-A, 1-A Conference. Their victories came over 2-A schools Draughn (32-28) and Madison (48-46), the latter a conference foe. 2019 football practice started for North Carolina High School Athletics Association schools August 1, and indications point to the 1-A Vikings being improved. Some publications are predicting Avery could be one of the area’s surprise prep teams this season. Nothing would please Bryan any better. The veteran coach has had coaching tenures as either an assistant or head coach at thirteen schools on various collegiate and prep levels, including a highly successful one as Lees-McRae College’s head coach. There he went 44-10-1 and led the Bobcats to a No. 1 ranking in the final National Junior College regular-season poll and the National Championship game in 1987. Bryan has compiled a 153-122-1 overall high school coaching record. He has the second most prep wins of any active head coach in the Western Highlands 2-A, 1-A Conference behind Polk County’s Bruce Ollis (217-154 over-all). By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery and Ashe Public Airports Receive $3,391,680 in Infrastructure Projects Grant Funding

    August 5, 2019. The North Carolina Board of Transportation has approved state and federal grants for various infrastructure improvement projects at a dozen North Carolina airports–including those in Avery and Ashe counties. Almost $7 million in state and federal funding has been awarded for projects that will improve runway lighting, establish new fueling areas, expand taxiways and otherwise help these airports grow and generally expand their services. An overall total of $6,944,476 was awarded. Avery’s public airport at Morrison Field, located in the far southern section of the county in the Ingalls Community, received the state’s highest grant amount and almost half of the total funds, with $3 million awarded. The money will be used to construct a new partial-length parallel taxiway and to finish the expansion of the aircraft parking apron. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Avery County Board of Education Approves New School Calendar with Earlier Start and End Dates

    July 31, 2019. The Avery County Board of Education held a special meeting last week and affirmed that a previously adopted school calendar with a start date of Wednesday, August 7, will still be used. By a 4-1 vote, Board members approved the new calendar, which circumvents a limitation on how early the system can begin classes. Voting in favor were John Greene, Pat Edwards, Jane Bumgarner, and Kathey Aldridge. Steve Smith voted against. The Board’s action came after a bill anticipated to be signed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would require local boards of education with school calendars that have starting dates earlier than the Monday closest to August 26, while noting the exemption that allows the earlier start date to the State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Tynecastle McDonald’s Restaurant Reopens Following Renovations After December 2018 Fire


    July 26, 2019. The McDonald’s fast-food restaurant located at Tynecastle, off N.C. Highway 105 in Invershield, which was severely damaged by fire last December, reopened on July 20. The location had been closed since the December 6 blaze. Renovations and repairs began at this McDonalds in May. The store was scheduled to undergo remodeling next year, but due to the fire, the store was remodeled ahead of schedule. It features new decor and an ordering kiosk like the one inside of the Newland McDonalds, which is also owned by Patrick and Heather Joyner. Renovations have already been completed on the Zuha Mart convenience store side of the facility, which also suffered extensive damage from the fire. Both businesses are comprehensive or under the same roof. The Zuha Mart also includes an Exxon Gas Island. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • 37th Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp Another Major Success


    July 25, 2019. Celebrating its 37th anniversary, the Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp was held July 15-19 at the Old Rock Gymnasium and adjacent auxiliary Newland Elementary School Gym. The former gymnasium’s playing floor is named “Tommy Burleson Court” in honor of Avery County’s most famous athlete ever. The Tommy Burleson Basketball Camp was founded in 1983 by Burleson, the legendary basketball star and Avery County native whose resume includes being an All-American at old Newland High and Avery County High and North Carolina State University. He also played on the 1972 United States Olympics team and helped lead the N.C. State Wolfpack to an undefeated (27-0) season in 1972-73 and a 30-1 record and the national championship the following season (1973-’74) before a professional playing career in the National Basketball Association. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • 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…



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