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Today’s Email Announcements

High Country Writers, 10/12

Local authors David Harman and Dr. Harvard Ayers will be the featured presenters at the regular meeting of the High Country Writers at the Watauga County Public Library on Thursday, October 12, 2017 at 10:00 am.

The topic of the Harman-Ayers presentation is the evolution of their recently published scientific novel, Train Wreck Earth, a book that teaches the latest scientific findings about climate change, presented in a fictional setting involving a modern university and activists trying to stop a natural gas pipeline. Among the thirteen specific concerns faced in the writing of this book are (1)reasons for writing the book, (2) the theory of the scientific novel genre,(3) women’s voices, (4)role models for low carbon footprints and for activism, and (5) legal matters.

Mr. David Harman is a self-described businessman, environmentalist and self-taught scientific journalist. Not long after he became a North Carolina CPA, he joined the Sierra Club and became active in the local Blue Ridge Group in Boone, N.C.  He has tried to sound the alarm about climate change for many years and is co-author of Arctic Gardens-Voices from an Abundant Land, a non-fiction book that details the lives of First Nation peoples living in the arctic of North America. Harman’s environmental activism includes being co-founder of a non-profit organization that has developed an innovative model to match investors with certain tax profiles with non-profit organizations seeking photovoltaic energy systems for their physical locations.

Dr. Harvard G.Ayers, a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, is a social scientist who writes general interest books and journalistic pieces to explain contemporary environmental and social justice issues of great interest. He was Senior Editor of An Appalachian Tragedy: Air Pollution and Tree Death in the Eastern Forests of North America.(1998) The main intent in his research has been to show the fascinating intersection of modern environmental issues including air pollution and climate change with modern cultures in the Appalachian coal fields and “climate change ground-zero” of the Arctic of Alaska and adjacent Canada, the province of Native American and First Nation peoples. Dr. Ayers’ career spanned 44 years of teaching general anthropology (cultural, physical, and archeology.) He has led ASU students to Mexico, the Native American tribes in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Eskimo and Indian tribes in the Arctic of Alaska and Canada.

High Country Writers has been “energizing” writers since 1995! Regular meetings are at the Watauga County Public Library on second and fourth Thursdays of most months from ten until noon, and speakers’ programs are co-sponsored by the Library. HCW members present writing skills workshops on the first Thursday of the month and have recently partnered with the Watauga Arts Council in hosting these workshops. In the event of inclement weather, the High Country Writers Program will be canceled. Guests are welcome.

Foraging in the Mountains: A Lees-McRae College Stephenson Center for Appalachia Lecture, 10/3    

BANNER ELK, N.C. — Does the price of fresh produce at the grocery stores concern you?  Do you worry about pesticides and other chemicals on your food? An alternative exists.

As part of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia lecture series at Lees-McRae College, Dr. Sean Collins and Dr. Michael Joslin will present a program titled Foraging in the Mountains.

Starting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 in Evans Auditorium inside the Cannon Student Center, attendees can learn the secrets of foraging for fresh, healthy vegetables and mushrooms in the mountains.

For generations, mountain folks have prowled the forest to harvest a wide variety of vegetation and fungi. For early settlers, this process of gathering food was a necessity, and over the years, many have continued the harvest for a variety of reasons. However, foragers must maintain caution and develop a high level of knowledge for the process to be rewarding and not deadly.

Dr. Sean Collins received a Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Marshall University and a Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences from the University of Cincinnati.

His colleague, Dr. Michael Joslin, has published several books that include information on foraging in Southern Appalachian woods.

“We invite everyone in the community to participate in the lecture and learn how to enjoy their environment in a new way,” Director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Lees-McRae, Dr. Michael Joslin, said. “We welcome questions and personal stories about foraging.”

Stephenson Center Lectures are free and open to the public. For information, contact Michael Joslin at joslin@lmc.edu.

MerleFest 2018 volunteer applications accepted, 10/1

WILKESBORO, N.C. (September 26, 2017) – On October 1, 2017, MerleFest, presented by Window World, will beginaccepting online applications for its popular volunteer program. MerleFest is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans that takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C. MerleFest 2018 is slated for April 26-29.

Volunteers may choose if they would like to work a specific number of days or the entire four-day festival. In exchange for working a three- to five-hour shift, volunteers will receive free entry in the festival for that day.

