• Watauga County Schools Providing Extra Meals for Students over Spring Break


    April 8, 2020 Next week, Watauga County students and staff will be on spring break from April 13-17. Over the break, the nutrition staff will not be serving daily meals as all school facilities will be closed. WCS has planned ahead for that. This Friday, all children 18 and under who visit one of the sites on Friday will be provided with the regular meal service along with six additional shelf-stable meals for the week of spring break. The extra meals are available to any children 18 and under at any of Watauga County School’s distribution sites regardless of means or enrollment. “We are encouraging staff and students to take the time with their families and loved ones to enjoy a well-earned break. They’ve put in some incredible work over the past weeks! Our child nutrition staff will not be serving meals over spring break and our facilities will be closed, but we encourage families to come out to any of our meal distribution sites this Friday, April 10 to pick up extra meals for over the break,” said Garrett Price, the director of communication for Watauga County Schools. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Boone ABC Board Tentatively Approves Purchasing Liquor Back from Restaurants and Bars


    April 8, 2020 In an effort to help dine-in restaurants and bars make it through the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Boone ABC Board is finalizing the proper procedures necessary to purchase unopened alcohol. “We are trying to figure out exactly how to handle it. We have tentatively voted to do that but we just want to make sure what we are doing is okay with our accountants and the state ABC board,” said Boone ABC board member Charlie Wallin. Wallin says that restaurants and bars can sell back unopened, clean bottles that still have their labels on them that were purchased after January 1, 2020. Those selling their alcohol back to the store should also have their invoice ticket from when they purchased the alcohol. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Over 450,000 Unemployment Claims Filed in North Carolina; Flow Chart Explains What Benefits Are Available


    April 8, 2020 The $2 Trillion CARES Act was passed by Congress contains additional help for workers who lost jobs because of the coronavirus. It was a federal bill, but the NC Department of Employment Security (DES) is the agency that processes claims and issues checks. In the last three weeks, over 450,000 unemployment claims have been files with DES. Before the CARES Act, the maximum benefit in NC was $350 per week. With the CARES Act in place, additional money is available plus many people who were NOT eligible before will be eligible now for unemployment caused by coronavirus. Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): This program provides an additional $600 in weekly unemployment insurance benefits paid for weeks after March 29, 2020. The program is slated to end July 31, 2020. DES received Federal guidelines about this program Saturday and is now programming their system to handle these claims and checks. They believe the system will be operational next week. Once the system is in place, individuals who qualify will receive the additional $600/week retroactively. These checks will begin flowing in a couple weeks. / Read more…



  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Expands Access to Care Through New Telehealth Program


    April 8, 2020 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) has launched a new telehealth program to ensure patients have safe, convenient access to their providers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Through telehealth visits, patients can meet with a healthcare provider using a computer or mobile device from the safety of their own homes. Telehealth is most appropriate for routine visits such as simple acute care (sick visits), follow-up, wellness visits, and behavioral health concerns like depression, anxiety or grief. Appalachian Regional Medical Associates providers have been piloting the program and are pleased with the results. Telehealth appointments are available throughout the week during regular office hours. In-person appointments will be alternated with telehealth appointments to limit the number of patients in each office in accordance with social distancing guidelines. “We are incredibly proud of our providers and staff for moving quickly to implement this telehealth program for the benefit of our patients,” said Dr. Danielle Mahaffey, Chief Physician Executive, “They were asked to drastically adapt how they practice medicine, completed training, and began seeing patients within 14 days.” / Read more…



  • Luke Combs Concert at Kidd Brewer Stadium Rescheduled for May 2021


    April 8, 2020 Luke Combs fans will have to wait a full calendar year to see him put on a show at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Combs announced on Twitter at noon that the concert originally scheduled for May 2 will be rescheduled for May 1, 2021. “I’m sorry we’re having to do this, but the show at Kidd Brewer Stadium has been rescheduled to May 1, 2021. This was going to be a dream come true and still will be one year later. I will see y’all then,” Combs said. Tickets already purchased for the concert will be honored for next year’s date. Luke Combs is a multi-platinum, award-winning musician from Asheville, NC, who stormed onto the music landscape as one Country’s brightest stars. Combs attended Appalachian State University and got his music start right here in Boone playing local shows. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Burn Ban Issued for 32 Western North Carolina Counties Due to Hazardous Forest Fire Conditions


