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Avery Among Fifteen Counties to Receive State Funds to Help Complete High-Speed Internet Connection

June 20, 2024 The North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity announced on June 17 that $67 million in Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program awards to connect 15,835 households and businesses to high-speed internet in fifteen counties across the state.  Avery is the only county in the North Carolina High Country to receive this funding through a program that creates a partnership with local governments to close the digital divide. These projects will be funded by nearly $35 million from the federal American Rescue Plan awarded by NCDIT, nearly $16 million from counties, and more than $16 million from selected broadband providers. By Tim Gardner

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ASU’s DEI Programs To Be “Defunded” – Part II

June 20, 2024. As previously reported (in a Part I HCP Column dated June 5), in May 2024, the UNC Board of Governors passed a new Policy that “defunds” the DEI bureaucracies at all 16 UNC public universities, including Appalachian State University (“ASU”). This Part II Column reports on and summarizes some aspects of the currently existing ASU DEI bureaucracies and their activities, some local reactions to the new UNC Policies, and previews some likely changes at ASU as a result of the new UNC Policies. By Mark A. Murphy PhD, JD

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: A Spoonful of Comfort Starts Here


June 13, 2024 . Most everyone who knows me knows, by now, that the first five months of this year have been quite a roller-coaster ride for my family and me. First, a fall on January 2 resulted in a mild brain bleed and a brief stay at the local hospital’s intensive care unit. About seven weeks later, as I was beginning to feel “normal” again, my first cousin and dear friend died at the age of 68. Just a week later, my brother had a serious reaction to a medication that ultimately claimed his life 12 weeks later.  In the meantime, my husband and I joined his wife and other relatives at his bedside as much as possible, three hours from home. To say that I have been mentally and physically exhausted, with no motivation to write, is an understatement. I wasn’t sure that I could do any of this again, but, I’m slowly gaining strength and remembering/desiring/needing the satisfaction I’ve always gotten from sharing the written word. By Sherrie Norris

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Johnston County Native and Business Owner Sworn in as Wildlife Commissioner 

June 10, 2024 The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) welcomes Commissioner Reid Smith to its governing board. Smith was sworn in by Representative John R. Bell, IV on June 6 at the Commission’s business meeting in Raleigh.Smith was appointed as an At-Large member by Speaker of the House of Representatives Tim Moore and will serve until at least June 2025.

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Paul Hunter Speagle and patrick j richardson Share Edgewood Cottage as Artists in Residence Through June 16

This Week at Edgewood Cottage… We’re excited to welcome you, our visitors, and two distinctive artists to the Cottage this week, Paul Hunter Speagle and patrick j richardson, who both work in oil but with two entirely different perspectives.   Paul Hunter Speagle’s work is innovative, versatile, timeless and yet very today. Paul creates expressive and colorful works that reflect his passions and beliefs. Through painting, sculpture and more recently public murals, Paul experiments with light brushwork and composition to create his work. Come meet this creative artist, born and raised in Hickory, with work exhibited in Tokyo, Madrid and Art Basel in Miami. Paul is at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock one week only from June 10 through June 16.  It’s often said that art and math/science are very close neighbors on the  continuum of life skills.  Our second artist in the Cottage this week patrick joseph richardson makes that case.  Following a 30-career developing innovative technologies in engineering, and three patents later, patrick turned to his first love:  creating art.  patrick presents compelling art through the lens of science and nature.  Come meet patrick and Paul at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock from June 10 through June 16, 10 …

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UNC Governors Defund DEI Bureaucracies in NC State Universities, Part I

June 5, 2024. On Thursday May 23 2024, the UNC Board of Governors “defunded” the DEI bureaucracies in all 16 UNC public universities, including Appalachian State University (“App”). They also prohibited many of the actions and politicized activities the DEI bureaucracies have been promoting in the UNC Public Universities. This Part I Column will report on and explain the Board of Governor’s decisions and new policies, and Part II of this column will focus on recent related perspectives and likely effects on App. By Mark A. Murphy PhD, JD