Those who are interested in volunteering can apply online at MerleFest.org/volunteer. Any questions regarding the volunteer application process should be directed to merlefest.volunteer@wilkescc.edu. Volunteers are vital to the festival and often travel from around the world, making their work at MerleFest an annual event. However, positions are limited and do fill early, so those interested are encouraged to apply quickly.

In addition to being an exciting opportunity to experience a world-renowned festival of music, moments and memories, the vast network of volunteers who support MerleFest also help make the festival a highly successful fundraiser for Wilkes Community College. Volunteers work on campus and get to enjoy the buildings and gardens that the monies raised through MerleFest make possible.

Denna Parsons, the MerleFest volunteer coordinator, urges music fans to consider the MerleFest volunteer program. “Volunteering is a great way to give back. And, it is so much fun to volunteer at MerleFest — you walk on campus and feel the excitement in the air,” says Parsons. “It’s a special homecoming, meeting new friends and seeing old ones that you only see once a year at the festival. At the end of the day, you feel like you have made a difference and been a part of something really big.”

Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale November 14, 2017, and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tier pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14, 2017, to February 18, 2018; the Early Bird Tier 2 discount runs from February 19 through April 25. The final tier is for tickets purchased at the gate.

MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk, gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs. For more information, visit www.MerleFest.org.

About Window World

Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares, the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.


Wilkes County Agricultural Fair, 10/3

The Wilkes County Agricultural Fair will begin on Tuesday, Oct. 3, and will run through Saturday, Oct. 7.The Rotary Club of North Wilkesboro will sponsor the event, which is held at the Rotary Fairgrounds beside of West Park in North Wilkesboro.On Saturday a special event at the fair will be a lawnmower race. Practice for the race starts at 4 p.m. Racing begins at 6 p.m. A fairground admission ticket will also admit you to the lawnmower race.

This year’s fair will feature more than 25 rides, a bicycle give away, E-Z ride, petting zoo, Buffalo Barfield’s unheard of style of music and comedy shows,  miniature bull races (yes bull races), 4-H exhibits, and games and food on the midway.

N.E.W. Wrestling will be held at the fair Tuesday through Thursday. Special Friday wrestling includes WCW and NWA professional wrestlers Baby Doll and Bull Dog Chad Byrd. No Joe’s Circus Clown and Trapeze act will be performing every day. There will be 4-H exhibits, coordinated by Wilkes Cooperative Extension Service, will be on hand in the Exhibit Hall. This year, the fair will also feature a hay bale decorating contest.

Gates are open weekdays at 5 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Ride bands are available every day. Gate admission is $8, with children 5 and under admitted free. Students will be admitted free Tuesday through Friday. Ride-all-day wrist bands $15 Tuesday, $17 Wednesdaythrough Saturday.

For more information, call Mike Staley at 336-902-7052.


National Storytelling Festival to Celebrate 45 Years of World-Renowned Storytelling, 10/6-10/8

(Jonesborough, Tenn.) – Tickets are on sale now for the nation’s premier storytelling event, the National Storytelling Festival. A beloved tradition since 1973, the three-day celebration of the world’s oldest art form is expected to draw more than 11,000 fans from across the country.

In our age of fast-moving technology, it seems unlikely that thousands of audience members could spend a weekend mesmerized by the voices of storytellers. But that’s exactly what happens in Jonesborough during the first full weekend of October each year.

Festivities will run October 6-8, with full performance schedules on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The lineup, curated by the International Storytelling Center, consists of more than two dozen world-class storytellers and musicians who represent oral traditions from different times and places. A variety of tickets are available, including weekend passes, one-day tickets, and stand-alone admission to special events.

The Festival’s core programming consists of meticulously produced storytelling shows held beneath big-top tents scattered across downtown Jonesborough. Those performances will run from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The diverse lineup includes master of improvisationBen Haggarty, of Britain, known internationally for his playful, physical and challenging performances; Cuban-American dynamo Carmen Deedy; four-time Grammy award winner and minstrel storyteller David Holt; and Anne Shimojima, who will share folk tales from her Asian heritage and around the world, as well as her Japanese American family’s WWII incarceration camp story.

This year’s featured tellers also include perennial southern favorites such as Donald Davis, Sheila Kay Adams, and Bil Lepp. By showcasing oral traditions from the South and all over the world, the Festival inspires unexpected connections and promotes cultural understanding.