    April 8, 2020 Due to increased fire risk, the N.C. Forest Service has issued a ban on all open burning and has canceled all burning permits for the following counties in western North Carolina: Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey. The burning ban went into effect on Friday, April 3, 2020, and will remain in effect until further notice. “With spring wildfire season on us, coupled with the COVID-19 crisis, we don’t need to take any unnecessary chances with the dry weather and fuel conditions that will exist in the western part of our state during the next several days,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Until we see more greening in western North Carolina, these hazardous forest fire conditions will continue. This open burning ban is a necessary step to protect lives and property.” / Read more…



  • N.C. Wildlife Commission Encourages All Trout Anglers to Remember Social Distancing Guidelines


    April 8, 2020 Hatchery-supported trout waters in North Carolina officially opened on Saturday as anglers had a beautiful opening day of the season all across the western part of the state. With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in full swing, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission is asking anyone that is out fishing to remember the proper social distancing protocols while they are out on the water. All anglers should maintain six feet between themselves. Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, which are marked by green-and-white signs, have been closed since Feb. 29 so that Commission staff can stock the waters with trout. Staff will continue to stock certain streams through August. Staff will stock many of these waters monthly, although they will stock some heavily fished waters more frequently. Over the six months, staff will stock nearly 767,000 trout — 96 percent of which will average 10 inches in length, with the other 4 percent exceeding 14 inches in length. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Ingwersen Appointed Interim Finance Officer During Social-Distancing Avery County Commissioners Meeting Held Monday

    April 8, 2020 Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the main topic of news in Avery County and its commissioners have taken action, and may continue to adopt other measures to try to combat it locally. But they’ve also had other items of county business to address recently, many of which they did so at their regular monthly meeting April 6th. Some of the commissioners and county officials were in the Commission Chambers and at least six feet apart from each other during the meeting and others at remote sites such as their homes or offices. The meeting was streamed live via the Internet on YouTube and could be accessed on the County of Avery web site (averycountync.gov). Barrier, Jr. thanked his fellow county officials and employees as well as all other Avery County Citizens for their efforts in combating COVID-19. He said: “Everyone in the county has worked so hard and took the necessary precautions to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and through our continued efforts we will help defeat it. I deeply appreciate the hard work of so many as we combat this pandemic.” By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: It’s Still Holy Week and Easter Is Still Easter


    April 8, 2020. While most everything in our lives these days seems way off base, there is one thing, at least, that has not changed. Easter Sunday is just hours away — and if nothing else gives us hope, that should do it. For many of us the whole world over, Easter symbolizes one of the most wondrous times of the year as the observance honors the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is it easy for me, as a Christian, to relate its significance to the season in which it is always observed. Surely, it’s no coincidence that Easter comes around just as nature springs forth from its dormant state in the dark, damp ground and everything comes back to life once again. While current conditions in our world might put tradition on the back burner — no big gatherings for food and fun with family and friends — we can still observe this special occasion as a time of reflection and renewal. It is my hope that, even amid the chaos and uncertainty, that each of you will be richly blessed during this holy season. Even if we can’t be in physical contact with all those we love, we can be assured that the one who gave His life for us still loves us and cares about our well-being. I have chosen some simple recipes this week for Easter, hoping that those in your home will still be able to enjoy a special time together. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell’s April 7th Newsletter on Coronavirus Updates, Announcements and Info

    April 8, 2020 Across the United States, as of Tuesday afternoon, April 7, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 395,277. We are sure more people have the virus who have not been tested. Sadly, 12,784 people have died from coronavirus. Almost 1200, people died because of the virus in the last 24 hours. In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 3,257. Currently, 354 people are hospitalized with coronavirus. To date, 53 North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. Seven Watauga County residents have tested positive for coronavirus. A second individual in Ashe County tested positive today. So far, all individuals who tested positive had a travel history or contracted the virus from a person known to have the virus.. / Read more…



  • Cannon Hospital Requests Coronavirus Donations of Hand Sanitizer for Staffers and Patients

