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The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will open approximately 1,000 miles of Hatchery Supported Trout Waters at 7 a.m. on April 6

March 26, 2024 The Wildlife Commission has posted the full Hatchery Supported Trout Waters stocking schedule on its website to give trout anglers opportunities to plan fishing trips in advance. The schedule is searchable by county and month and provides information on what days each water is being stocked.Hatchery Supported Trout Waters, which are marked by green-and-white signs, have been closed since Feb. 28 for stocking. Most trout are stocked April through June, with a few streams selectively stocked in July.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Recipes from Pyatte’s New Community Cookbook


March 20, 2024 . I am always excited to lay claim to a new cookbook and was delighted  to receive a relatively new regional recipe collection for my recent birthday. My sister, Gail, shares my love for all things “kitcheney” and gifted me with the Pyatte Community Cookbook, which  was published to help raise funds for the playground renovation at the Pyatte Community Center in Avery County. This book contains recipes from some of the area’s best cooks and honors the memory of others who have passed on before us. Seeing the names of those special women – and men — who have contributed greatly to the quaint neighborhood through the years brought back a lot of memories for me. I was raised a few miles away, but have enjoyed time spent in Pyatte through the years, where family members and friends and have called home and several continue to reside there today. So to honor this very special community and its people, I have randomly selected a few recipes from their cookbook to help keep the heritage alive in Pyatte, NC By Sherrie Norris

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High Country Watermedia Society Offers Grants to Art Organizations

March 18, 2024 The High Country Watermedia Society is pleased to offer grants to 501(c)3 organizations that support the visual arts in the High Country.  Grants are intended for art programs and equipment.  Proposals will be accepted prior to June 30, 2024.
More information and the grant application form can be found on the High Country Watermedia website:  https://highcountrywatermediasociety.com/art-endowments

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Marching on Through A Busy Month


March 13, 2024 . Signs of spring are all around us and I believe that most of us are ready for its official arrival. I think the March winds actually did blow it in recently, right? As many of you know, I’ve spent most of the last week in Chapel Hill where my brother continues on life support from a rare illness brought on by a severe reaction to medication. All the while, with a heavy heart, and usually with tears running down my face, I’ve still been able to enjoy the beauty of nature as it literally springs forth through flowers, budding trees, and the ability to walk outside without a jacket. Seeing the newness of life has given me peace, comfort — and hope. By Sherrie Norris

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Research Underway on an Elusive Mountain Rabbit That May Be Impacted by a Deadly Disease

March 12, 2024 It’s rare to spot an Appalachian cottontail rabbit in the wild. They live in the high elevations and steep topography of the western North Carolina mountains and are easily confused with their slightly larger close cousin, the Eastern cottontail rabbit.And it’s currently unknown whether a highly infectious and fast-spreading virus (RHDV2) may  be impacting the population.That’s why NCWRC has recently contracted with the research group, Tangled Bank Conservation, to perform a study of Appalachian cottontails. The goal is to determine impacts to this species that may pose threats to their survival. NCWRC will use this information to develop a management plan to protect them.

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Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles: 1500 Students in Watauga Schools Reached During Children’s Dental Health Month

March 11, 2024 Each year in February, the American Dental Association recognizes National Children’s Dental Health Month, a month-long national health observance with a special emphasis on improving the smiles of millions of children across the country.This year’s theme —“Healthy Habits for Healthy Smiles” — has been a common phrase, especially locally, as more than 1500 Watauga County children have been reminded of the importance of dental hygiene, thanks to the efforts of the Boone-based OP Smiles dental office. According to Dr. Luke Current, who along with fellow pediatric dental care provider, Dr. Chance Powell, see hundreds of children in their office each month, OP Smiles has participated in the outreach for over 20 years, partnering with local schools in providing practical tips and tools to encourage good dental hygiene. By Sherrie Norris

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High Country Real Estate: February Real Estate

March 7, 2024 The first two months of 2024 are in the books and the year is already rolling along at a healthy clip. February gave us an extra day and now that March is here, let’s see how the High Country real estate market was last month. All information and statistics were gathered from the High Country Multiple Listing Service. By Holly Meyers, REALTOR, Blue Ridge Realty & Investments, LLC

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Chocolate Chip Cookie Week Coming Up!


March 6, 2024 . The second week of March has been declared Chocolate Chip Cookie Week. Why not? It’s one of the most popular of all cookies, if not the most popular cookie of all times, so of course, it deserves its week in the spotlight. You might be wondering, are there really enough different types of chocolate chip cookies in existence to warrant a food column devoted to its cause? Oh, you bet there are! Some folks like them soft and chewy, others like them thin and crispy. Some call for nuts, coconut, other fruits or various ingredients that might be hanging out on the pantry shelf. I’ve rounded up several recipes that might offer you a few variations — from the original to those with more unique personalities. By Sherrie Norris

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10 Tips for Election Day Voters — 2024 Primary Election Edition for Tuesday, March 4

March 4, 2024 The 2024 primary election in North Carolina is Tuesday, March 5. The following are 10 tips for Election Day voters: 1)    Know the rules for a primary election. Primaries are elections used to determine each political party’s nominees who will advance to the general election in November. In a partisan primary, voters affiliated with a political party may only vote their party’s ballot and may not vote in another party’s primary. Unaffiliated voters may choose any one political party’s ballot or a nonpartisan ballot, if available in their jurisdiction. There are Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian primaries in our state this year. An unaffiliated voter may choose to participate in one of these party primaries, while a voter who is registered as a Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian will receive their party’s ballot. For more information, see Upcoming Election.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Making Memories Over The Meals