To complement the Festival’s signature storytelling concerts, many of the special events scheduled throughout the weekend are included in the price of the ticket, including Exchange Place, a concert focusing on new talent; the Swappin’ Ground, where anyone can tell a story; and a Story Slam competition that offers cash prizes.

Separately ticketed events include two pre-Festival concerts also held on the Festival grounds: celebrated storyteller Donald Davis, on Wednesday, October 4, and beloved humorist Jeanne Robertson, on Thursday, October 5. Both all-ages shows begin at7:30 p.m. and tickets can be reserved in advance or purchased on site for as long as supplies last.

Visitors can also expect two nights of ghost stories, which are told in the open Autumn air beneath the stars, and a Friday nightMidnight Cabaret featuring Andy Offutt Irwin, who is equal parts mischievous schoolboy and the Marx brothers, peppered with a touch of Southern balladeer.

Three workshops led by nationally-known artists will also be held on Thursday, October 5, in Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall: “Finding the Storytelling in You” with Connie Regan-Blake, “Hidden Gems: Mastering Transitions in Storytelling” with Antonio Rocha, and “Who We Are: A Story-Writing Workshop” with Minton Sparks.

Tickets for the National Storytelling Festival — as well as all special events throughout the week — can be purchased online at www.storytellingcenter.net, at the International Storytelling Center (ISC) in downtown Jonesborough, or on the Festival grounds. The National Storytelling Festival is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Tennessee Arts Commission, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, and Tennessee Quilts. For more information or to make reservations, call ISC at (800) 952-8392, ext. 221.  



Two Watauga County Residents Named William C. Friday Fellows, 9/26

(Elizabeth Young and Kevin Warner among 24 North Carolinians named Friday Fellows.)

September 26, 2017– The William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, the flagship program of Wildacres Leadership Initiative has named two Watauga County residents to its 2017-2019 class.  The William C. Friday Fellowship is a competitive statewide program for cross-sector leaders.  Friday Fellows receive free leadership training over the course of two years in locations across North Carolina including Carteret, Durham, Tyrrell and McDowell counties.

Watauga County residents Elizabeth Young and Kevin Warner will join 22 other North Carolinians in this cohort and a network of over 200 other Friday Fellows alumni.

Young of Boone already displays community leadership as the Executive Director of the Hunger and Health Coalition.  She is also active with the Blowing Rock Rotary Club and is a Peer Collaborator and Mentor for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Institute.

Warner of Boone is Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Appalachian State University.  He is a board member of the Two Rivers Community School and was Guest Panelist for the NC Arts Council Arts-in-Education Grants Panel.

The Friday Fellowship program immerses active leaders in a system where they exercise leadership privileges and responsibilities.  Class members gather for six four-day development seminars facilitated by core faculty and staff.  Extensive reading, writing exercises, coaching and interim full group and subgroup meetings are included in the training.

“Positive change requires leadership rooted in human values, civil dialogue and full inclusion of all people.  The FridayFellowship seeks a balance between the inequities of rugged individualism and the crippling effects of social and economic entitlement.” –Abdul Rasheed, Executive Director

Since 1994, the William C. Friday Fellowship has taught and inspired more than 200 courageous leaders for North Carolina.  These leaders learn to model Bill Friday’s civility, transparency, and collaboration across divergent ideas and identities.  The Friday Fellowship believes leadership is a lifetime practice, not dependent on the skills, virtues or vision of any single person, but upon shared power and mutual responsibility in our varied communities and roles.

About Wildacres Leadership Initiative

Wildacres Leadership Initiative trains, supports, and convenes a statewide network of leaders to take courageous action on North Carolina’s most pressing issues through civil dialogue and by engaging across differences.  Wildacres Leadership Initiative envisions a North Carolina where inclusion, collaboration, and civility create nurturing relationships that embrace difference in order to unleash our collective gifts for the continual improvement of our beloved state.  For more information, please visit http://www.fridayfellowship.org

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Abdul Rasheed, Executive Director at 919-987-1841 or email at rasheed@fridayfellowship.org.

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Lees-McRae College is a private, four-year college offering diverse baccalaureate degrees, strong athletic programs and outstanding faculty. Field-specific career preparation and hands-on learning enhance the broad core curriculum. For more information, please visit www.lmc.edu or call 828.898.5241.