    April 8, 2020 Officials at Charles A. Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville are asking for assistance from the community, by way of hand sanitizer, to assist in protecting both patients and health care workers from Coronavirus. The request of hand sanitizer comes at a time when there is a national shortage and the number of COVID-19 patients is rising across the nation, state and region. Cannon officials said the hospital will purchase or replace the hand sanitizer contributions when adequate supplies are available again. Those interested in making donations should contact: Stephanie P. Greer, MBA, Director of Behavioral Health Services at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System by phone at (828) 737-7636 or email [email protected] Donations are being accepted at the hospital. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Paycheck Protection Program Update on Loans for Small Businesses in Their Communities

    April 8, 2020 Since the launch of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program on Friday, April 3, North Carolina bankers worked through the weekend and around the clock processing Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses in their communities. Nationwide, as of Tuesday afternoon, 3,299 banks and other SBA-approved lenders had processed 265,000 applications totaling $71 billion.  “Bankers are working as fast as humanly possible to meet the overwhelming demand for Paycheck Protection Program loans,” said NCBA President & CEO Peter Gwaltney. “North Carolina banks have committed significant resources to originate these loans for small businesses in the communities that they serve. Our member banks are proud to play a role in the administration of this important economic relief program.  / Read more…



  • April 1st Census Day Brings Large Bump In North Carolina Daily Response Rates

    April 8, 2020 April 1, 2020 was National Census Day, a key reference date for the 2020 Census that is used to determine who is counted and where in the 2020 Census. National Census Day brought the largest single day response rate in North Carolina (3.2 percent) seen since the Bureau has been reporting self-response rates. Of the 50 states and Washington, DC, North Carolina had the 12th highest ­bump in cumulative response rates due to Census Day, gaining 3.2 percentage points. Internet Census responses accounted for 91 percent of that 3.2 percent increase. Responses on April 2, 2020, which were reported on April 3, 2020, fell to prior daily response levels. The top ten counties that saw the largest bumps from April 1, 2020 to April 2, 2020 were:  / Read more…



  • Watauga, Avery Obituaries – April 7, 2020

    April 7, 2020. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • Statement from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul about COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments for Beneficiaries

    April 7, 2020 “I want to provide an update to people who receive benefits from the Social Security Administration. The Department of the Treasury (Treasury) announced on April 1 that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an economic impact payment. The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 to generate $1,200 economic impact payments to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Treasury, not Social Security, will make automatic payments to Social Security beneficiaries. Beneficiaries will receive these payments by direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their Social Security benefits.  / Read more…



  • Second Ashe County Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19; Had Close Contact to Someone with Known Travel History

    April 7, 2020 An Ashe County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This is the second positive case in Ashe County. This case was a close contact to someone with known travel history and is recovering at home. The local health department staff have identified close contacts who are in quarantine. Contact investigation continues to identify people who are at highest risk and need to quarantine. AppHealthCare will not be releasing additional information about this case in order to protect patient privacy.  / Read more…



  • Greenway Baptist Church Child Development Center Offering Free Emergency Child Care for Eligible Essential Workers


    April 7, 2020 As more and more workers deemed as “essential employees” continue to be on the front lines of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many are faced with the question of what to do with their children when they have to work. Greenway Baptist Church’s Child Development Center is trying to fill the void left by schools by offering child care for these families. “As of April 1, we became what is known as an Emergency Child Care Provider. Our license is for up to age 12 and we would take the extra children in starting in April and after that, it would depend on how long the COVID-19 crisis extends. Right now they would be coming in to take the place of our children that have chosen to stay home until after the pandemic,” said Phyllis Taylor, Director of the Child Development Center.. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • AppHealthCare Releases Guidance for Use of Cloth Masks and Face Coverings

    April 7, 2020 AppHealthCare and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) are following the guidance for use of cloth masks or face coverings by the general public as issued by the recommendations recently issued by the CDC. The CDC recommends “wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” “We know that community transmission is occurring in North Carolina and even though we have a lower number of identified cases in our communities at this time, we believe additional tools should be added to our toolbox to help lessen the effects of COVID-19. The use of cloth masks or face coverings by the general public should not replace social distancing and other everyday prevention measures like handwashing, covering your cough or sneeze or staying home when you are sick,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare.  / Read more…



