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Email Announcements We Are Receiving Today: See What’s Going On Around The Community

1) The Walker Center Presents Hit Men

The Walker Center, on the campus of Wilkes Community College, will present The Hit Men on Friday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. This performance is sponsored by Hampton Inn of Wilkesboro, Holiday Inn Express of Wilkesboro and visitwilkesboronc.com. This amazing supergroup of musicians, vocalists, arrangers and composers actually were the Four Seasons who sang with Frankie Valli. They have played with The Critters, Carly Simon, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Barry Manilow and Elton John. They are the authentic rock ‘n’ rollers whose legacy includes hundreds of hit records from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. Lee Shapiro is a music producer, arranger and musician who has been involved in the New York music scene for more than three decades. After Frankie Valli’s road manager saw him perform in a club in New Jersey, Shapiro become one of Frankie Valli’s celebrated Four Seasons as both an arranger and on keys. He toured the world with the band, performing classic hits and acting as the music director and arranger on others including “Oh, What a Night” and “Who Loves You.” These experiences gave Shapiro the vehicle to meet and collaborate with a wide variety of stars including co-producing the score to “Copacabana the Musical” with Barry Manilow and collaborating with true music icons such as Bob Gaudio, Charlie Calello, Jimmy and Jerry Vivino, Paul Schaeffer and Will Lee. Gerry Polci began his professional career at the age of 14, playing drums and singing at private parties and nightclubs throughout the Tri-State area. After studying as the protege of renowned drummer and technician Joe Morello, Polci became one of Frankie Valli’s celebrated Four Seasons in 1973. His recordings with the group became worldwide hits, most notably “Who Loves You,” “Silver Star” and “Oh, What a Night” on which he sang lead. As one of the Four Seasons, Polci also recorded music with various artists in New York and Los Angeles for television shows and commercials and worked as the musical director on a series of Barry Manilow television specials. Jimmy Ryan began his career in the ’60s as lead guitarist, vocalist and one of the songwriters for The Critters. The band went on to become a national phenomenon with three top hits including “Don’t Let the Rain Fall Down on Me,” which Jimmy wrote. After The Critters dissolved, Ryan continued his career as the lead guitarist, backup vocalist, arranger and occasional co-writer with Carly Simon. He has also recorded albums with many other artists, most notably Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John and Kiki Dee, recieving gold and platinum records in the process. Larry Gates has worked with some of the biggest names in the music business. As a composer and lyricist, he has co-written songs with multi-Grammy award winner Desmond Child, Tony and Emmy award winner Larry Hochman, Izzy James, and Platinum Record and Grammy award winner Daniel Freiberg. At The Hit Factory, NYC, Gates worked with artists like Janis Ian and Rick Derringer. He is currently working on a vocal album of his own alongside his duties in The Hit Men that will include original songs as well as covers of favorite classics. Long-time friend, former The Four Seasons member and Hit Men band mate Lee Shapiro is co-producing. Russ Velazquez, an NYC award winning and Emmy-nominated singer, composer, arranger and producer, is the latest addition to The Hit Men. He is a highly sought-after studio musician who has performed on thousands of studio sessions. Velazquez has worked with many diverse artists including Sting, Carole King, the Ramones, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Korn and Paula Abdul. He is a four-time Emmy-nominated composer and arranger for his work on the children’s television show Sesame Street, and had a No. 1 record on the children’s charts and Radio Disney for his song “2BA Master,” the Pokemon CD title song. Additionally Velazquez has composed, arranged, produced and performed several popular TV themes and shows. A limited number of tickets are available for this performance. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Walker Center Box Office at 336-838-6260 or walker.boxoffice@wilkescc.edu<mailto:walker.boxoffice@wilkescc.edu>. The John A. Walker Community Center is dedicated to being the primary venue for cultural experience in Wilkes and surrounding areas and to serving as the preferred gathering place for meetings, receptions, conventions, banquets, and parties for our community. Wilkes Community College, a member of the North Carolina Community College System, is a public, two-year, open-door institution serving the people of Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties and beyond. Established in 1965, WCC continues to build on a strong history of meeting the educational needs and cultural interests of our students, community and workforce. WCC prepares learners for success in a dynamic world.

