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Today’s Email Announcements

Citizen Science Program Calling For Help Observing the Weather

Do you ever wonder how much rainfall you received from a recent thunderstorm? How about snowfall during a winter storm? If so, an important volunteer weather observing program needs your help! The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunteers across North Carolina. The grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based and amateur rain spotters with a goal of providing a high density precipitation network that will supplement existing observations.

CoCoRaHS came about as a result of a devastating flash flood that hit Fort Collins, Colorado, in July 1997. A local severe thunderstorm dumped over a foot of rain in several hours while other portions of the city had only modest rainfall. The ensuing flood caught many by surprise and caused $200 million in damages. CoCoRaHS was born in 1998 with the intent of doing a better job of mapping and reporting intense storms. As more volunteers participated, rain, hail, and snow maps were produced for every storm showing fascinating local patterns that were of great interest to scientists and the public. Recently, drought reporting has also become an important observation within the CoCoRaHS program across the nation. In fact, drought observations from CoCoRaHS are now being included in the National Integrated Drought Information System.

North Carolina became the twenty-first state to establish the CoCoRaHS program in 2007, and by 2010, the CoCoRaHS network had reached all 50 states with nearly ten thousand observations being reported each day.  Through CoCoRaHS, thousands of volunteers, young and old, document the size, intensity, duration and patterns of rain, hail, and snow by taking simple measurements in their own backyards.

Volunteers may obtain an official rain gauge through the CoCoRaHS website ( http://www.cocorahs.org ) for about $30 plus shipping. Besides the need for an official 4 inch plastic rain gauge, volunteers are required to take a simple training module online and use the CoCoRaHS website to submit their reports. Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for the public to view. The process takes only five minutes a day, but the impact to the community is tenfold: By providing high quality, accurate measurements, the observers are able to supplement existing networks and provide useful results to scientists, resource managers, decision makers and other users.

“North Carolina has one of the most complex climates in the U.S.,” said Dr. Ryan Boyles, state climatologist and director of the State Climate Office, based at North Carolina State University.  “Data gathered from CoCoRaHS volunteers are very important in better understanding local weather and climate patterns.”

“An additional benefit of the program to the National Weather Service is the ability to receive timely reports of significant weather (hail, intense rainfall, localized flooding) from CoCoRaHS observers that can assist forecasters in issuing and verifying warnings for severe thunderstorms,” says David Glenn, CoCoRaHS State Co-coordinator and meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City.

How does one become a CoCoRaHS observer? Go to the CoCoRaHS website above and click on the “Join CoCoRaHS” emblem on the upper right side of the main website.  After registering, take the simple online training, order your 4 inch rain gauge and start reporting!

“We are in need of new observers across the entire state. We would like to emphasize rural locations, areas of higher terrain, and areas near the coast,” added Glenn.

North Carolina CoCoRaHS can also be reached on Facebook and through Twitter.


March Madness Begins at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort Today

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, North Carolina. Monday, March 6, 2017. – Mother Nature’s been dishing out a lot of surprises this year. Let’s hope she gives us winter in March.

Today, March Madness at Sugar Mountain Resort begins. Every day until the end of the season customers will realize an automatic twenty-five percent discount off of prices onlift/slope tickets (including groups), ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals, and alltubing and ice-skating tickets.

That’s not all! Items throughout the ski shop are on sale too, and Winter Value Packageprices drop another notch and expand into weekends.

Extra March Madness fun includes Sugar’s annual Easter egg hunt on March 12. The on-snow search for treasures is open for youngsters twelve and under. A season pass valid for next winter is among the thousands of plastic surprise-filled eggs scattered along the Lower Flying Mile slope.  

Stay tuned to www.skisugar.com/cams for a real-time look at Sugar Mountain Resort’s spring-time amusement.   

For more information call 800-SUGAR-MT or visit www.skisugar.com.  


BRAHM’S “History of the Junaluska Community” to Close in 6 Days

The Appalachian Mountains are the oldest in the world. If you’ve traveled to the top of Howard’s Knob to see the beautiful view across the town of Boone, you’ve been on Junaluska Road, and you may not have known that you passed by one of the oldest, most historic African American communities in western North Carolina: Junaluska, the “town within a town.” Much of Boone’s African American history was not thoroughly recorded until after 1900, making it difficult to trace earlier lineages and events. We do know, however, that African Americans have lived in the North Carolina mountains since the 1700’s. African Americans in Boone lived in a tight-knit area that is today known as Junaluska. Even after desegregation and amidst all the bustle and growth of the twenty-first century, Junaluska has remained a predominantly African American community. Today, you’ll find both blacks and whites living in Junaluska. Members of the community are close, and the community itself has endured through the years. The rich stories and history of the community of Junaluska make it one of Boone’s treasures—yet until recently, many locals and visitors have been unaware that it even existed.

Made possible in part through the support of the Watauga County Community Foundation and the Junaluska Heritage Association.