  • SURVEY: NFIB Sees Abrupt Turn in Small Business Optimism, Ending a 39-Month Historic Run

    April 7, 2020 The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 8.1 points in March to 96.4, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history. Nine of the 10 Index components declined, which is evidence that economic disruptions are escalating on Main Street as small businesses struggle to keep their doors open. The small business sector is anticipating and bracing for continued economic disruptions going forward. “Small businesses are living through the coronavirus pandemic right now and it’s hard to say what the severity of the disruption will be, but we do know they’re feeling the urgency,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “It is vital that these businesses have access to federal funds that are made available through the CARES Act to keep the doors open on Main Street.”  / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell’s April 6th Newsletter on Coronavirus Updates, Announcements and Info

    April 7, 2020 Across the United States, as of Monday afternoon, April 6, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 364,059,. Of those, 10,792 people have died (averaging over 1000 people per day for the last six days). The number of people with the virus and the number of deaths are grow at an exponential rate, doubling every 3 to 4 days. In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 2913. Currently, 270 people are hospitalized with coronavirus. Sadly, 43 North Carolinians have died from coronavirus. Seven Watauga County residents have tested positive for coronavirus. One Ashe County resident has tested positive. To date, all individuals who tested positive had a travel history or contracted the virus from a person known to have the virus. / Read more…



  • April 6 Update From NC Senator Jeff Jackson from District 37 – Mecklenburg; About Infection Totals for NC; Liquor Stores and Car Inspections

    April 6, 2020 CURRENT STATS (as of 4/6 at 3:00 p.m.) 2,900+ cases / 270+ hospitalizations / 42 deaths / Five days ago I sent you a projection of ICU capacity in North Carolina under the strain of the COVID pandemic from a national group that used an off-the-shelf model for all 50 states. At that time, it was the best projection we had. Today we have a new projection built specifically for North Carolina by a collaboration of researchers at UNC, Duke, and RTI. They built their projection by using a composite of three different models, each with varying assumptions of variables like hospitalization rates and transmissibility. It considers two scenarios: 1) We maintain our current posture (stay home order extends beyond April 29, schools and non-essential business remain closed), and 2) we lift those restrictions at the end of April. / Read more…



  • Rock United Relief Fund – Blowing Rock Business Relief Program Announced by the Blowing Rock Chamber and The Village Foundation


    April 6, 2020 The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and The Village Foundation are pleased to announce the creation of the Rock United Relief Fund. This fund is dedicated solely to helping our businesses survive the impacts of COVID-19. Starting immediately, small businesses located within the Blowing Rock postal code will be entitled to apply for grants by completing and submitting Business Relief Grant Requests on the form found on the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce website at www.LoveBlowingRock.com, or The Village Foundation website at www.VillageFoundationofBR.org. / Read more…



  • Avery County Road Sign Reminds Residents to Follow Coronavirus Safety Protocols


    April 6, 2020 Residents and travelers in Avery County were greeted with a sign at the county line on N.C. Highway 105 to heed all advisories and orders in regards to staying safe during this COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. “We put our emergency management road sign up on 105 just to help with some information in that high traffic area,” said Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier. “We only have one sign so we may take it around and park it different places.” While there is only so much information that can be put on the electronic sign, it does remind people of the two most critical safety guidelines. “We want to practice social distancing because that’s the only thing we have right now that is proven that we can do. It’s another opportunity to get the word out on that and we are recommending that if you stay the night anywhere in the United States and you come back here, you should self-quarantine for 14 days,” said Barrier. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Winter Farmers’ Market Opened Saturday with a New Outdoor Setting


    April 6, 2020 Despite COVID-19 coronavirus fears, the winter farmers’ market organized by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture opened outdoors at the Horn in the West in Boone. The winter market is typically held indoors at the agriculture conference center, but after being closed for the month of March, the winter market reopened in a more wide-open environment. “We worked with the Town of Boone and the health department to develop a list of rules and strategies based on our partners around the state and around the nation who are running farmers’ markets outside,” said Kelsey Crawford, who is the programs coordinator for Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. Each vendor is at least 10 feet apart and every vendor is required to wear masks and use gloves when they’re handling money. Every customer in line is at least six feet apart. Customers are also asked to not pick things up on vendor tables and instead point to the items they would like to purchase or point to the items they have questions about. This year’s winter market is a little bit different with no craft vendors as they are not considered an essential business. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC: Coordinating the Emergency Food Response in Watauga County

