• Mountaineer Talk to Debut for the 2020 Season on Tuesday, September 8

    September 4, 2020 Presented by Modern Automotive, App State’s weekly Mountaineer Talk radio show will make its 2020-21 debut on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Mountaineer Talk shows featuring head football coach Shawn Clark are scheduled to air on Tuesday nights from 7-8 p.m. on Appalachian Sports Network from Learfield IMG College radio affiliates as well as App State’s Facebook Live platform. With safety measures in mind, they will be recorded with no fans present in a studio-style setup at the Mark E. Ricks Athletics Complex. Next week’s season debut with Adam Witten, Voice of the Mountaineers, discussing App State football with Clark and additional guests will air four days before the Sept. 12 home opener against Charlotte in Kidd Brewer Stadium. The presence of midweek games on App State’s schedule could contribute to future changes in the live recording day. / Read more…



  • TODAY: Watauga County Board of Elections to Begin Mailing Absentee Ballots to Those That Requested Them

    September 4, 2020 Friday, September 4 marks the first date that the Watauga County Board of Elections will start sending out absentee ballots to those registered voters that have previously filed a request to receive one. Mail-in voting has been a hotly contested subject among politicians this summer as we head into the 2020 election. Claims of mail-in ballot fraud have been thrown about by President Donald Trump and other Republican politicians while several Democratic politicians have been voicing support for sending out absentee ballots to anyone whether they have been requested or not. In North Carolina, all absentee ballots must be requested prior to October 27. In a previous interview with the High Country Press, Watauga County Board of Elections Director Matt Snyder advised for voters who want to avoid any problems caused by U.S. Postal Service delays to not wait until the last day to request them. The Watauga County board is expecting approximately 10,000 votes to be cast through the mail this fall.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • LMC Cyclist Grayson Wickel Exploring His Passions on the Bike and on the Stage


    September 4, 2020  At two-years-old, when most kids were busy trying to decide between their favorite action figures or dolls, Grayson Wickel, a junior cyclist and Business Administration major from Asheville, North Carolina, was establishing the passion for music that led him to become a fiddler in the bluegrass band known as Another Country. Using the famed Suzuki Method, which refers to a way to teach children language skills through the use of music, Wickel was first introduced to the violin by using a cardboard box and paint stir that his mother made. He later graduated to the fiddle upon hearing his older brother, a jazz musician at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, playing bluegrass music at the famous Shindig on the Green in downtown Asheville where he instantly fell in love with the music that was being played. “My older brother influenced a lot of our family to play music,” said Wickel. “He came home playing bluegrass music and I was really intrigued by it. Having grown up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I’ve always been surrounded by mountain music, so the idea of playing the fiddle was not foreign to me.” / Read more…



  • COVID-19 Update: Watauga County Active Cases Drop to 81, Appalachian State Reporting Three New Cases to 259 Cumulative Cases Since March


    September 4, 2020  The number of active COVID-19 cases in Watauga County has dropped to 81 after seeing several days above 100 active cases in the county. At the same time, positive cases on Appalachian State’s campus continue to increase daily with three new cases, bringing the total to 259 since March 27. Watauga County saw a 10-percent increase in positive cases from last week to this week with 55 new cases. All 48 current active cases on App State’s campus are students, according to data provided by the university. So far, 193 students, 25 employees, and 41 subcontractors have tested positive for COVID-19. Appalachian State’s number of COVID-19 cases increased by 22 percent from last week to this week with 57 new cases. Appalachian State has a pop-up testing event scheduled on campus for students, faculty, and staff on Saturday, September 5 in the Rivers Street Parking Deck from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Memorial Park Opens Today at 5 p.m.; Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Happen Sept. 8 at 5 p.m.


    September 4, 2020  The Memorial Park Playground in Blowing Rock is now complete with renovations and will be open today, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. and through Labor Day weekend. The official ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers said it’s the first major renovations the park has been through since the early 50s. He further said that it is one of the silver linings of COVID-19. “We were able to do construction and not have to worry about people getting in the construction area because people weren’t allowed to use playgrounds,” Sellers said. The opening of the park comes after Gov. Roy Cooper’s Phase 2.5 has gone into effect, which allows for playgrounds to open. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Construction and Renovations Continue at Avery High School with Frustration Expressed Over Project Completion Timeline Delays

