June 11, 2021. The first phase of construction for the long-awaited skatepark in Boone has been approved and scheduled, according to the latest update from JP Pardy at Recess Skate & Snow. Site preparation and grading will begin in June and July with the expectation that the construction of the park will begin in August. Based out of Kitty Hawk, Artisan Skateparks was chosen as the company to construct the Boone Greenway Skatepark. They are currently completing a park project in Richmond, Virginia. Once they are done there, Boone is the next stop on the list. The design for the skatepark was created by Pillar Design Studios based out of Chandler, Arizona. They have designed numerous parks across the country. By Nathan Ham
June 10, 2021. 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.
Compiled by Nathan Ham
June 10, 2021. Two artists will greet visitors at Edgewood Cottage from June 14 through June 20: Mike Koenig, landscape photographer and Evenlight Eagles, leather artisan. Mike Koenig is a nature and landscape photographer located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His work has been published in magazines including Blue Ridge Country, Smoky Mountain Living, WNC, and the official North Carolina Wildlife Magazine. Mike’s work most recently graced the Spring cover of Carolina Mountain Life (CML). Many of his original images represent years of traveling and shooting in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mike would enjoy talking with you about his art and travels from Monday, June 14th through June 20th at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.
June 10, 2021. Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant in Blowing Rock was filled with sounds that left attendees tapping their feet to the tunes of a performance from the old-time string band The Corklickers on the evening of June 6. The Corklickers made an appearance from 4 to 6 p.m. as part of a special event for former High Country resident Julian Monroe Fisher who returned to Blowing Rock for the day to reunite with familiar faces. The Corklickers play old-time music from the 1920s-1930s, and the band started in 1976. Fisher was an original member of the band along with brothers Mark and Gil Adams who hadn’t seen Fisher in 40 years before the reunion. By Harley Nefe
June 10, 2021 Many things come to mind when the names Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer are spoken – savvy business acumen, dedication to their faith community, as well as support for the arts, women’s causes, animal welfare, higher education and more. Especially in the High Country, the Schaefer family name evokes gratitude for the incredible philanthropy, support and wisdom they give to their community. The Schaefers have been great friends to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) throughout the years. They both recently experienced significant health challenges and turned to ARHS to walk with them through their journey of healing.
June 9, 2021. One of Watauga County’s very own community musicians, Mary Greene, has been awarded the 2021 Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowship from South Arts, which is a nonprofit regional arts organization empowering artists, organizations and communities, while striving to increase access to arts and culture. “The South Arts Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellows is quickly becoming one of the premier accolades for traditional artists in the south,” said Mark Freed, Cultural Resources Director for the Town of Boone. Greene is one of only 15 artists across a tri-state region of Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee to receive the fellowship this year, and she is one of only five recipients in North Carolina. By Harley Nefe
June 9, 2021 The community is invited to an outdoor tent revival at Boone United Methodist Church, June 10 and 11. It will be a time of prayer, preaching, music, and fellowship. Wednesday, June 9, a Pre-revival Prayer & Praise service will begin at 6:30 pm. On Thursday, June 10, fellowship will begin at 5:30 pm, with a bring-your-own picnic dinner. Music and revival worship will begin under the tent at 6:30 p.m.On Friday, June 11, fellowship will begin at 5:30 pm, with barbecue and all the fixins’. Music and revival worship will begin under the tent at 6:30 p.m.
June 9, 2021. Since early May, roadside produce stands have tempted our taste buds with one of the season’s most-requested fruits – the strawberry. While we’ve been able to enjoy them by the gallon in recent weeks — turning them into everything from jams, parfaits and delectable desserts— this year’s “local” growing season is fast coming to an end. When I say “local,” I mean those luscious, juicy jewels coming from the piedmont area and beyond, making their way on the back of pickup trucks for us mountain folks to quickly claim and devour. We appreciate those who make this delicacy available to us every spring, and love knowing that through various means of preservation, we can enjoy them in some form for months to come. One of this year’s highlights, and a welcome surprise to many, was learning that local produce dealer, Allen Curtis, was able to man the storefront of his former business for a day or two doing what he loves best — selling fresh, juicy strawberries. We didn’t make it back to town for the occasion, but loved seeing his smiling face on social media. After dealing with Covid and its he debilitating effects for months, he was able to sell his berries one more time. I’m going to miss this year’s strawberries when they’re gone, but will share a few ways to use what we can in the coming days. And, of course, we can always pick up a pint or a quart at the grocery store year-round, but there’s nothing to beat the taste of those first juicy Carolina berries this time every year. By Sherrie Norris
June 9, 2021. The North Carolina High Country’s Linville Gorge has again become the scene of a tragic accident. According to reports, Michael Patrick Ryva of Forest Park, Illinois, fell approximately 80 feet in the gorge and was pronounced dead at the scene by responding medical and rescue personnel. Apparently, the fall happened around 12:25 p.m. Thursday, June 3rd, while Ryva, age 30, was hiking Rock Jock Trail. News outlets report that Burke County, NC Emergency Management officials received a call mid-day on June 3 concerning an injured hiker off Rock Jock Trail in the gorge. More than three hours later, rescuers found Ryva dead. By Tim Gardner
June 7, 2021 The Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the much-anticipated lineup and sponsors for this summer’s Concerts in the Park series of popular musical events. Locals and visitors look forward to this free concert series each year, with shows starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Tate-Evans Town Park Amphitheater (map). Outstanding local and regional bands play fun dance music suitable for all ages, from Southern Rock to Oldies and Soul/Funk. Food vendors are on-site and there is a raffle to support the series. Learn more about the Concerts in the Park on the Chamber website at: https://www.bannerelk.org/concerts-in-the-park.html
June 7, 2021 The Boone EQUIP 11U baseball was back in action last weekend, winning the USSSA TN Memorial Day Classic in Kingsport, Tennessee, with more than 13 states represented on the rosters. In pool play, they defeated the Tri-State Titans out of Kentucky by a score of 9-4 and the Traveler Rest Rockies out of South Carolina by a score of 15-3. They advanced to the Gold Bracket, where they won the first game against the Bristol Crusaders by a score of 11-2 to advance to the Championship Game against the Diamond Reds of Knoxville. The Championship Game went down to the wire, and was tied at 7-7. In the top of the final inning, the Diamond Reds knocked in two runs on a line drive to center, before center fielder Chase Watts’ throw to catcher Zack Woody was fired back to shortstop Coy Greer at second base for the final out.
