Today’s Email Announcements

Published Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 10:52 am

Screening of Stevens’ “Overburden” Feb. 16 at ASU

Filmmaker Chad Stevens will screen his award-winning documentary “Overburden” Feb. 16 at Appalachian State University. The presentation is part of the Sustainability Film Series on campus. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. in I.G. Greer Theater. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

“Overburden” is a powerful new film that shows human stories from coal country – including stunning events that will either divide or unify a community, its coal workers and their families.

The film’s trailer is online at

Stevens worked on the project for more than 10 years. The story, unfolding over eight years, follows a fiery, pro-coal right-winger and a tenacious, environmentalist grandmother as they join forces to take on the most dangerous coal company in America. According to The Guardian, the coal industry is in a “terminal decline,” leaving these communities facing an uncertain and dire future.

“Overburden” is the first film of its kind to document the end of the age of coal and celebrate the heroes who are standing up to rebuild their fractured communities.

Bill McKibben, author of “The End of Nature,” called the film “A remarkable document, powerful testimony to the absurd destruction that coal has brought to the mountains of Appalachia, and testimony also to the remarkable women and men who have done their best to deal with an almost impossible trauma.”

“Overburden” premiered at Full Frame Film Festival. The film received the Special Jury Price for Documentary at the Amsterdam Film Festival and a jury award from the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

Stevens is an Emmy-winning filmmaker, editor, journalist and assistant professor of visual communications at UNC Chapel Hill. Previously, he was a producer and editor at MediaStorm, where his work focused on a range of topics from PTSD to the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda.

Stevens, along with Deep Gap resident Rory McIlmoil, who appears in the film, will be available for questions and answers after the screening.

The Sustainability Film Series is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and Department of Geology at Appalachian. University Documentary Film Services is a co-sponsor of this event.

For more information, contact Tom Hansell at [email protected] or Brian Zimmer at [email protected].

Dr. Spiceland to Tell “Secrets of Tweetsie” Feb. 11

High Country Writers welcomes Dr. David Spiceland as guest speaker on Thursday, Feb 11 at the Watauga Public Library at 10 am. The program is free and open to the public. Dr. Spiceland has been researching ETWNC, Tweetsie, which was a part of Boone history for 20 years. He has uncovered rare artifacts and details that have been “right in front of our eyes,” says Spiceland. “I love history, and I love railroads. I hope I can answer questions about the railroad and find others who agree that this is a story worth telling.”

Since coming to Boone and Appalachian State 24 years ago, Dr. Spiceland had many interests including the FCC’s “Fairness Doctrine” (his dissertation topic) and the railroad that came to Boone and left too soon after a major hurricane barreled through North Carolina. Surprisingly there are railroad stories connected with the “Tweetsie” that can still be discovered.

David Spiceland is an Associate Professor at ASU in the Department of Communication in Electronic Media and Broadcasting. His future plans include a video detailing the abandonment of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina railroad (Tweetsie) and a book on the John Wayne Western, “Red River.”

 High Country Writers is an organization which fosters the growth and creativity of writers of all genres offering its members support, constructive criticism and professional development. The meetings are held at 10 am at the Watauga County Library on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Guests are welcome. Meetings are canceled when the Watauga County Public Library is closed for inclement weather. For more information about the organization, membership, and calendar of events, please visit the HCW website at http//

Free FAFSA Help Across NC on Feb. 20

College financial aid officers and specialists will be available throughout North Carolina on Saturday, February 20th to help high school seniors, their families, and college students complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online.  These free FAFSA Day programs will be available at host sites open from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

Completion of the FAFSA is required to be considered for any federal and most state financial aid for college, including scholarships and grants.  FAFSA Day and other related events are sponsored by the collaboration of College Foundation of North Carolina, the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and State Employees’ Credit Union.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.  Go to or call 866-866-CFNC toll-free for a list of event sites and register for the one nearest you.  More than 65 sites will be available the morning of Saturday, February 20.

During the week following FAFSA Day (February 22-26), State Employee Credit Union branches will be ready by appointment to help students and families with FAFSAcompletion.  Families also can get help with the FAFSA the evening of Tuesday, February 23 at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro.