    September 4, 2020 Several delays in the progress of completing new construction and renovations at Avery High School in Newland has the county’s school superintendent frustrated. Regarding that, School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Brigman said: “I have not been pleased with the progress of the work. There have been too many delays. I feel that it should be completed a lot sooner than what it’s apparently going to be.” The project’s chief Architect Rob Johnson of Boomerang Design of Charlotte, NC revealed that a new timeline has been established for the project’s completion. Currently, both the new construction and renovations are scheduled to be completed in the spring and summer of 2021, respectively. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Watauga County Health Department Receives $10,000 in CARES Act Funding

    September 4, 2020 The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that appropriates COVID-19 relief money to support COVID-19 mitigations efforts throughout the state. Earlier this year, Congress passed the CARES Act, which appropriated coronavirus relief funds to North Carolina. Sen. Deanna Ballard has advocated that $10,000 be allotted to Watauga County for the purchase of a mobile broadband kit. The funding will allow testing sites to transmit coronavirus testing data to the local health department in real-time. / Read more…



  • Appalachian State Theatre and Dance Begins Fall Season With Four Original Performances Of “The COVID Chronicles” Beginning Sept. 18


    September 4, 2020  AppFamily Medicine in Boone will offer extended hours, same-day appointments, and a Saturday walk-in clinic beginning September 14. Monday-Friday, same-day appointments will be available 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for new and established patients, and walk-ins are welcome 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Regular appointments are also available for family medicine, pediatric and adolescent care, chronic disease management, behavioral health, women’s health, and more. On Saturdays, the walk-in clinic will operate 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. / Read more…



  • Fall 2020 Adult Soccer League Begins September 23, Registration Deadline the 16th


    September 4, 2020  High Country Soccer Association, in partnership with Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB), is excited to offer the 11th Annual AMB Premier Adult League this fall, with three levels of league play: Gold, Silver and Bronze. The skill levels of the players in the AMB Premier Adult League range from recreational players 35-year-old and older and females of any age (Bronze) to highly competitive and former collegiate players (Gold Division). HCSA currently serves more than 300 adult soccer players (in addition to offering youth training) in the NC High Country. The Boone-based soccer club is always searching for new ways to continue building the local soccer community to include all players and skill levels. / Read more…



  • AppFamily Medicine to Offer Extended Hours, Same-Day Appointments, and Walk-in Clinic


    September 4, 2020  AppFamily Medicine in Boone will offer extended hours, same-day appointments, and a Saturday walk-in clinic beginning September 14. Monday-Friday, same-day appointments will be available 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for new and established patients, and walk-ins are welcome 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Regular appointments are also available for family medicine, pediatric and adolescent care, chronic disease management, behavioral health, women’s health, and more. On Saturdays, the walk-in clinic will operate 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. / Read more…



  • App State Campus Location Approved as Early Voting Location by NC Board of Elections

    September 3, 2020 The North Carolina Board of Elections approved an early-voting location on Appalachian State’s campus by a 3-2 vote that took place August 31. The voting site will be at the Plemmons Student Union, where students typically vote during normal Election Day hours as well. Two locations were originally proposed for an early-voting location. In addition to the student union, the Holmes Convocation Center was also presented as an option for an early-voting site. App State’s campus location is one of six early-voting sites located in Watauga County. The other sites are the Watauga County Administration Building on King Street, Blowing Rock Talk Hall on Main Street, Deep Gap Fire Department on Old U.S. 421 South, High Country Vacation Homes in Foscoe and the Western Watauga Community Center on Old U.S. Highway 421 in Sugar Grove. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • North Carolina Young Adults Work with Volunteers to Restore Black Mountain Crest Trail


    September 3, 2020  A Conservation Corps North Carolina (CCNC) crew of young adults worked with volunteers from the North Carolina High Peaks Trail Association to complete high priority trail work on the Black Mountain Crest Trail in the Nantahala National Forest. The CCNC crew consisted of five 18 to 24 year-old AmeriCorps Members led by a trained Crew Leader. The crew worked on the Black Mountain Crest Trail project August 3-12. Together, crew members and volunteers completed 7.3 miles of trail maintenance from the base of Celo Knob at Bolen’s Creek to Deep Gap. / Read more…



  • A Message from Karen Bell, Executive Director of the NC State Board of Elections to NC Voters