2) Autumn Mountain Classic and 23rd Annual Children’s Golf Classic

If you’re a golfer, here are a couple events you won’t want to miss! The 23rd annual Children’s Golf Classic is scheduled for Sept. 30 starting at 6 p.m. and Oct. 1 starting at 7:30 a.m. at Grandfather Golf and Country Club. For more information, call April Miller at 828-898-5465. The Autumn Mountain Classic, a charity event benefitting Avery Habitat for Humanity will take place on Oct. 14 at 12 p.m. at Elk River Club. The event is open to the public and limited to the first 100 players to register, so sign up early to reserve your spot. The deadline for registration is Oct. 1. To register for the tournament or for more information, please call Avery County Habitat for Humanity at 828-733-1909 or email info@averycohfh.org. 

3) Grant Opportunity for Western North Carolina Farmers

WNC Agricultural Options’ 10th annual grant cycle is underway. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions will award a total of $153,000 to diversifying farmers in western North Carolina in 2014. Farmers have until Dec. 13 to submit an application for a $3,000 or $6,000 grant. “The 2014 funding cycle will represent a decade of service to our agricultural industry through farmer grants, educational seminars and technical assistance,” said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. “Since 2004, more than 350 farmer grants and several community grants have been awarded. We are extremely grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission as the sole funder of this program since its inception.” The Commission has helped ensure that farmers continue farming during changes in the tobacco industry in the past 25 years. “The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission works hard to provide benefits to communities affected by changes in the tobacco industry,” said William (Bill) Teague, chairman of the Commission. “The WNC AgOptions program has been consistent and effective in helping western North Carolina farmers carry out innovative and income producing ideas.” Since 2004, WNC AgOptions has distributed more than $1.6 million to farmers in western North Carolina who are diversifying their operations. These small grants often turn farms toward profitability, as well as make significant economic impacts in the surrounding communities. The fruits of the initial investments are often immediate, as new income typically matches the size of the grants in the first year of the projects. Data from 156 farmers who received grants in the past four years reveals that their projects resulted in a total of $1.15 million of new farm income in the first year alone. Income continues to increase year after year, doubling by the third year of the projects. Embedded in the 10-year WNC AgOptions history are stories of hundreds of farmers’ lives changed for the better. Traci McMahan of Mt. Mitchell Produce in Yancey County, a 2012 WNC AgOptions recipient, is still expanding to keep up with the demand that arose after she improved her certified organic lettuce operation. Following the purchase of a refrigerated transport unit, the farm quickly doubled the number of produce boxes distributed, now selling to 10 Ingles supermarkets and local restaurants. Two of her employees transitioned from part-time to full-time to help with the workload. Jill Nicklaw of Sunshine Cove Farm in Watauga County, a 2011 WNC AgOptions recipient, not only made back her initial investment in a 1,000-square-foot greenhouse in the first year of her project, but also doubled her income in 2012 and was able to hire two employees. She sells microgreens to seven brokers, including Eastern Carolina Organic and New River Organic Growers, as well to individuals and restaurants. Applications for the 2014 grant cycle are available at www.wncagoptions.org and at local Cooperative Extension Centers. Interested applicants should contact their local Extension Agents by Nov. 1 to notify them that they intend to apply. Extension Agents work closely with the recipients throughout the grant cycle, giving them moral support and answering questions. WNC AgOptions welcomes four more counties to its now 22 county/unit coverage area: Burke, Caldwell, Cleveland and Rutherford. Other eligible counties are: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henerson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Interested farmers who live outside of this coverage area should contact RAFI-USA’s Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund. See www.ncfarmgrants.org. The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been improving agriculture in the region since 1947. WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy. “WNC Communities is delighted to serve as administrator for WNC AgOptions,” said L.T. Ward, Vice President of WNC Communities. “We are grateful for N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and North Carolina legislators for their support  throughout the past ten years. This important and effective program has demonstrated tremendously favorable results in providing financial support to fledgling farmers that often makes the difference in their success.” Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include: representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services-Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other leaders in agribusines. 

4) Celebrating Over 30 Years of Photography in the High Country

Bob Caldwell has been serving the High Country area and family, wedding and other social photography since 1978, celebrating 35 years in business. Bob and Sharon, married 30 years ago this September, work on most of their projects as a team. Sports team photography and family photography are especially busy during this season. Discounts are offered in thanks the the community for their support and encouragement, available trough Dec. 31. Call us at 828-264-9026 or email at photobob411@gmail.com or contact us through out website at www.bobcaldwellphotography.com Mary Beth Hedge has been providing portrait and event photography services in Boone and the surrounding High Country for 30 years. Please contact us at hegephoto@charter.net for any of your photographic needs. You can also reach us by phone at 828-264-0813.