A February FAFSA Phone-In. also sponsored by CFNC, is another option for students and parents who have only a few questions on completing the FAFSA.  Every Tuesday night in February between 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., financial aid specialists will be available to help at the toll-free number, 866-866-CFNC (2362).

To be fully prepared to complete  the FAFSA at one of these February FAFSA events,  participants should either file their 2015 federal taxes in advance or bring the following:  (1) both the student’s and parents’ federal 1040 tax forms for 2015 (or W-2 forms and other income and asset documents if completed tax forms are not available); (2) the student’s and one parent’s FSA ID obtained in advance from the U.S. Department of Education website,; and (3) a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet with as much information entered as possible.  The online Worksheet is available at

“Early completion of the FAFSA helps students take advantage of all of the financial aid opportunities available for North Carolinians,” said Marcia Weston, of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority and CFNC coordinator of the FAFSA Day program.  “Students and parents don’t need to worry if they aren’t sure how to answer all of the questions on the form.  That’s why we have arranged to have experienced college aid professionals and financial specialists to help at each site.”

Weston also stated, “Filing 2015 federal taxes early makes FAFSA completion easier.  Most of those who file well in advance of FAFSA Day can then take advantage of the automatic transfer option to enter their tax information directly onto their FAFSA.”

She continued, “If a student or parent hasn’t yet filed taxes, they can enter estimated income information on the FAFSA, and updated tax information can be transferred to the FAFSA at a later date. “

More information is available on college and career planning on the College Foundation of North Carolina website,  Families will find college cost estimators, lists of scholarship, grant and loan opportunities, information about North Carolina’s 529 college savings plan, career descriptions and requirements, virtual tours of more than 100 of the state’s college campuses and online college admission and financial aid applications.

About CFNC

College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC) is a free service of the State of North Carolina that helps students plan, apply, and pay for college. CFNC is a joint effort of Pathways, the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, and College Foundation, Inc. 

  • Pathways, created by the N.C. General Assembly in 1999, is a state-wide initiative to increase the college-going rate of North Carolinians by providing: comprehensive college and career planning resources; electronic applications and transcripts accepted by all 110 North Carolina colleges and universities; and, information on student financial aid and college affordability. Pathways is administered by The University of North Carolina General Administration in collaboration with the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System, and the N.C. Independent Colleges and Universities.
  • The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), established in 1965, is the State agency that promotes access to higher education by administering financial aid and savings programs, informing students and families about paying for college, teaching educators about financial aid administration, and advocating for resources to support students.
  • College Foundation, Inc. (CFI), a nonprofit corporation serving North Carolina students and families since 1955, administers a large portfolio of education loans, several major grant and scholarship programs for students attending N.C. colleges and universities, and the tax-advantaged  “529” college savings program on behalf of the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority. CFI also delivers information to North Carolina students and families about paying for college, assists colleges and universities with financial aid services, and provides technology support for
  • State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members. SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 77 years. With more than 1.9 million members, SECU provides services through more than 250 branch offices, 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website,

CFNC offers resources toll-free at 1-866-866-CFNC and at

Free iLasik Seminar at Graystone Eye Feb. 9

Graystone Eye and Refractive Surgeon, R.E. “Trey” Oursler, will host a free seminar on Tuesday, February 9th at 6 pm on the lower level of their Hickory office. Graystone Eye is located in the McDonald Crossing business park near the intersection of McDonald Parkway and Tate Boulevard.

Participants will learn about vision correction procedures including iLASIK, advanced technology lens replacement options, and KAMRA, a new option that reduces dependence on reading glasses.

All participants over the age of 18 will receive a certificate valued at $500 toward either procedure, and be eligible to win a $1000 discount certificate to be given away at the end of the presentation.

For further information or to register for this event, call 828-304-6611, or go online at

February Programs at Elk Knob State Park

Winter Edibles

Come learn about some of the edible plants you can find in the mountains in winter.  Meet on Saturday, February 6th, 2:00 pm at the park office.

The Science of Snow

For humans, snow can be pretty, fun, annoying, dangerous and many other things.  What does it mean for the natural world?  How does it form such intricate shapes?  Cut out a scientifically correct flake and learn how to preserve real ones.  Come find more about this magnificent crystalline wonder.  Meet Saturday, February 27th, 2:00 pm at the park office.

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