    April 3, 2020  In response to the recent public health threat, the High Country community is coming together like never before to ensure every individual and family have the resources needed to supply their basic needs. Part of this work is remembering and recognizing programs and organizations that are in-place to support emergency food. “We have a vibrant, adapting emergency food system in the High Country that is prepared and ready to meet the needs of the community, but they cannot do it alone,” explains Amanda Hege with Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC. “The key to success is collaboration and coordination on all levels.” Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC is the primary source of food for a network of more than 470 local food assistance programs (pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and meals programs for children and seniors) throughout 18 counties in Northwest North Carolina, including Casting Bread Ministries, First Baptist Church Boone, Greenway Baptist, Hospitality House, and the Hunger and Health Coalition in Watauga County. / Read more…



  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Seeks Donations of Hand Sanitizer


    April 3, 2020 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is seeking donations of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. “Our normal suppliers are not able to keep up with the demand and have canceled the orders we placed previously,” said Rob Hudspeth, Sr. Vice President. Businesses or individuals with extra hand sanitizer are asked to help. We will gladly accept gifts of any size or container of hand sanitizer, including travel size bottles and spray pens. Donations must be alcohol-based, not homemade, and contain at least 60% alcohol. If you have hand sanitizer to donate, please bring it to the security checkpoint at Watauga Medical Center or the front entrance at Cannon Memorial Hospital. If you have questions, please contact Brian Whitfield at [email protected] or 828-262-9105. / Read more…



  • Unemployment Claims Continue to Skyrocket; North Carolina has had Over 350,000 claims since March 16


    April 3, 2020 While everyone is worried about their health, and rightfully so, how people are going to bounce back to normal when this COVID-19 pandemic ends is going to be a worry for millions of people across the country that have lost their jobs either temporarily or permanently. In North Carolina, a total of 20,710 people file unemployment claims on Wednesday alone, which brings the total in North Carolina to 353,480 since March 16. New data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center shows the percentage of each county’s working population whose jobs are in an at-risk industry. According to the data, Watauga County has 38 percent of its working population in an at-risk profession. 19 percent of those jobs are in the accommodations and foodservice industry, 16 percent are in the retail trade industry and three percent are in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • LETTERS / Announcing the “Rock United Relief Fund” to Help Small Businesses

    April 3, 2020 Letters to the Editor. By Charlie Sellers – Mayor, Blowing Rock / As difficult and frightening as the COVID-19 virus is to all of us as individuals, it is even more so to the restaurants, hotels, retailers and other small businesses at the heart and core of Blowing Rock. The future and vibrancy of our wonderful Village is dependent upon the continued success and ongoing operation of these small businesses, especially those in the travel and leisure business. Hopefully we as individuals will survive this crisis, but the survival of our small businesses is increasingly at risk as the COVID-19 economic shutdown continues. As a community, there is a growing realization that we must do something to help our small businesses through this unprecedented and difficult time. To this end, I am pleased to announce the creation by the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce of the “Rock United Relief Fund”, dedicated solely to helping our small businesses survive. Read more…



  • Chief Justice Beasley Issues Order Postponing Court Proceedings Until June 1, 2020

    April 3, 2020 “Judicial officials and court personnel statewide are going above and beyond to serve the public during this health emergency,” said Chief Justice Cheri Beasley. “My number one priority is to protect them and the public by limiting gatherings and foot traffic in our county courthouses, while making sure our courts stay available to serve the public.” The April 2 order follows Governor Roy Cooper issuance of Executive Order 121 on March 27, 2020, directing all individuals in the state to stay in their place of residence subject to limited exceptions. North Carolina’s courts are a critical government function and are therefore exempt from the Order. Nevertheless, the courts are directed, to the extent practicable, to maintain social distancing requirements, including “facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible.” / Read more…



  • Gas Prices Continue to Tumble Across North Carolina and the Rest of the Country


