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Today’s Email Announcements

What’s Happening This Week at Lost Province Brewing

Tuesday February 12

Get Lost for a Cause Supporting ASU Dance Marathon: The ASU Dance Marathon is Feb.16 from 10am-1am and is raising money to support the Western Youth Network (WYN) and Parent to Parent Family Support Network. We will be donating 10% of total sales from the entire day 2/12 to the Dance Marathon. Join us for raffles, music, beer and more!

Wednesday February 13

7pm-9pm Trivia Night: Beginning at 7pm, Lost Province will be hosting Trivia Night. Compete on your own or on a team! The competition gets started at 7pm so come a little early for a pizza and a pint and get your seat!

Thursday February 14

$3.00 Thursday and College Night-$3.00 pints on all Lost Province brewed beers (except high gravity).

7:30-Closing College Night and Live Music featuring Chris McGinnis. Chris McGinnis is a singer-songwriter from the foothills of North Carolina. Resting between heartaches and hiccups, his songs are often narrative-driven snapshots of everyday life.

Friday February 15

7:30pm-Closing Live Music: Cane Mill Road. Billboard-charting artists Cane Mill Road grew up just down the road from Doc Watson in Deep Gap, North Carolina. Honoring the past the band strikes a balance between preserving the bluegrass mountain sound they were raised on and boldly rocking progressive interpretations of that same sound tackling not only complex original music, but classic covers of the Beatles, Dylan, and more. Audiences love Cane Mill Road’s high-energy performances, easy going rapport both on and off stage, and the eclectic mix of originals and standards in the show. Touring internationally in Argentina and stateside from New York to Alabama to Missouri to Pennsylvania to Kentucky to Tennessee to Virginia and the Carolinas, the band is proud to be sponsored by Deering Banjos, GHS Strings, Shubb Capos, Sorensen Mandolin & Guitar Company, Kogut Violins, and MiniFlex Microphones.

Saturday February 16

7:30pm-Closing Live Music: Downtown Abby Duo. DownTown Abby & The Echoes captures the spirit of old soul while emphasizing its youthful energy and fresh songwriting. Delivering vocals and keys is our leading lady, DownTown Abby, Abby Bryant. Laying down the groove are The Echoes with Bailey Faulkner (guitar), Logan Hall (bass), and Steven Cornacchia (drums).

DTA takes influence from the work of the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Grace Potter & The Nocturnals among many titans of soul, blues, and southern rock. Based in Charlotte, NC, the band brings its fresh take on soul to an ever-growing fan base. With performances at regional festivals and some of the South’s most popular music venues under its belt, DownTown Abby & The Echoes has never been more focused on its mission to bring funky, dance-inducing original tunes to the places you most love to hear music.

Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce February 2019 After Hours Event to be held Wednesday, February 13

Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce’s February 2019 After Hours members networking event will be held this Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at My Best Friend’s Barkery in downtown Banner Elk.

After Hours events are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, starting in February and ending in November. The events start at 6:00 P.M. and usually end no later than 7:30 P.M.

There will be introductions during the event, giving everyone a chance to talk about their business and latest news.

Upon arriving visit the sign-in area for everyone to receive a name tag and sign in so that the host will have a record of who attended their event.

Everyone is encouraged to bring business cards to assist with networking opportunities.

Visitors: Those joining us as a non-member guest are welcome to come to one event to see what the Chamber is all about. You’ll be given an application to take home with you during your visit. If you have been to an after-hours event and would like to come to another, membership is required.

Rural Transportation Coordinating Committee to Meet February 20

The Rural Transportation Coordinating Committee (RTCC) and Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) of the High Country RPO will hold a meeting on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at the High Country Council of Governments located at 468 New Market Blvd., Boone, NC 28607. The RTCC will meet at 10:00 AM and the RTAC will meet at 2:00 PM. The meetings are open to the public.

The High Country Rural Planning Organization (RPO) is a collaborative effort between the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey; the incorporated municipalities in the seven counties; the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT); and the High Country (Region D) Council of Governments. The High Country RPO is involved in all aspects of transportation planning in the region, and operates through the actions of two committees – The Rural Transportation Coordinating Committee (RTCC), comprised of county, municipal, and NCDOT staff; and the Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC), comprised of county and municipal elected officials. Both committees meet on a quarterly basis during the months of February, May, August, and November/December.

Watauga County Public Library Offering a ‘Blind Date With a Book’

This month the Adult Services staff will be “Cupid’s Helpers” by match-making residents with a perfectly-matched (we hope) book.

Fill out our profile for a “blind date with a book,” and the Library’s Adult Librarians will fix you up using a list of the last three books you enjoyed, favorite author, and favorite genre.

Submit your profile at this link, or by using the form available at the Library’s New Book Display area and the Adult Services Desk.