June 7, 2021 Over 25 different talented artists will show their work to include oils, pastels, watercolor, mixed-media, fiber-art, pottery, leather works and turned-wood creations. Fiber-artist Susan Sharpe finished her week at the Cottage on Sunday and is followed by the High Country Modern Quilt Guild beginning today, June 7. With a current membership of 25 quilters, the Guild’s mission is to support and encourage the growth and development of modern quilting through art, education, and community. Eight members have been juried to present this week at Edgewood Cottage. Their work will include modern design quilts, wall hangings, handbags, baskets and fiber arts. Come learn more about the Guild and these eight artists this week at Edgewood Cottage in Blowing Rock.
June 4, 2021. A look at the recent deed transfers in Watauga County. The information comes courtesy of the Watauga County Register of Deeds.
Compiled by Harley Nefe
June 4, 2021 On Saturday, June 5, the Mast Stores in Boone and Valle Crucis will welcome the Blue Ridge Conservancy (Valle Crucis stores) and the New River Conservancy (Boone store) to the stores in celebration of Land Trust Day. Volunteers will answer questions about the organizations and will offer information about the benefits of protecting land. Mast will donate 20% of the day’s sales to support conservation efforts. The stores will also support Blue Ridge Conservancy and New River Conservancy through a round-up effort that will encourage customers to round-up their purchases to benefit the conservancies during June 1 – 6.
June 4, 2021 An Appalachian Summer Festival (AASF) is thrilled to announce that Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty have been added to the lineup for An Appalachian Summer Festival., July 2-31, 2021 The Broadway stars will take the outdoor stage at State Farm Road Concert Lot for an evening of Broadway hits and unforgettable music on Saturday, July 17 at 8pm. Seating is configured in pods of 2, 4 and 6. Tickets for the Mitchell-Hilty concert and all other festival events are on sale now at www.appsummer.org or by calling the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office at 828-262-4046. Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty replaces the previously scheduled Leslie Odom, Jr. concert, which Mr. Odom had to cancel due to conflicts with his touring schedule. Anyone holding tickets to the Leslie Odom, Jr. concert may call the box office for a straight ticket-for-ticket trade to the Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty performance, or to request a full refund.
June 4, 2021 Downtown Boone Development Association has been designated as an accredited Main Street™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and its partners announce the list of accredited programs to recognize their exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™. “We are proud to recognize this year’s 889 nationally accredited Main Street programs that have worked tirelessly to advance economic vitality and quality of life in their downtowns and commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of Main Street America. “During an incredibly challenging year, these programs demonstrated the power of the Main Street movement to drive impressive local recovery efforts, champion small businesses, and foster vibrant downtown districts. I am inspired by their hard work and confident that these accredited communities will continue to help their downtowns flourish in the next stages of recovery.”
June 4, 2021 Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, endorsed Congresswoman Virginia Foxx for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. In his endorsement of Foxx, President Trump said: Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is an America First conservative who helped us win the Great State of North Carolina in 2016 and 2020. She opposed the Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, Impeachment Hoax, and we can always count on her vote to Make America Great Again. Congresswoman Foxx is Pro-Life, Pro-Second Amendment, supports finishing our almost completed Border Wall, and is a fierce advocate for American workers. I am a big fan of Virginia Foxx, and she has my Complete and Total Endorsement for re-election!
June 4, 2021 Boone installed its first Trash Trout on Winkler Creek on Wednesday, June 2. The passive litter collection device was installed by MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper in partnership with the Town of Boone — which provided the initial funding and is sponsoring the costs of monthly maintenance for the device. The device is a large cage with a wide mouth that floats on pontoons. Booms are anchored upstream on each bank to direct floating debris into the mouth of the cage. Large pieces of floating trash and plastic are trapped inside the Trash Trout, while smaller organic matter passes through and fish and other aquatic wildlife pass below the device.
