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Today’s Email Announcements

Heidi Ragan Named Watauga District Manager 

Blue Ridge Energy has announced that Heidi Ragan has been promoted to Watauga District Manager.

Jason Lingle previously served as District Manager for the Watauga office but has been promoted to Director of Innovative Energy Solutions.

Ragan joined Blue Ridge Energy in 2017 as Training and Development Manager. She was responsible for developing training and development programs for employees of both the cooperative and propane and fuels business. Previously, she was Manager of Organizational Development for Transportation Insight in Hickory, NC and as Director of Career Services in the Walker College of Business for Appalachian State University.

She earned her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Appalachian State University. Ragan has also been recognized as one of the “Top 10 Under 40” in Catawba County and has served with Samaritan’s Feet fundraisers since 2012. She has also served on the boards of Hickory Foundation YMCA and the Family Guidance Center and has been active in various community and charitable initiatives.

Ragan and her husband Greg along with their daughter recently relocated to Watauga County, where much of her family resides.

In her new position, Ragan works in partnership with Steve Woodring, operations manager, to lead the Watauga district team of employees in serving Blue Ridge members and with Kevin Ward, Propane and Fuels district manager, to serve the customers of the cooperative’s propane and fuels subsidiary in Watauga County. Ragan also has responsibilities for the Watauga district office showroom sales of propane home and hearth products such as gas logs and fireplaces, water heaters, backup power generators and outdoor living items including fire tables, grills and heaters.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Avery and Wilkes counties. The cooperative’s subsidiary, Blue Ridge Energy propane and fuels, provides residential and commercial services in the cooperative’s service area and beyond. Learn more at BlueRidgeEnergy.com.

Boone Town Council Special Meeting Notice

Pursuant to authority granted under North Carolina General Statute 160A-71(b)(1), the Boone Town Council hereby gives notice to those concerned that a Special Meeting of the Boone Town Council will take place on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 9 a.m. at the Council Chambers located at 1500 Blowing Rock Road in Boone.

The purpose of the meeting will be to allow council members to attend a meeting of the Town of Boone Water Advisory Committee.

2019 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards Seek Nominations  

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards. High Country United Way staff and volunteers have been assigned the collection of the nominations and judging the entries to submit to Governor Roy Cooper’s Office of Volunteer Service.

The awards program, created by the Office of the Governor in 1979, recognizes North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers. Through the years, the award has been bestowed on thousands of North Carolinians who have shown concern and compassion for their neighbors by volunteering in their community.

Each county selects up to ten individuals, businesses, groups/teams and one paid Director of Volunteers to be recognized for their outstanding contributions to their communities. Nominees may be in the following categories: Family, Group/Team, Youth, Senior, Perseverance in Voluntarism, Faith Based Entity, Corporate/Business, National Service and Director of Volunteers.

Awards will be given in the following service categories; Veteran/Military, Serving Youth, Disaster, Animals, Cultural, Environment, Health and Human and Human Services and Other. One of the nominees will be eligible for the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, which is awarded to the top 20 volunteers in the state. A local committee will evaluate the nominations.

Nominations forms are available online at volunteernc.org or acquire a hard copy of the application at the High Country United Way office at 1675 Blowing Rock Road, Suite 400 ( Lifestore Bank Building), Boone, NC   28607. Nominations must be typed and delivered to High Country United Way or submitted online to volunteernc.org no later than 5pm on January 15, 2019. No nominations will be received after that time. Local winners will be notified and announced in late January.

For more information, contact Marti Phillips at director@highcountryunitedway.org or call 828-264-2111.

Watauga High School Hosting Annual Parent Night Open House

Watauga High School is set to hold it’s annual parent night open house Jan. 15 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. for Blowing Rock, Hardin Park, and Valle Crucis students, and Jan. 29 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. for Bethel, Cove Creek, Green Valley, Mabel, Parkway, and Two Rivers students.

Students and parents will get general information about Watauga High School and have the opportunity to explore the school and talk to teachers about specific classes or programs that interest them.

For more information contact Watauga High School at 828-264-2407.

First Day Hikes Break State Park Records 

Hikers join Superintendent Joe Shimel on Luther Rock during a first day hike at Mount Jefferson State Natural Area.

First Day Hikes offered at all of North Carolina’s state parks on New Year’s Day brought a record 3,859 people to join 57 guided hikes across the state. Mild, dry weather made the hikes more attractive than those in 2018, which were marred by rain and winter weather.  

To start the new year, hundreds of dogs, two llamas and a goat joined their human companions on various hikes. Participants ranged in age from newborn to 95 years young. Cliffs of the Neuse State Park set a record for their park’s first day hike program with 300 participants.

Many traditional events continued, including the First Day 5-K at Haw River, the Polar Plunge at Hanging Rock and the Two State, One Hike partnership between Crowders Mountain State Park in N.C. and Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina.

“I was thrilled to see so many North Carolinians in our parks, particularly the record number at Cliffs of the Neuse,” said state parks Director Dwayne Patterson, who grew up in Kinston near the park. “These hikes were a great start to the year for people of all ages, and I look forward to millions more people enjoying healthy outdoor recreation activities at our beautiful state parks throughout the year.” 

Nationally, First Day Hikes is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country. In North Carolina, the tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago. All N.C. state parks have offered first day hikes since 2012.

A complete list of First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found at https://www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes.

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 234,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state’s natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR’s mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state’s history, conserving the state’s natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette’s Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov.