    April 3, 2020 The price for a gallon of gas in the High Country is at or below the state average of $1.84 per gallon, according to gas prices from the app GasBuddy. The lowest price in Boone resides at Gastown on Hardin Street where the price if $1.79 a gallon for regular. At the Exxon on Blowing Rock Road and the Carolina Petro on Blowing Rock Road, gas is $1.81 per gallon. The Mobil Circle K stores on Highway 105, King Street and Blowing Rock road have their prices set at $1.85 per gallon. The Speedway locations on Highway 105, Blowing Rock Road and King Street are also showing a price of $1.85 per gallon. In Ashe County, the prices are still a bit above the state average. Backyard Convenience on South Jefferson Avenue in West Jefferson has the lowest price at $1.90 per gallon. Murphy USA at Walmart has a price of $1.91 per gallon. Valero, Ingles, Quality Plus and Speedway in West Jefferson are all charging $1.95 per gallon for regular.By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • COVID-19 Testing Update from AppHealthCare; Over 200 Tests Collected in Watauga County

    April 3, 2020 Testing numbers continue to creep up in each of the three counties that AppHealthCare provides information more. As of Thursday, a total of 222 COVID-19 tests have been collected inside Watauga County with 69 of those tests from AppHealthCare and 153 of those from other agencies. Only one test was collected on Thursday. In Ashe County, 31 tests have been conducted and they had their first positive test announced on Friday morning. AppHealthCare administered five of those 31 tests. In Alleghany County, they have had two positive tests out of 22 tests conducted. AppHealthCare collected five of those samples while 17 samples came from outside agencies. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae May School of Nursing and Health Sciences Donates Medical Supplies to Several High Country Medical Centers

    April 3, 2020 Faculty from the Lees-McRae May School of Nursing and Health Sciences (MSONHS) pooled together extra supplies from the Hart Simulation Lab to donate to several High Country medical centers. “As COVID-19 started marching across the world, [Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences] Dr. Kimberly Priode directed the faculty to start thinking about what supplies we could donate to our clinical partners,” Assistant Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences Dr. Teresa Darnall said. The supplies—which included surgical masks with face shields, infectious disease kits, molded masks, both sterile and non-sterile gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and fluid-impervious gowns—were donated to the Toe River Health District. The district is currently on the front lines for the testing and monitoring of COVID-19 in three Western North Carolina counties—Yancey, Mitchell, and Avery. / Read more…



  • Ashe County Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19; Was in Close Contact to Someone with Known Travel History

    April 3, 2020 An Ashe County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This is the first positive case in Ashe County. This case was a close contact to someone with known travel history and is recovering at home. The local health department staff have identified close contacts, who have been in quarantine. “We have been preparing should we see a positive case of COVID-19 in Ashe County. Now that we have a positive case, we will continue to work diligently to protect the public’s health. It is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare. AppHealthCare is working closely with local partners and agencies to ensure the public’s health is protected and precautions are being taken to protect all residents of Ashe County. / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae Announces Campus Operation Updates, Campus Closed to the Public

    April 3, 2020 Following the Stay at Home executive order issued by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper Friday, March 27, Lees-McRae College has made several key updates to campus operations. All in-person classes, both on the main campus in Banner Elk and those held at Surry Community College, will take place remotely for the remainder for the spring semester. Students will continue to receive information from their respective instructors through the learning management system. For the safety of both the employees and the local community, campus is closed to the public, including the Mill Pond and the Athletic Complex and fields. Campus will be monitored regularly by college security. / Read more…



  • NFIB Survey: Coronavirus Impact on Small Businesses; 92% of Small Employers Impacted Negatively by Outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus

    April 3, 2020 The NFIB Research Center released the following data today on the impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses: The NFIB Research Center’s latest survey on the current impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on small business shows continued deterioration of the small business sector. The severity of the outbreak and regulatory measures that cities and states are taking to control it are having a devastating impact on small businesses.  Currently, 92% of small employers are negatively impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a continued escalation from 76% of small employers reporting negative impacts 10 days earlier. About 3% are positively impacted. These firms are likely experiencing stronger sales due to a sharp rise in demand for certain products, goods, and services. This will likely ease in the coming weeks as consumers feel more secure about their personal supply levels. / Read more…



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