• 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…



  • 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…



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