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Today’s Email Announcements

1) Lees-McRae Celebrates 11th Annual Mountain Day of Service

Lees-McRae celebrated its 11th annual Mountain Day of Service on April 9. This annual day of service resulted in 1,134 hours of service completed by 378 students, faculty, staff and volunteers. Altogether, the campus community participated in 29 projects, two off campus and 27 on campus. After all the hard work was complete, participants gathered on Tate Lawn to enjoy a cookout, fellowship with one another and the beautiful spring weather.

“It was so amazing to see faculty, staff and students come together to give back to a community that gives so much to them on a daily basis,” said Cassie Hughes, student development intern and coordinator of this year’s Mountain Day of Service.

The tradition of Mountain Day at Lees-McRae goes back to the school’s founder, the Rev. Edgar Tufts. Each fall, Rev. Tufts would surprise the school during chapel by announcing, “It is a good day to climb Beech.” Following the proclamation, the entire school would set off up Beech Mountain. When they reached the end of the five-mile climb, a feast of potatoes, corn and sandwiches would be waiting on the group.

Mountain Day was renewed as a semiannual tradition during the early years of the 21st century; more than 100 years after Tufts founded the school. Beginning in 2005, the spring Mountain Day was dedicated to community service, leaving the fall celebration as a day of rest and fun.

For more information about Mountain Day of Service at Lees-McRae College, contact Jon Driggers, vice president of student development and dean of students, at 828-898-8797 or driggersj@lmc.edu.

2) New Online Resource Guide for High Country Farmers and Gardeners, Printed Handbook Coming Soon

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture launched a web-based guide to farming and agriculture in the Blue Ridge on Monday. This comprehensive website aims to connect new and beginning farmers with invaluable resources and mentors in order to jump-start their connection to the local food system in the high country region.

Including online and literary resources as well as helpful organizations and workshops, the handbook website is an area-specific guide to challenges faced by farmers in the region, such as financing, season extension, land access and variety selection. The displayed resources were chosen under the guidance of successful farmers in the region.

This website resource is part of an ongoing project that will result in The Blue Ridge Farm Book, which profiles thirteen exemplary farmers in the high country. These one-on-one interviews will tell of their struggles and triumphs along the way, as well as personal advice on what they consider to have been vital to their successes. Complementing these profiles is documentary-style photography by Lou Murrey, a photographer native to the high country.

The Blue Ridge Farm Book will be released on May 17  from 4-6 p.m. at a free event at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum. Participants are invited to be the first to read the handbook, talk with the farmers involved, participate in a silent auction, and view handbook photos by Lou Murray Photography. Complementary refreshments and old-time music will be provided and the museum’s galleries will be open for viewing.

The printed handbook will be available free of charge to all BRWIA members and for a small fee for non-members. The public is invited to browse the handbook webpage available now.

Visit http://handbook.brwia.org/ to browse farmer resources and contact Suzanne Fleishman by email at Suzanne@brwia.org for more information regarding the book release event.

3) Boone Chamber Announces Upcoming Ribbon Cuttings

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that ribbon cutting ceremonies will take place for the following local establishments in the coming weeks:

TODAY: OrthoCarolina of Boone, 194 Doctors Drive, 4-6 p.m., ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m.

FRIDAY: Barberitos Southwestern Grill and Cantina, 2575 N.C. Highway 105 S., ribbon cutting at noon

SATURDAY: Lowes Foods, 267 New Market Center, ribbon cutting at noon, live music and activities throughout the day

MONDAY, APRIL 20: Mountaineer Cleaners, 240 Shadowline Dr. Suite AA13, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., ribbon cutting at noon

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22: Bella’s Italian Restaurant, 190 Boone Heights Drive, 6-9 p.m., ribbon cutting at 7 p.m., must R.S.V.P. to wysteria.white@boonechamber.com

4) Winson-Salem VA Regional Office to Host Town Hall Meeting with Veterans

In order to regain the trust of veterans, the Winston-Salem regional office of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will team up with Goodwill Industries to host a walk-in clinic, resource center and town hall meeting for veterans, their families, VA partners, the public and the media.

The event will provide assistance with VA claims, loan gauranty, vocational rehabilitation and education benefits. Employees will be on hand to assit veterans with filing and status of claims and other benefit services. Training will be provided on the VA Choice Program and Understanding Claims process. This training is open to all attendees.

The event will be held on Saturday at Goodwill Industries, 2701 University Parkway in Winston Salem, 27105. Parking will be made available.

The schedule of events will include:

– Town Hall at 10 a.m.

– Veterans Choice Program Training at 11:30 a.m.

– Understanding the Claims Process Training at 1 p.m.