The program will run through February 28.

The Walker Center Presents Mike Farris and The Fortunate Few on February 28

The Walker Center, on the campus of Wilkes Community College, presents Mike Farris and the Fortunate Few on Thursday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m. This performance is sponsored by Skyline National Bank.

Whether rearranging songs of centuries past or infusing new lyrical life to half-songs, it becomes clear that Mike’s vocal gift is simply the surface of a very deep well. Full-tilt originals include Real Fine Day, a poetic account of the birth of Christian Blue Sky Farris that features some killer Kenny Vaughn guitar hooks; and Power of Love, an unforgettable, high-energy soul groove and an audience favorite.

Shine for All the People, the 2015 Grammy Award winner for Best Roots Gospel album, bears witness to the determination of putting one foot in front of the other and to the power of music to get you there. “I’ve discovered that falling is a divine thing,” Mike adds. “It’s part and parcel of being human. The important thing is to keep the faith and keep moving on and on.

Daring to be courageous enough to share our deepest burdens with each other is the greatest gift we can give.”

A limited number of tickets are available for this performance. For more information, or to purchase tickets, contact the Walker Center Box Office at 336-838-6260 orwalker.boxoffice@wilkescc.edu. Visit the Walker Center online at www.walkercenteronline.org or on Facebook.

The John A. Walker Community Center is dedicated to being this region’s primary venue for cultural experience and to serving as the preferred gathering place for meetings, receptions, conventions, banquets and parties for our community. The Walker Center and Wilkes Community College are 100% Tobacco Free.

Solar Jobs Down Three Percent Nationwide in 2018, But Some Key States See Job Growth

The U.S. solar industry employs 242,343 workers as of 2018, a decline of nearly 8,000 jobs (3.2 percent) compared to 2017, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2018 released today by The Solar Foundation.

This marks the second year in a row that solar jobs have declined after seven years of steady growth. At the same time, solar jobs increased in 29 states in 2018, including in many states with emerging solar markets.

States with the highest employment gains include Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York State. Other states that saw job growth include Ohio, Washington State, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Virginia, and Tennessee. The full report and a complete list of solar jobs by state is available at SolarJobsCensus.org.

The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit educational and research organization, issues the National Solar Jobs Census each year to provide comprehensive and reliable data on the U.S. solar workforce. Overall, solar employment has grown 159 percent since the first Census was released in 2010, adding nearly 150,000 well-paying jobs across all 50 states.

The 2018 National Solar Jobs Census for the first time includes jobs numbers for Puerto Rico, which has 1,997 solar workers as of 2018. With Puerto Rico jobs included, the total number of U.S. solar jobs comes to 244,340.

“Despite two challenging years, the long-term outlook for this industry remains positive as even more Americans turn to low-cost solar energy and storage solutions to power their homes and businesses,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. “However, it will take exceptional leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to spur this growth and address the urgent challenge of climate change. Expanding solar energy and storage across America will create high-quality jobs, reduce carbon emissions, boost local economies, and build resilient and adaptive communities.”

Nationwide, the jobs decline in 2018 reflects a slowdown in installed solar capacity. Solar companies delayed many utility-scale projects in late 2017 while awaiting the outcome of a petition for new tariffs on solar panels and cells. These delays led to reduced capacity growth and fewer jobs in the first three quarters of 2018.

At the state level, policy challenges and a difficult business climate contributed to lower jobs numbers in some states with established solar markets. In other states, supportive policies and the rapidly declining cost of solar technologies helped drive an increase in employment in 2018.

“We are proud of the solar job growth in Wisconsin. It solidifies our commitment to getting our state on track for a future driven by renewable energy that will make Wisconsin a stronger, better place to live, work, and play,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers. “We look forward to continuing our promise to build a clean economy that incentivizes energy innovation, diversifies Wisconsin jobs and energy sources, and promotes efficiency, affordability, and accessibility in clean energy production.”

“I’m proud that Minnesota continues to be a clean energy leader in the Midwest,” said Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. “While our solar workforce continued to grow last year, we need to do even more to develop and deploy renewable energy and continue to build a strong clean energy economy in Minnesota.”

This year’s National Solar Jobs Census is based on a rigorous survey of solar establishments conducted between September and October 2018. The survey included approximately 59,300 phone calls and over 49,000 emails. The survey was administered to 13,945 separate establishments, of which 2,697 provided full or substantially completed surveys.

“Google is very proud to be the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world,” said Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure at Google Cloud. “We deploy solar because it helps the environment and the economy; our total investment in energy from solar and other renewable resources exceeds the amount of electricity used by our operations around the world. An added benefit of that achievement is the enormous job creation that renewable energy deployment spurs – as borne out by the findings of The Solar Foundation’s 2018 Solar Jobs Census.”