    September 3, 2020 The following is a message to North Carolina voters from Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections: It is illegal to vote twice in an election. N.C.G.S. § 163-275(7) makes it a Class I felony for a voter, “with intent to commit a fraud to register or vote at more than one precinct or more than one time…in the same primary or election.” Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law. There are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that prevent people from double voting. / Read more…



  • Appalachian State Football and Other Fall Sports Will Not Have Fans Attending Games During September

    September 2, 2020 In an announcement from Appalachian State University Director of Athletics Doug Gillin on Tuesday night, Mountaineer fans found out that all home fall sports games and matches will be played with no crowds, at least through the end of September. Football, cross country, women’s soccer and volleyball are the four programs affected by the decision to allow no fans in attendance. “App State fans and our football season ticket holders have also been incredibly resilient and patient with us. Your support for our student-athletes and teams has never been needed more and is much appreciated. Every adjustment we have made has been with the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the university community in mind,” said Gillin. “While we await more guidance from state and local health officials, we will continue to work with university leadership and university medical professionals to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 conditions with the hope that we can welcome fans to our athletics events in October.” By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, August 24 – August 30

    September 2, 2020. Looking to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Want to keep an eye on criminal activity in your area? Take a look at these recent incident and arrest reports from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department. Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • App State to Celebrate Founders Day 2020 as Virtual Event Sept. 3

    September 2, 2020 Appalachian State University’s annual fall celebration, Founders Day, honoring its founders and the first day of classes held in 1899 at Watauga Academy will take place Sept. 3 virtually. To kick off the Founders Day 2020 events, individuals can attend the livestreamed Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for the Thunder Hill and Raven Rocks Residence Halls. The Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony will start shortly after, at 11 a.m. and go until 12 p.m. Later in the afternoon, Chancellor Sheri Everts will commemorate the day and induct the 2020 Bell Ringers Society members. Lastly, Appalachian State Alumni Trivia will be held in the evening from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • App State Reports Active Cluster with Wrestling Team; 10 Members Test Positive

    September 2, 2020 Appalachian State University announced Sept. 1 that it is working closely with the Appalachian District Health Department (AppHealthCare) to investigate and respond to an active cluster of confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with the App State wrestling team. Currently, there are 10 members of the wrestling team who have tested positive within the past 11 days. Eight members are recovering in active isolation, and two are past the isolation stage. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Labor Day Weekend Is Upon Us


    September 2, 2020. How can it be possible that we have drifted through the summer already and that Labor Day weekend is upon us? As most special occasions have been in the last few months, this one also will “feel” differently, as many of those annual large-party gatherings will be reduced to just a few close friends and relatives, even if that. For those who have lost their jobs this year, this might not be a time you want to even acknowledge, but if you are still fortunate enough to have employment, hopefully you will have the day, or one in its place, to enjoy away from the workplace. Labor Day became a legal holiday in the United States in 1894 under the presidency of Grover Cleveland and always falls on the first Monday of September. The idea was introduced in 1882 by founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Peter J. McGuire, who suggested a time to honor the country’s working people. Whether in honor of the holiday, or just to relax around the house, hopefully you can use a few of our late-summer ideas during the weekend. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • App State Football Schedule This Year Includes Five National TV Appearances

    September 2, 2020 The national spotlight will shine brightly on Boone and App State this season. ESPN on Tuesday announced that, in addition to App State’s season-opening home game against Charlotte airing on ESPN2 at noon, the Mountaineers will have three midweek Sun Belt Conference games that are shown on the primary ESPN channel with 7:30 p.m. kickoff times. That means five of App State’s first six games in 2020 will be on national television. / Read more…



  • North Carolina to Move to Phase 2.5 on Friday

    September 2, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper today announced that after a summer of hard work to slow the spread of COVID-19, North Carolina will take a modest step forward move into Phase 2.5 starting this Friday, September 4th at 5pm. Mask mandates and other prevention methods remain in effect and are even more important to contain the virus, Cooper said. “Safer at Home Phase 2.5 continues our state’s dimmer switch approach to easing some restrictions,” said Governor Cooper. “We can do this safely only if we keep doing what we know works — wearing masks and social distancing. In fact, a new phase is exactly when we need to take this virus even more seriously.” / Read more…



  • N.C. State Board of Elections Launches Absentee Ballot Request Portal to Assist Voters

    September 2, 2020 Starting September 1, 2020, North Carolina voters may request an absentee ballot completely online – another way state election officials are improving the voting process in 2020. “At the State Board, our goal is to ensure all voters can cast a ballot, whether in person or by mail,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “The Absentee Ballot Request Portal will streamline voting by mail for voters who choose this voting option.” / Read more…