Blue Ridge Conservancy Renews National Recognition Accreditation Awarded by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) achieved land trust accreditation renewal from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

“Blue Ridge Conservancy’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire community,” said Charlie Brady, BRC’s Executive Director. “Due largely to our staff’s expertise and professionalism, the Land Trust Accreditation Commission has awarded BRC a renewal of our Certificate of Accreditation. Accreditation is the highest national distinction for land conservancies. It is only awarded to organizations that exemplify standards of excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure conservation achievements are permanently protected.”

Each accredited land trust completes a rigorous review process and joins a network of organizations united by strong ethical practices. This trusted network of land trusts has demonstrated fiscal accountability, strong organizational leadership, sound transactions and lasting stewardship of the lands they conserve. Accreditation is awarded on a 5 year term. 

Accredited land trusts display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. 

To date, Blue Ridge Conservancy has protected over 20,800 acres in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina.  The focus region includes the seven counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey. These lands contain significant agricultural, cultural, recreational, ecological, and scenic resources.  The acres protected include privately-owned land conserved through voluntary conservation easements and land that has been purchased and transferred to public ownership.  

BRC has assisted the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain State Park and Elk Knob State Park in expanding their borders, established Pond Mountain Game Land and is spearheading the Middle Fork Greenway project to connect Blowing Rock to Boone, naturally.

“Blue Ridge Conservancy is again proud to be recognized as a national leader in conservation. It provides assurance that the conservancy operates under the highest standards,” said Brady.

Caldwell Arts Council Seeks Artists for 2020 Exhibitions

The Caldwell Arts Council will accept portfolios from local and regional artists for possible exhibitions in 2020 at our Caldwell Arts Council gallery (seven one-month exhibition possibilities).

All details for submitting your portfolio are available on our website at https://www.caldwellarts.com/157-submission-guidelines-for-exhibit-consideration/ and portfolios will be accepted through January 31, 2019.

About the Caldwell Arts Council

The Caldwell Arts Council is a regional arts center that presents art exhibits and educational programming that foster the cultural arts in Caldwell County.

Our center is housed in an historic 100+ year old home. There are four gallery spaces that have been renovated as professional exhibit spaces. Exhibits range from contemporary to traditional and include 2-D and 3-D exhibitions.

The Caldwell Arts Council exhibits artists from across the country and has a reputation for quality exhibits. For information on the gallery space or to see a list of upcoming exhibits please visit our website at www.caldwellarts.com.

The Caldwell Arts Council’s programs are supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources and by individual and corporate donors and sponsorships.

January Pickle Ball Schedule at Old Cove Creek Gym

Watauga County Parks and Recreation will continue to offer Pickle Ball at Old Cove Creek Gym, 207 Dale Adams Road, Sugar Grove.

Monday and Wednesday are 1-4 pm., Sunday is 3:30-6:30 p.m. The cost is $2 per day per person. Three courts will be set up at the facility.

Beginning on Sunday, January 19 will be the adult volleyball league. The league will continue through early March.

In the event of inclement weather, check the Watauga County Parks and Recreation Facebook Page, the parks and rec Twitter page @WataugaCountyPR or call the inclement weather line at 828-264-9511.

January pickle ball dates are below

Sunday, January 6

Monday January 7

Wednesday, January 9

Sunday, January 13

Monday, January 14

Wednesday, January 16

Monday, January 21

Wednesday, January 23

Monday, January 28

Wednesday, January 30

Mountaineer Talk Shifts to Basketball

Mountaineer Talk, the Appalachian IMG Sports Network’s weekly coaches call-in show, will shift its focus to basketball starting on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The show will air LIVE from Cafe Portofino (970 Rivers Street) on Tuesday evenings from 7-8 p.m.

Harrison Battle returns to host the weekly show. He will be joined by men’s basketball head coach Jim Fox, women’s basketball head coach Angel Elderkin and a student-athlete from each program.

“I am excited for another season of Mountaineer Talk,” Fox said. “It’s a great way to be able to communicate with our fans and gives them an opportunity to get to know both programs.”

The show can be heard every Tuesday at 7 p.m. during basketball season and will air live nine times throughout conference play.

“The coaches’ show is a great time to meet with fans that support both programs,” Elderkin mentioned. “It’s an excellent opportunity for them to get to know the student-athlete that is appearing on the show. I know it will be a fun atmosphere at Cafe Portofino.” 

Mountaineer Talk can be heard live on the following Appalachian IMG Sports Network affiliates:

  • WKBC 97.3 FM (North Wilkesboro, Charlotte, Hickory, High Country)
  • WZGM 1350 AM (Asheville)MOUNTAINEER TALK SCHEDULE (7-8 P.M.)
    1. Tuesday, Jan. 8
    2. Tuesday, Jan. 15
    3. Tuesday, Jan. 22
    4. Tuesday, Jan. 29
    5. Tuesday, Feb. 5
    6. Tuesday, Feb. 12
    7. Tuesday, Feb. 19
    8. Tuesday, Feb. 26
    9. Tuesday, Mar. 5

    The Mountaineer Talk radio broadcast will also be streamed live and can be heard by clicking HERE(no subscription needed) or through the TuneIn app.

    Fans are encouraged to interact with Battle, Fox, Elderkin and guests during each broadcast by using #MountaineerTalk on Twitter, emailing mountaineertalk@gmail.com or texting 828-351-6878.