TAP Talks at the Marriott Courtyard, Mar. 28

TAP Talks, based on the internationally renowned TED Talks, offer ten 30-minute presentations by experts in their business fields, focusing on Tangible, Actionable, and Practical information that business owners can implement immediately. Network with your fellow attendees and talk one-on-one with speakers during lunch. Running a business can be overwhelming and sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. TAP Talks were created to provide information, resources, and support to North Carolina business owners. We hope to see you there.

Th event will take place at the Marriott Courtyard in Boone on March 28. 

Topics include:

  • Tips to Negotiating your Best Lease
  • Business Insurances: What’s Required, Recommended, and Why
  • Business IP-Trademarks, Copyrights, and Who Owns What?
  • Navigating Consumer Complaints 
  • Steps to Build and Leverage Business Relationships to Multiple your Reach/Profit
  • What is happening at the General Assembly That Every Retailer Needs to Know
  • Social Media and PR for Your Business-How, What, When, and Where
  • And others

Registration and coffee station opens at 8:30am and the program starts promptly at 9:00am.

Lunch and Handouts/Sheets are included in your registration (please let us know in registration if you have any specific dietary requirements).


Appalachian Hosts Food for Thought, a Sustainable, Community Series on Food Beginning Mar. 7

This spring, Appalachian State University is hosting a four-part community series on sustainable food. Appalachian Food Research for Equity, Sustainability and Health (AppalFRESH) and Research Institute for Environment, Energy and Economics (RIEEE) will sponsor “Food for Thought,” a series of talks about sustainable food in the High Country. Each of the sessions will take place in the Jimmy Smith Room of the Roess Central Dining Hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served and additional food will be available for purchase in the Central Dining Hall.

The first in the series on Tuesday, March 7, is “Food Sovereignty in the High Country: from a global movement to our local community.” Jacqui Ignatova, a faculty member in the Goodnight Family Department of Sustainable Development, and Grace Plummer, program specialist for the the Appalachian Energy Center and RIEEE, will lead the round-table discussion on the meaning of food sovereignty and its relevance to our community. Food sovereignty is defined by the United States Food Sovereignty Alliance as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” The snow date is Tuesday, March 21.

The second session, Thursday, March 23, is “Food Security: food access issues among rural and low income populations.” The discussion will focus on factors contributing to and strategies for alleviating food insecurity in this region. Food insecurity, as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, is “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” A question and answer session led by Adam Hege, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, and Lanae Ball, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Care Management, will follow.

Session three of the series, “Let’s Get Cooking: what science tells us about efficient cooking and children’s eating,” is scheduled for Tuesday, April. 4. This lecture and question and answer session will look at research that suggests parents play an important role in socialization of children’s eating behaviors and long-term habits. It will also explore the science that informs the selection of kitchen tools, such cast iron skillets, that can boost iron intake. Led by Amy Galloway, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, and Carla Ramsdell, a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the session will look at effective and efficient ways to cook for enjoyment and success.

The final session on Tuesday, May 2, “Food and Film in the High Country,” is a screening of three short documentaries created by students in the Appalachian studies master’s program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The films highlight food-related issues in the High Country including beekeeping, F.A.R.M. Cafe (a pay-what-you-can community cafe that feeds all regardless of means) and a 19th-century water-powered mill in Meat Camp. This session will be hosted by Jessica Martell and Zack Vernon, assistant professors in the Department of English.

For a map and more information, visit https://rieee.appstate.edu/FoodForThought or contact Carla Ramsdell at ramsdellcs@appstate.edu with questions or to obtain video of the events.


Watauga County Historical Society Program at Watauga County Public Library, Mar. 9

Join the Watauga County Historical Society on Thursday, March 9 starting at 5:00 pm in the Evelyn Johnson Meeting Room at the Watauga County Public Library for a free talk and discussion lead by Paul Fuller on the catastrophic August 1940 flood. The 1940 flood greatly impacted Watauga County, and many of the impacts of this nature disaster are still prevalent today. Learn more about why the flood was so powerful and significant and specifically how it changed the course of Watauga County. Paul Fuller, a public historian, works as a reference and genealogy specialist at the Watauga County Public Library, serves as an officer of the Watauga County Historical Society, and is instrumental in the ongoing work with the Digital Watauga Project. He earned his master in Public History from University of Massachusetts, Boston, and was a Merit Scholar at Western Connecticut State University. Since arriving in Boone, Fuller has contributed his specialized skills to the Blowing Rock and Watauga County Historical societies, and worked as a Historic Preservation Commission project assistant and architectural survey technician for the Town of Boone. Fuller will discuss his research on the 1940 flood with a lecture and corresponding presentation. Community members with memories, photographs, or other information regarding the 1940 are invited to come and share their materials. Light refreshments will be served starting at 5:00 pm with the program beginning at 5:30 pm. To learn more about the Watauga County Historical Society and the Digital Watauga Project visit wataugacountyhistoricalsociety.org and digitalwatauga.org. Media contact – Virginia Falck, virginiafalck@gmail.com