“When we started town halls, our goal was to hear feedback directly from our customers and find ways to incorporate that feedback in the way we do business,” said Cheryl Rawls, director of the Winston-Salem Regional Office. “These claims clinics are a realization of that goal. It gives veterans, their families and survivors the opportunity to see firsthand what VA needs to process and make a decision on a claim, and allows VA to share our expertise by explaining to veterans what is needed to establish service connection or an increase rating.”

The event will offer a variety of services for area Veterans. VA representatives will be on-hand to assist with filing claims for benefits, answer questions about current claims, assist with disability claims status, and eBenefits registration. Vocational rehabilitation counselors will be available to discuss the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program and assist with claims for that program as well. Veterans Healthcare Administration will be providing healthcare screenings, appointment scheduling, and benefit assistance. The Vet Clinic will be present to provide counseling services.

5) Sign up now for Gentle Stretch Exercise Program in Cove Creek

Offered by the Western Watauga Community Center in Cove Creek, the Gentle Stretch Excercise Program is designed for people who wish to increase their flexibility and gain strength. Exercises will be done either sitting or lying on the floor on a mat.

The class will meet for 10 weeks on Thursdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. beginning April 23.

The cost is $62. Pre-registration with advance payment is required before the first class and is to be paid at the community center. Classes are held at the Jung Tao school next door.

The instructor is Akal Dev Sharonne. For information, call Toni Wait at 828-297-5195 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

6) Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild to Host Monthly Meeting

The Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild will hold its monthly meeting on May 7 in the conference room on the third floor of the Senior Center on Poplar Grove Connector in Boone. The group will make donation quilts.

Work will begin at 10 a.m., break for lunch and a short business meeting and then continue working until 3 p.m.

Come for part of the day or stay the entire time. Bring a lunch if you plan to be there all day. The Guild will supply the fabric, fleece, patterns, an iron and ironing board. We will need help cutting the fabric, ironing and sewing it. Bring your sewing machine if you wish to help with the sewing. If you are interested in learning how to quilt, this would be a great opportunity to see all the steps involved in making one. All quilts are donated to local organizations for use by people in our community. Call Susan at 828-263-8399 for more information.

7) ASU to Observe Suicide Awareness Week April 21-25

Students, faculty and staff at Appalachian State University and community members will join together April 21–25 in a week dedicated to remember those lost to suicide and work to prevent further losses.

Appalachian’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center, including Suicide Prevention Coordinator Elisabeth Cavallaro, and students representing student government, Greek life, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and other groups have planned a variety of events to mark the week.

Campus activities include suicide prevention training for students, faculty and staff. Sessions will be held April 21 from 10 a.m. to noon in Plemmons Student Union’s Three Top Mountain room and April 22 from 2-4 p.m. in the Beacon Heights Room. A kickoff event will be hosted April 21 beginning at 4 p.m. and will include prizes awarded to the group with the highest completion rate of online suicide prevention training.

Events open to the public include the Together We Rise celebration of community on Sanford Mall April 21 from 5–8 p.m. The event will include refreshments, music, volleyball, cornhole tie-dye and speakers.

“Connection is an important factor in mental health, and this event will give students a great reason to leave their dorm rooms and interact with their fellow students in a positive, uplifting way,” Cavallaro said.

Also open to the public is the movie “To Write Love on Her Arms” will be shown Wednesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. in Belk Library Room 114. The film depicts the story of a young woman battling bipolar disorder, addiction and self-harm. It follows her struggle to get clean and sober enough to enter rehab, as well as her realistically imperfect recovery. A panel discussion featuring professionals and students will follow the screening.

An opportunity to remember those lost will take place April 23 from 6:30-9 p.m. during Suicide Remembrance Night held on Sanford Mall. The evening will include speakers and the making of a “String of Hope,” composed of personalized message cards featuring purple mental illness awareness ribbons strung between trees on campus.

Saturday morning’s capstone event is the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, a fundraising event for Appalachian and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Although fundraising is encouraged, participation in the walk is free and community members are invited and encouraged to attend. Registration begins at 8 a.m. on April 25 on Sanford Mall.

For more information on any of these events, contact Elisabeth Cavallaro at 828-262-7326 or cavallaroe@appstate.edu or visit http://preventsuicide.appstate.edu/index.php?module=pagesmith&uop=view_page&id=19.

8) Soil and Water Conservation Board to Meet April 22

The Watauga Soil and Water Conservation District Board will hold its regular board meeting April 22 at 8 a.m. at the Soil and Water Office, 971 West King St. in Boone. The public is invited to attend.

9) Native Gardens to Host Bird Wildflower Walk and Plant Sale April 25

The Daniel Boone Native Gardens will host the eighth annual Early Bird Wildflower Walk and Plant Sale on April 25 from 8 a.m. to noon. See the Gardens in spring splendor and browse local vendors featuring locally-grown plants. The event will be free and hosted at 651 Horn in the West Drive in Boone next to Horn in the West outdoor drama. Call 828-264-6390 for information or visit www.DanielBooneNativeGardens.org.