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Today’s Email Announcements

LMC Elite Residential Soccer Camp July 31-Aug. 3

The Lees-McRae men’s soccer program has released the date for its 2016 Elite Residential Soccer Camp, announced head coach Rich Wall Thursday afternoon.

The camp will take place on the campus of Lees-McRae College July 31-August 3.

The purpose of this camp is to provide high school student-athletes aspiring to play collegiate soccer a preview of the demands of playing in the NCAA. Each student-athlete will have the opportunity to train and compete under the guidance of collegiate coaches and student-athletes for the duration of this elite residential soccer camp. This camp will also serve as a high school team pre-season camp for any school teams that attend.

Participants are asked to bring eight changes of clothing for training sessions, bedding, sunscreen, cleats, shinguards, running shoes, soccer ball and any additional medical requirements.

The camps costs $300 per player, however, it will cost $275 if registered by July 11. Team registration is $250 per player with a minimum of 12 players.

Payments can be made via personal check or cash.

For any questions, contact Wall at 828-898-8801 or wallr@lmc.edu.

Eat at Cafe Portofino April 28 to Support WYN

Cafe Portofino will give 10 percent of its restaurant sales on Thursday, April 28 to the Western Youth Network. WYN recognizes a simple truth–growing up is hard, especially during those pivotal years from fifth through tenth grades. WYN invests in the lives of children and youth in order to build a better future and a stronger community for the High Country.

June Studio Tour in Mitchell and Yancey Counties

Since 1993, the Toe River Arts Council has hosted Studio Tours that draw visitors from around the country to the rural, mountain counties of Mitchell and Yancey in western North Carolina. This season’s tour will be June 3-5 (always the first weekend in June and December) and will be bigger than ever. One hundred and seven artists, including seven new artists, will open their doors and invite the public to step into their studio and view paintings, drawings, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry, wood, fiber, soap, basketry, metals, all myriad of materials, all sizes, shapes, uses…from functional to “I have a place for that.” For these three days, they share their spaces, their stories and often offer a snack for the road. And this year, the tour includes two just opened galleries, one in Spruce Pine, the other in Bakersville, bringing the participating gallery total to ten.
New this year are expanded tour hours. Both the June and December tours will be open from 10am to 5pm FridaySunday. This will give visitors more time to journey the beautiful byways of Mitchell and Yancey counties, see more studios, and explore more art. With or without planned itineraries, they’ll head for the hills keeping their eyes open for the red and white signs that studios and galleries post by the roadside to guide and welcome them.
Starting May 14, the Spruce Pine TRAC Gallery (269 Oak Avenue) will mount an exhibit that will feature the work of all participating artists and galleries. Work will be displayed geographically so routes can be mapped out and visits planned. On Friday, the 3rd, TRAC’s highly anticipated reception begins at 5:30pm, a half hour later than in previous years because of the newly extended tour hours. In a festive atmosphere of beautiful, bright colors and sweet smells, visitors can mingle with artists who have closed their doors for the evening and come out to relax with a tasty tidbit, glass of wine or beer, good friends, new friends, and a bit of conversation. The tour continuesSaturday and Sunday, June 4 and 5 with the exhibit culminating at the end of the touron Sunday evening.
Folks travel from all over for this three-day bi-annual event, and they always leave with smiles on their faces and packages on their back seats or in the overhead compartment. Last December’s tour included visitors from Charlotte to Charleston, SC, from Kingsport, TN, to Orlando FL, and from as far away as New York City. This June tour should see even greater numbers from further away.
SAVE THE DATE, and make plans to spend the weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains for the Toe River Studio Tour, June 3-5, 2016. Truly a journey of the arts.
For more information contact kate@toeriverarts.org, call 828.682.7215 or828.765.0520, and visit the website, www.toeriverarts.org for updates about where to stay, where to eat, and the 44-page Guide, that describes all the participating artists and galleries. The Guide will be available at retailers and organizations around the region the first of May and online mid May.

Toe River Arts Council Paint Out May 14

On Saturday, May 14, folks from around the region will converge on the town of Burnsville to participate in the 10th Annual Plein Air Paint Out. Sponsored by the Toe River Arts Council and the Blue Ridge Fine Arts Guild, this event is open to anyone who paints or draws-from amateurs to professional, young or old-and it happens rain or shine!
Modeled after en plein air, French for “in the open air”, the experience has become synonymous with outdoor painting, and TRAC’s Paint Out draws artists from the surrounding area and neighboring states to share in the beauty and diversity of the small, mountain town of Burnsville. Many artists arrive days early to select that “perfect scene.” They take photos and prepare preliminary sketches. Subjects run the gamut from pastoral fields to old barns and rusted trucks, from a back yard here to a store front there. Options are endless.
Because of the many running and biking events that are scheduled for that morning, in addition to registering at the TRAC Gallery at 102 West Main, a second location will be set up for registration in the lobby of the Burnsville TD Bank at 600 US Hwy 19E (entrance on the Main Street side). Artists who do not preregister can do so from 8-10am on the 14th. They return by 5pm to frame their artwork and have it hung ready for judging.
This year’s juror and first place winner for the last two years in the TRAC Paint Out is Cheryl Keefer.  Keefer has a BS in Art Education from Jacksonville State University, a MA in Art History from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a degree in Graduate Painting from the Virginia Commonwealth University. “My paintings invite an emotional response in viewers. I want to spark memories. I want to stimulate the viewer’s imagination. In fantasy, I participate in the viewer’s joy. I paint to share with others my excitement about the beauty and truth of the visual world.”
Juried artwork from this year’s Paint Out will be on display at the Burnsville Gallery (102 W. Main Street) from May 14 through June 18; many will be available for purchase.
Participants must register, either before or on the morning of the Paint Out at the Burnsville Gallery at either the TRAC Burnsville Gallery or at the Burnsville TD Bank lobby. Painting materials are validated and the $30 entry fee paid. (Students 5 to 18 are free.) Artists venture out as far as they wish, as long as they return with their finished work before the 5pm deadline. Award announcements are made at a special reception open to the public that takes place in the gallery from 6:30 to 7:30pm.
For complete details and an application form, please visit the TRAC website atwww.toeriverarts.org, or call 828.682.7215.
TRAC Paint Out is funded in part by a Grassroots Art Grant, through the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Natural and Cultural Department, with assistance from the Blue Ridge Fine Arts Guild [BRAG] and a contribution from Sandra Gates.