“At Target, we are committed to solar and the benefits of clean energy, which drives our goal to install rooftop panels on 500 buildings nationally by 2020,” says John Leisen, Vice President, Target Properties. “We’re proud to be a partner in helping communities, cities and states reach their clean energy goals with our solar programs.”

Other key findings from the National Solar Jobs Census 2018 include:

  • Approximately 155,000 solar jobs, or two-thirds of the total, are in the installation and project development sector. Of these, about 87,000 jobs (56 percent) are focused on the residential market segment. The non-residential segment includes 46,000 jobs (30 percent), including about 12,500 jobs in community solar. The utility-scale market comprises 22,000 jobs (14 percent).
  • Solar workforce demographics saw little change from the previous year. In 2018, women made up 26 percent of the workforce; Latino or Hispanic workers made up 17 percent; black or African American workers made up 8 percent; and Asian workers made up 9 percent.
  • In 2018, 26 percent of solar establishments reported it was “very difficult” to find qualified candidates to fill open positions, a substantial increase from the 18 percent reporting such challenges in 2017.
  • With a backlog of utility-scale projects and new policy incentives in key states, the outlook for solar jobs is expected to improve in 2019. Survey respondents predict that solar jobs will increase 7 percent in 2019, bringing the total to 259,400 jobs.

“As one of the largest utility and commercial solar contractors in the U.S., we were impacted by several factors that caused market instability in 2018,” said George Hershman, President of Swinerton Renewable Energy. “Tariffs on solar cells and modules, steel, and aluminum increased costs and impacted projects that were already in the pipeline. Despite these economic factors, we began 2019 with a robust pipeline that includes new projects in existing and emerging markets. Together with industry partners, we will continue to advocate at the federal level in support of long-term solutions that support growth for solar energy.”

“This report highlights that in order to continue adding jobs, the solar industry is going to have to work harder to reduce the cost of going solar,” said Samuel Adeyemo, co-founder and COO of Aurora Solar. “Over the past seven years, this was accomplished by lowering module prices and democratizing financing. At Aurora, we believe that over the next seven years, it will come from reducing soft costs, such that solar gets to the point where it is the default option for most homes and businesses.”

“As a leader in renewable energy, E.ON is proud to contribute to one of the fastest-growing industries in the country,” said Silvia Ortin, E.ON Chief Operating Officer North America. “Our utility-scale approach to solar energy with an effort to continually lower costs, combined with our customer focus, provides us with the tools of success despite challenging market conditions.”

“Natixis is incredibly proud to work with and support the The Solar Foundation,” said Jim Roach, SVP of Retirement Strategies at Natixis Investment Managers. “The annual Solar Jobs Censusreport is a great means to showcase industry trends, and we are hopeful the Foundation’s efforts will continue to be transformative in the years to come.”

Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce announces 2019 Schedule of Annual Community Events

Saturday, April 13 – Easter Eggstravaganza! – Easter Kids Celebration – Meet the Easter Bunny, arts and crafts activities, and more at the Cultural Arts Center in Historic Banner Elk School starting at 10 a.m., followed by a town-wide Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. Come find the Golden Egg!

Saturday, June 8 – Community Yard Sale at the Historic Banner Elk School – Support the HBES and clean out some of your clutter at the same time! Set up at 6:00 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. and sell until 12:00 p.m. Money raised from space rentals goes to the HBES. The Town of Banner Elk will also have a booth for folks to drop off donations with all money raised from the Town’s booth going to support the HBES. Co-sponsored by the Avery County Rotary Club.

Thursdays, June 27 – August 22 – Concerts in the Park – 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. 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. Bands are sponsored by local businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals. The lineup of bands and their sponsors will be announced in early Spring.

Thursday, July 4 – Family Fun 4th of July Parade and Festival – Parade begins on Main Street at 11 a.m. followed by concerts, kids games such as watermelon eating and bag races, the duck race, food vendors, and much more on the front lawn at the Historic Banner Elk School in downtown Banner Elk.

Friday, December 6-Sunday, December 8 – A Small Town Christmas – A very special all-weekend event celebrating the arrival of the Christmas season. Friday evening kicks off the festivities with the Town Christmas Tree lighting at 6:00 p.m and holiday theater performance at Ensemble Stage. Saturday activities include the YMCA 5K Reindeer Run, Breakfast with Santa Claus, cookie and ornament decorating at local restaurants, artisans and craftsmen selling holiday gifts at the BE Artists Gallery and Lees-McRae, storytelling and theater performances, the evening Parade of Lights, train rides in the park, synchronized light show, and of course, more Santa Claus. Sunday wraps up the weekend with one more opportunity to attend a holiday theater performance at Ensemble Stage.