June 4, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From CRAIG DUDLEY / Dear Editor, I’m amazed by what Americans support/ignore. America’s ignorant, chaotic and inconsistent politics has no focus beyond maintaining control. Divide and conquer is working: Americans are fighting each other in the streets as the one percent increases their control. You’re fighting the wrong foes. It seems impossible to discuss anything in this crumbling country, without some virtue signaler making it a racial issue. Whatever the problem, it’s said to especially impact Black people. Any “debate” attempt brings cries of ‘racism’. The only Whites allowed focus on ‘racism’. America’s biased politics centers on “victims”. Our nation is fixated on race, obsessed with Black interests, complaints, and their experience. If it wasn’t for slavery and Jim Crow, little American history would be discussed at all. The racism card, played all too often, is mostly nonsense, ignoring the culture clash involved. Before you jump, I was, in part, raised by a black man from Virginia.
June 4, 2021. After several months’ delay from a backlog of court cases being heard due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jared Benjamin Lafer, of 147 Rockdale Road, of Bakersville in Mitchell County, appeared in court May 27 for an incident that happened on September 13, 2020. Lafer has been accused of a hit-and-run during a Black Lives Matter protest in Johnson City, TN. He is alleged to have hit Jonathan Bowers with his vehicle causing multiple injuries to Bowers. During this court proceeding Bowers said Lafer could have gone in a different direction instead of hitting him. Lafer reportedly was in the region for a dinner date with relatives when he drove up upon a group of Black Lives Matter protestors. Lafer apparently hit Bowers with his SUV when he turned right toward the highway. By Tim Gardner
June 3, 2021 Toby Guinn, licensed practical nurse at Life Care Center of Banner Elk, received Life Care Centers of America’s Eastern Division Whatever It Takes And Then Some Award on May 13 for his dedication to customer service. Life Care awarded Guinn a $1,000 cash prize during an awards ceremony at the facility. Facility leadership surprised Guinn, who was told he needed to watch a training video. When the video started, it was actually a video of fellow associates at the facility, as well as residents, talking about what they appreciate about him. “I’ve never been more surprised – I was blown away,” Guinn said. “There are so many deserving people that I can think of. The people you work with make you better, and I work with the best.” Guinn was chosen from among thousands of associates in the Eastern Division and was one of only eight associates from Life Care’s more than 200 facilities nationwide to receive the award.
June 2, 2021. The old-time string band The Corklickers will be making an appearance at Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant in Blowing Rock for a performance from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, June 6. This performance is part of a special reunion event for former High Country resident Julian Monroe Fisher who will be returning from an exploration in Belize. Fisher is an explorer, Anthropologist, photographer and published author among many other accolades. His segue into his research and travels began in the High Country. The first time Fisher heard of the word Anthropology was during his junior year of college at Appalachian State University when his roommate, Mark Adams, was taking an Anthropology course and suggested the class to Fisher. Mark Adams along with his brother, Gil Adams, are members of the band The Corklickers, who play old-time music from the 1920s-1930s. The band started in early 1976, and Fisher was an original member of the band. By Harley Nefe
June 2, 2021.
During the month of June, we are encouraged to celebrate National Dairy Month with our favorite dairy treat. Originally established as a grocery/milk promotion in 1937, National Dairy Month now serves as a reminder of the health benefits that dairy products provide. Containing essential nutrients — including calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein, dairy products are thought to also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers, while helping us to better manage our weight. According to the National Dairy Association/Council, here are a few fun facts to keep in mind this month as we celebrate. –>. By Sherrie Norris
June 2, 2021 Data recorded at the official National Weather Service reporting station at Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge indicated average May weather at the Linville, N.C., nature park. The lowest temperature observed in April 2021 was 31° Fahrenheit on May 8. The lowest temperature ever observed on Grandfather Mountain in the month of May was 15° on May 6, 1957. The warmest day recorded in May 2021 was 76° on May 25 and 27 — only 2 degrees shy of the mountain’s record May high of 78°, recorded May 19, 1996. The average high temperature for the month was 62.3°, with an average low of 45°, for a May 2021 mean of 53.7°.
June 2, 2021 Community members are asking for donations to support safe and affordable housing for Watauga Habitat for Humanity’s 2021 Big Kahuna Campaign. Local “movers and shakers” have volunteered to participate in a friendly, competition to see who can raise the most money to support Habitat’s affordable housing program. The winning team will be crowned The Big Kahuna on June 10th at Booneshine Brewing Company. With less than two weeks remaining, the 2021 Kahuna Campaign has raised $30,600 so far. Past winners include Linda Robinson of Premier Sotheby’s, Justin Davis of Blowing Rock Town Tavern, Jenny Miller/Community Volunteer, Crystal Smith formerly of Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Ginny Walker of Mountain Times Publications. In 2020, Watauga Habitat’s recruited Kahuna teams replacing individual participants and the winning team was Three Kahunas and a Guy (Jenny Miller, John Dean, Jane Meyers, and Susan Devine) raising close to $12,000. Over the past six years, Habitat’s Big Kahuna Campaign has raised more than $230,000.