1) Energy Savings Information Presentation
Appalachian Voices will kick off 2014 with an Energy Savings Information Presentation on Thursday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Watauga Community Center. The discussion will center around how you can save money on your home energy cost and promote low-cost home energy loan programs through your electrip coop, Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. Kent Hively with High Country Energy Solutions will join us to explain how they can help you improve your home’s energy efficiency, and how strong energy efficiency programs can help create new jobs and support local businesses in western North Carolina. The first 40 attendees will receive a free energy efficient light bulb and everyone will receive a handy guide for reducing your home energy use.
2) January Programs at Grandfather Mountain State Park
- Lepidoptera-What’s That?: North Carolina State Parks has deemed the year 2014 the year of the Lepidoptera. On Saturday, Jan. 11 at 2 p.m., join a Ranger to learn what the word means and what they are. We will also discuss how to tell the differences between them, their range of distribution, life span an some neat facts about them and why they are important to our environment. THe program will be held in the Boone Fork Parkin Area on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Please dress appropriately for the weather conditions. The program will also be held on Jan. 18.
- Clouds: Clouds big and small and what they predict for our weather. On Sunday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m., wouldn’t you like to be able to make a weather forecast for yourself while you’re out during the day and not have to do it by pulling up the internet? Join a ranger in the Boone Fork Parking Area and learn what clouds are in the sky as well as what kind of weather is associated with them. We will cover the basic forms of clouds there are, how high in the atmosphere they area and if interested make an interactive fact sheet for them. While not all clouds are directly associated with our weather, they do forecast what the weather will be in the coming days and hours.
- Winter Tree Identification Hike: On Sunday, Jan. 26, at 2 p.m. Meet at Profile Trail. Participants will learn how to identify local trees without the aid of leaves by learning differences in bark, limb, bud and branching patterns. Participants are encouraged to bring field guides to local trees. Program will last approximately two hours. Please dress for the weather.
3) Top Ten Reasons to Enroll in the Affordable Care Act
- Wellness and screening exams are free
- Major illnesses can’t increase your cost.
- Pre-existing health conditions don’t prohibit coverage
- Covers prescription medications
- May qualify for tax credit
- Limits financial exposure
- May qualify for cost sharing
- May be able to establish tax free fund for medical expenses
- Provides peace of mind
- Can be done online
An enrollment workshop, sponsored by High Country Community Health, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 11 at 9 a.m. at the Watauga County Public Library. Call 828-264-8784 ext. 2 to reserve a seat. Individual help sessions can be scheduled by calling Eric Schneider at 828-773-7297.
4) High Country Audubon Society Meeting
The High Country Audubon Society (HCAS) will have its next meeting Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in Boone. The January meeting will be a popcorn and movie night (refreshments provided). The movie will be “The Insatiable Appetite” from David Attenborough’s The Life of Birds series. Birds have an amazing range of bill shapes and sizes, allowing birds to hammer grubs from tree trunks, search out the tiniest seeds, tear meat and sip nectar. High Country Audubon Society covers Avery, Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes Counties. HCAS invites the public to attend the monthly meetings and field trips.