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Beanstalk Ziplines Announces the Grand Opening of the New Aerial Challenge Course on June 12, 2024

June 4, 2024 Beanstalk Ziplines is thrilled to announce the grand opening of its highly anticipated Aerial Challenge Course, set to open on June 12, 2024. This exciting new addition promises an exhilarating adventure for visitors of all ages, featuring a variety of challenges designed to test skill, endurance, and bravery.Located in the heart of the scenic Morganton area, Beanstalk Ziplines has long been a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The new Aerial Challenge Course is set to elevate the adventure experience with an array of innovative obstacles, including rope bridges, swinging logs, balance beams, and, of course, high-flying zip lines.

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Artist in Residence Program Celebrates 15 Years

June 2, 2024 Come celebrate the 15th year of the Blowing Rock Historical Society’s Artist-in-Residence program at Edgewood Cottage.  Each year, through a juried selection process, 30 regional artists rotate weekly throughout the summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day week. Beginning June 3,  we welcome Waitsel Smith, watercolor and oil, and Kathryn Regel, mixed media and pencil drawing, and collage.

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MRS. DANELLE MARTIN NAMED MRS. NORTH CAROLINA 2024

May 30, 2024 On Sunday, May 5, 2024, Danelle Martin of Banner Elk in Avery County, North Carolina and Charlotte in Mecklenburg County, won the title of Mrs. North Carolina America and the opportunity to represent her state at the nationally televised Mrs. America competition on August 28, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada.Danelle is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she majored in Communications and minored in American Sign Language. She was also a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She has been married to her husband, Chris, for sixteen years and they share three children.

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Blue Ridge Fiber Guild Returns to Jones House for Annual Exhibit

May 28, 2024  The Blue Ridge Fiber Guild is proud to announce the return of its annual exhibit at the Jones House in downtown Boone, from June 4-June 30. The guild exhibit features fiber art in various forms, from wearables to wall art, that range in style from traditional to contemporary. Featuring an array of color and texture harmonies, they are constructed in knitting, crochet, weaving, felting, surface design, and quilting.The Blue Ridge Fiber Guild was organized in the early 1980s by fiber enthusiasts. Its purpose is to promote traditional as well as contemporary fiber art. The organization now serves a five-county area and has monthly meetings in the Boone area that feature programs and workshops.

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Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Open June 1 

May 23, 2024. The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open 32 trout streams and two lakes classified as Delayed Harvest to trout harvest on June 1 through Sept. 30.From 6 a.m. until 11:59 a.m. on opening day, Delayed Harvest waters are open only to youth under 18 years old. At noon, waters open to all anglers. During this time, anglers can keep up to seven trout per day — with no gear or bait restrictions and no minimum size limits. The Wildlife Commission established the youth-only fishing period in the morning of “opening day,” which is always the first Saturday in June, to promote trout fishing among young anglers and to provide special opportunities for young anglers to catch and keep fish.  

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Why Are There So Many Bear Sightings Right Now? 

May 22, 2024. RALEIGH, N.C. (May 20, 2024) – This time of year, North Carolina experiences an increase in people reporting that they’ve seen a bear, in both rural and urban areas of the Mountains, Coast and even the Piedmont. Calls to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s (NCWRC) Wildlife Helpline (866-318-2401) increase with daily questions about bears, peaking from late April through August. There are several reasons for that. 

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Wildlife Commission Adopts New Regulations for 2025- 2026 Season Regulations

May 17, 2024 RALEIGH, N.C. (May 16, 2024) – Commissioners at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) have adopted the new rules for the 2024-25 seasons effective Aug 1. The new rules, adopted during the Commission’s February business meeting and approved by the Rules Review Commission in April, include:Wildlife Poacher Reward Program – Include inland fisheries related crimes for eligibility in the Program.

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