  • Hawk Watch Returns to Grandfather Mountain; Migrating Raptors Abundant During September


    September 2, 2020  Being a mile high has its advantages. From atop Grandfather Mountain, visitors can grab a front-row seat to one of nature’s most stunning spectacles — thousands of raptors migrating over the mountains and heading south toward their wintering grounds. Guests can observe the raptors during the annual Hawk Watch, in which official counters note the number of passersby in the sky throughout the entire month of September. / Read more…



  • WNC Agricultural Options is Now Accepting Grant Applications from Farmers Diversifying or Expanding Their Businesses; Deadline Nov. 20

    September 2, 2020 WNC Agricultural Options is now accepting grant applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their businesses. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions is distributing a total of $216,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2021. The application deadline is Nov. 20. WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures and expanding their farms with $3,000 and $6,000 grants. “The WNC AgOptions program is an excellent example of grant funds providing direct support to those who need it most,” said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. “Our farmers are arguably the most important people in our society. I sincerely appreciate the Commission’s interest in supporting western North Carolina agriculture.” / Read more…



  • Watauga and Avery Obituaries – September 1, 2020

    September 1, 2020. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • Toe River Health District Counties of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Again Experiences Slight Increase in Coronavirus Cases During Past Seven Days

    September 1, 2020 For the second consecutive week, the Northwest North Carolina High Country counties that encompass the Toe River Health District had a slight increase in confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. Those three counties—Avery, Mitchell and Yancey- have had 482 total cases as of this morning, (September 1), compared to 445 a week ago. Counts of those afflicted with the disease have been tabulated, updated and publicly released since early March 2020 when COVID-19 became a pandemic in the United States  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • LETTERS / NC’s Parks and Trails for Health (PATH)

    September 1, 2020 Letters to the Editor. BY CHARLIE BRADY / Dear Editor, The past six months have vividly demonstrated how important access to public lands is to the physical and mental health of all North Carolinians. Blue Ridge Conservancy has been inundated with stories of individuals and families who are grateful to have greenways, State Parks and State Trails where they can spend time in the outdoors while practicing social distancing. However, reports that our State Parks turned away visitors because parks were at capacity show that additional investments in public lands are desperately needed. This week the North Carolina General Assembly reconvenes to decide how to apportion approximately $900 million in federal COVID relief funding. Read more…



  • Governor Roy Cooper Extends 11 pm Alcohol Curfew at Restaurants Through September

    September 1, 2020 In an effort to continue slowing the spread of COVID-19, Governor Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 162 to extend the limited hours on the sale of alcoholic drinks in North Carolina. As the state continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, the Order requires restaurants to end the sale of alcoholic beverages at 11 pm. This Order will remain in effect through October 2, 2020. “North Carolina has made good progress stabilizing our COVID-19 numbers, and this order will help us continue it,” said Governor Cooper. “Now is the time to continue staying cautious and vigilant as we work to beat this pandemic.” / Read more…



  • USDA Extends Fund that Allows Watauga County Schools to Serve Free Meals to All Students

    September 1, 2020 On Monday, Aug. 31, the USDA extended funding and flexibility that will allow Watauga County Schools to serve free meals to all children in the county regardless of income or school enrollment. Meal distribution will operate similarly to how the district served meals over the summer but each school in the county will be open as a meal distribution site. Each school in Watauga will serve lunch and a packed breakfast for the next day from Noon to 1 p.m. in a drive through line every weekday. According to the USDA, the program will be funded through December 31 of 2020. / Read more…



  • Anvil Arts Sculpture Garden & Gallery Was the Location for a PBS Interview for Two Sculptors


    September 1, 2020  The large outdoor sculptures shown at Anvil Arts Sculpture Garden & Gallery often draw attention, but last week the attention came from Charlotte PBS station WTVI, as the location of an interview with sculptors Carl & Ethan Peverall.  This father and son sculpture team create sculptures of natural stone and their engaging artwork has been much admired at the Anvil Arts Gardens over the last four years.  Carl & Ethan Peverall sculptures often begin with the inspiration of ancient stones quarried from our NC mountains, TN and GA and many include river rock found along the Toe River. / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae College Students, Staff and Alumni Came Together for Peaceful March Through Banner Elk Last Saturday