February 28, 2023 . Many of us country folks have grown up around the family dinner table and have memories to last a lifetime of meals we’ve enjoyed together. For a lot of families these days, unfortunately, sitting down to eat even one meal together is not a daily occurrence.  I was given a stark reminder this past week during the funeral service of a favorite cousin, Sarah Jo Biggerstaff Lattimore In Rutherford County — of not only family meal times, but also the unique gifts of cooking, sharing and serving. Sarah Jo definitely knew her way around the kitchen. She grew up in the shadow of her mother, my paternal aunt, Sylvia Biggerstaff, an Avery County native who, along with her husband, Joe, raised their family primarily in the red-dirt foothills of Rutherford County after leaving the mountain many years ago. No doubt, Aunt Sylvia was the queen of the kitchen who eventually passed on that title to her daughter. By Sherrie Norris

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Is That a Bear Den? Do Not Disturb! 

February 26, 2024 RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 22, 2024) — What may initially appear to be just a pile of brush, a crawl space or a hollowed-out tree, may actually be the winter home of a bear, and possibly its cubs. If disturbed by humans, a bear may be inadvertently flushed from the den, and if it’s a female bear with cubs, she may orphan her cubs if humans do not leave the area immediately. Biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) recommend, if someone encounters a bear den, to remain calm, leave the area quickly and quietly, and do not disturb the den for the rest of the winter season. 

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: It’s Great American Pie Month 


February 21, 2023 I was surprised to learn just this week that February is Great American Pie Month. I guess everything has a purpose and needs to fit in somewhere. And who doesn’t love pie? It may have some historical connection to the infamous tale about George Washington cutting down the cherry tree, and whose birthday has long been celebrated in February. Who knows? I guess the women in his world had to find something to do with all that fruit on the ground. Regardless of these seemingly trivial months of celebration, it does make life easier for a food columnist, and I’ve run across plenty of pie recipes through the years. So, let’s dig in and see what we can come up with. Right after our focus on healthy hearts last week. It’s all about balance, I suppose.  By Sherrie Norris

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Candidates and Issues for the 2024 Elections in Watauga County

February 20, 2024 Change may be in the wind for the 2024 elections for Watauga County and its local candidates, in both the primary elections March 5, and November 5 general elections.  This column will describe some of the major candidates and major issues that may lead to significant changes in Watauga County politics.At the Federal level, Virginia Foxx, who has been Watauga’s Representative in the US House since 2005, will be opposed in the March 5 Republican primary by Ryan Mayberry, an Appalachian State graduate, construction contractor, and former County Commissioner of Alexander County.  Mayberry’s website casts him as more conservative than Foxx.  The victor of the Foxx – Mayberry Republican primary will face Democrat Chuck Hubbard in November.

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Matters of the Heart The Whole Month Through


February 14, 2023 I apparently didn’t look ahead very far in planning out my monthly columns, as I usually do, and completely missed the Valentine’s Day focus. While it’s likely too late for you to squeeze in something you read here for your celebration of love, according to the calendar, here’s a great reminder: Our love and affection for others can easily be celebrated beyond the 14th.February has long been considered “heart month,” and with a wider perspective beyond the romantic side of things. One way to acknowledge love beyond the cards, candy and flowers that will likely have a more far-reaching effect, is by preparing foods that are actually heart-healthy.   By Sherrie Norris

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Sugar Mountain Adult Ski League Finishes Their Race Series and Here Are the Winners for 2024

February 14, 2024 Matt Leonard of Ski Country Sports said it has been a fabulous six weeks of Monday night racing this year that was held on the Oma Meadows Racing Course each race, and with perfect weather each night.  On behalf of the family run ski shop, Ski Country Sports, the sponsor of the race series, Leonard said the Sugar Mountain facilities makes it all happen. “From top to bottom and from bottom to top they run a first class operation over there. And that was evident for our race series. We thank the resort and the race crew who took care of the course and the many volunteer timekeepers for taking good care of us.” The annual awards presentation was full of camaraderie as well as cheers for the winners.

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Closed Harvest Season for Striped Bass on Roanoke River in 2024 

February 13, 2024 RALEIGH, N.C. (Feb. 9, 2024) – N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Executive Director Cameron Ingram recently signed a proclamation that closes the 2024 striped bass harvest season in the Roanoke River Management Area. The Roanoke River Management Area includes the Roanoke River and tributaries from the Roanoke Rapids Lake Dam downstream to the Albemarle Sound, including the Cashie, Middle and Eastmost rivers.

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MADELINE STEWART TO REPRESENT BLUE RIDGE VALLEY IN MRS. NORTH CAROLINA AMERICA PAGEANT

February 13, 2024 Blowing Rock resident Madeline Stewart will be representing the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Mrs. North Carolina America pageant this May. Madeline has called Blowing Rock home since 2021 and currently works at a small, family-owned business in the High Country, Mustard Seed Market and Home. Madeline is also involved in the community by teaching hip-hop and creative movement dance classes each week at Harvest House Dance in Boone, NC.

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UPDATE: Arrest Made in Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Investigation into a Homicide

February 9, 2024 The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting an investigation into a shooting incident that occurred earlier today at 5350 NC Hwy 194 North. At approximately 5:48pm, the Watauga County 911 Center received a call reporting that someone had been shot at this address.  Alexander Matthew Jackson, 25 years old and resident of 5350 NC Highway 194 North Boone, NC; was taken into custody following his contact with 911 communications shortly after the incident. Jackson reported to authorities that he had shot Michael Ross, 38, of Elk Park, NC.

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