Salamander Saturday at Grandfather Mountain May 7

Grandfather Mountain is well known for its black bears. But if you think the mountain’s most abundant animal weighs 300 pounds and is covered in fur, think again.

And think smaller.

On Saturday, May 7, Grandfather Mountain will celebrate the salamander, the most prolific terrestrial vertebrate at the Linville-based attraction, as well as forest ecosystems throughout the world.

As part of Salamander Saturday, an initiative organized by the Foundation for the Conservation of Salamanders (FCSal), Grandfather Mountain will offer special programming, including kids’ activities, nature walks, interactive exhibits and a chance to hob nob with the amphibian of the hour. All activities are included with regular admission.

“We’re participating in Salamander Saturday because it’s an international effort to raise awareness of what I consider hidden biodiversity,” said Mickey Shortt, director of education and natural resources for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “In other words, the Southern Appalachians are a hotspot for salamander diversity. Over 20 species have been recorded on Grandfather Mountain, and few people recognize this amazing resource that we have.”

Furthermore, some are quite unique to the area, such as the Weller’s and pygmy salamanders, both of which are found in wet, cool, high-elevation spruce-fir forests, such as those at Grandfather Mountain.

“These high-elevation forests are uncommon in North Carolina,” Shortt said.

The fun starts at 9 a.m., when Grandfather Mountain opens its gates for the day. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests can stop by one of four interactive tables in the Nature Museum, where they’ll have the opportunity to see a Hellbender salamander and learn about the species that reside on the mountain.

At 11:30 a.m., staff naturalists will present a special Junior Ranger program on salamanders. During the program, which starts at the mountain’s Butterfly Garden, kids (ages 5 to 12) will also learn how to become a Grandfather Mountain Junior Ranger.

At 3 p.m., staff naturalists will lead a Salamander Walk through the mountain’s Woods Walk trail, helping guests identify the local amphibians and learn about their important role in the ecosystem.

Meanwhile, throughout the day, the North Carolina Herpetological Society will hold its spring meeting. The meeting runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Nature Museum Auditorium, and those interested in attending may register by visiting www.ncherps.org.

“Anyone can participate in Salamander Saturday,” Shortt said.

For more information, call (828) 733-4326, or visit www.grandfather.com.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visitwww.grandfather.com to plan a trip.


Salamander Facts

  • Salamanders are the most abundant vertebrate in many forest floor ecosystems and consume vast amounts of insects and other invertebrates.
  • Salamanders are indicators of environmental health and help scientists better mitigate threats facing ecosystems.
  • Salamanders can regenerate their limbs, making them important models for medical research.
  • Salamanders represent one of the most ancient forms of animal life.
  • The United States has more species of salamanders than any country in the world.

Wine to Water Gala April 30

Happy April to all! We are so excited to announce an amazing event coming up at the end of this month. On April 30, 2016, the Wine To Water High Country Professional Chapter will host their inaugural “Wine To Water Gala: A Clean Water Benefit” at the Blowing Rock Country Club, sponsored by The Daley Foundation and VPC Builders.

It is our hope that you will join in on this wonderfully fun-filled evening of food, wine, music (courtesy of Asheville-based Lyric), and a silent auction! Not only is this a great way to celebrate and raise awareness of Wine To Water, but it is also a way for you to personally help end the Global Water Crisis. To reserve your spot, tickets are on sale now until April 18, 2016 for $45. They will also be sold at the door for $50 each. Visit here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Besides air, water is the most basic need each and every one of us has to survive. Unfortunately, more than 663 million people lack access to clean water today and 2.4 billion lack access to improved sanitation. Often these problems go hand-in-hand. Since its inception, Wine To Water (WTW) has been dedicated to providing clean water in sustainable and repeatable ways to as many people as possible. And, although we are realistic that we, by ourselves, cannot resolve the water crisis quickly, we know we can serve a person, a family, or a community every day.

In fact, through the generosity of WTW supporters, their dedication to serve has resulted in over 400,000 people in 24 countries receiving clean water. To us, this is the overlapping and compounding ripple effect from drop in the bucket efforts that happen every day all over the world by those who care enough to take a step for the sake of others. Help us reach even more and buy your ticket now. It will be a night you will not forget!

If you have any questions, or would like additional details, please reach out to Courtney Mattar at highcountry@winetowater.org.

We can’t wait to see you there!