    August 31, 2020  Peaceful marchers braved a rainy Saturday morning in Banner Elk to make a stand against social injustice, supported by Lees-McRae students, athletes, alumni and staff members. According to LMC graduate and former basketball standout Lepreece Lynch, who helped organize the event along with Kiara Montenegro, said there were around 40 people that came out to march peacefully from Tate-Evans Park through Lees-McRae’s campus, stopping short of completing a full circle, which Lynch said felt like a metaphor for doing something to change the ending instead of just continually going in circles. “This was something that I wanted to do for the community of Banner Elk and Lees McRae. As a former alumnus, I love the area so much, I just wanted to bring awareness to the area I love and cherish so much and give the school and the students an opportunity to voice their beliefs and opinions as well,” said Lynch. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • SBA Grants Governor’s Request for Earthquake Disaster Declaration for Homeowners, Small Businesses in Alleghany and Surrounding Counties

    August 31, 2020 The U.S. Small Business Administration today granted Gov. Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for homeowners and small businesses that suffered damage from a 5.1 magnitude earthquake centered near Sparta in Alleghany County on Aug. 9. “This SBA approval will provide much-needed help to our homeowners and small businesses who are coping with structural damage from this strong quake,” said Governor Cooper. “Additionally, I have signed a state disaster declaration to provide state-funded assistance for those who don’t qualify for SBA aid.” The initial damage assessments reported more than 500 structures were impacted by the earthquake. The SBA damage assessment survey confirmed 43 buildings suffered heavy damage of more than 40% of the building’s value, including 38 homes and 5 businesses / Read more…



  • App State Department of Theatre and Dance Creates Virtual Slate of Fall Performances


    August 31, 2020  Faced with the uncertainty of holding in-person performances during the fall, the Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance has created its own virtual stage and a slate of seven unique performance opportunities for students. By partnering with other organizations to develop new performances and selecting original work from other artists, faculty are offering a line-up that includes the timely COVID Chronicles monologues, a throw-back radio drama of Dracula with WASU-FM, a student dance showcase and an internationally curated dance film festival. / Read more…



  • August Ends with Flash Flood Watch to Wrap Up a Damp Month in the High Country

    August 31, 2020 Rain measurements certainly vary across the High Country, but for most of the residents, it has been a month of showers and storms popping up almost daily. According to data from Ray’s Weather Center, Boone received measurable rainfall on 22 of the 31 days in August. Overall, Boone had 6.48 inches of rain heading into Monday, which could end up being one of the rainiest days of the month. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for Watauga County through midnight with the chance of two to three inches and locally higher amounts falling throughout the day. Blowing Rock and Deep Gap had a little less rain than Boone with between four and five inches total for the month. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Hickory Ridge Museum Re-Creates Daniel and Rebecca Boone’s Wedding for a Fundraiser


    August 31, 2020  Personally invited guests were able to attend a reenactment of Daniel Boone’s wedding on the grounds of the Hickory Ridge History Museum on Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. The Southern Appalachian Historical Association, whose mission is to explore, preserve and share the region’s rich cultural heritage, held this event as a fundraiser to help restore one of the cabins on the property where rain and water damage has started to rot the logs. The cabin that is needing to be restored is the Tatum Cabin, which is the oldest cabin on the property. It is estimated to date back as early as 1785 and was originally located near Elk Crossroads in what is now Todd. The cabin was donated to the SAHA by the Tatum family in the 1950s. It is typical of the times and represents a home Daniel Boone would have lived in. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Providing a Splash of Happy: New Vibrant Turchin Center Stair Mural Now Needs a Name!


    August 31, 2020. A stunning site-specific art installation has just been completed on the outdoor grand staircase at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The Turchin Center is situated on King Street and lies at the crossroads of Appalachian State University and downtown Boone and this staircase serves as a pedestrian connector between the two. Several years ago the staff and advisory board at the Turchin Center recognized the imposing concrete staircase as a “blank canvas” with potential to be transformed into something special. After considering a variety of artists, the dynamic duo of Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn @jessieandkatey were commissioned to transform the stairs into what has become an eye-popping mural. The concept for the mural takes it cues from textiles and the design is a vibrant and geometric painted stair runner that runs from the top of the 36-step grand staircase, flowing to the bottom of the steps and beyond, and terminating with a fringed edge often found on a rug. / Read more…



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