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Today’s Email Announcements

Lees-McRae Cheerleading Develops Cheer-Readers Program at Local Schools

The Lees-McRae College cheerleading team has begun its “Cheer-Readers” program at local schools in the Banner Elk community.

Beginning back in January, the cheerleading program has traveled to local elementary schools to read to local children. The team travels to read to any elementary-aged children two or three times per month. The team decides where they will go based on meeting with community leaders in order to determine where the best fit is for that visit.

“I absolutely love the Cheer-Readers program,” said sophomore Madeline Horne. “The kids are so excited when we walk in the room. Their faces light up and they all want to hug us and talk to us. The kids are so attentive to the books we read and are so excited to tell us about books they’ve been reading. They ask us when we’re coming back and what we’re going to read next! It’s a great opportunity to be involved with the community and interact with the students at Banner Elk Elementary.”

Since the program began, the team has read to two kindergarten classes at Banner Elk Elementary School and also the pre-school classes at the Banner Elk Presbyterian Church.

“It has been wonderful working with community members to set up Cheer-Readers,” said head cheerleading coach Sally Wimberley. “Justin Carver, principal of Banner Elk Elementary, and AC Marriott, Preschool Director at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, welcomed the idea and have been so generous to allow our team to come read. I am looking forward to sending cheerleaders to as many local schools and groups as we can manage for the rest of our current academic year, and excited for the relationships we will be able to build during the 2019-20 academic year.”

For more information of Lees-McRae Athletics, follow us on our social media sites on Twitter (@LMCBobcats), Facebook (Lees-McRae Athletics) and on Instagram (leesmcraeathletics).

Foxx Supports Public Lands Package

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R – N.C.) voted in favor of S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act. This legislation reflects a bipartisan Senate-House agreement that includes important provisions to increase access to federal lands for sportsmen. It clarifies that all Bureau of Land Management and National Forest System lands shall be open to hunting, recreational shooting and fishing unless explicitly closed for safety or other reasons decided with public input.

Rep. Foxx stated, “This bill delivers for public lands and surrounding communities across the country. Opening the door to more fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation in our public lands will support the over 260,000 outdoor industry jobs statewide. It also takes the important step of reauthorizing the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area to preserve our nation’s most visited—and most beautiful—national park. The work to comprehensively address the National Park Services’ maintenance backlog does not end here, but I am pleased to send this important legislation to the President’s desk.”

High Country Senior Softball Team Gearing Up for the 2019 Summer Season

It’s never too late to bring back the glory days on the diamond. The High Country Senior Softball Team is hoping to add more men ages 60 and over to their team for the upcoming season.

Players get together each Tuesday morning at 9:30 at Newland Rock Field and on Thursdays at Watauga County Parks and Recreation from May through September. All guys ages 60+ are welcome to come out and play.

There are two styles of play for the group: A competitive team that wants to play games against teams from surrounding areas and a casual team that wants to use the sport as a good way to be outside and get exercise.

Players are invited to choose one location to play at each week or play at both spots. Bats and balls are provided, players should bring their own glove and any other equipment they might need.

This is the third year of the league, organized by Bert Valery.

What’s Happening This Month at Banner Elk Cafe

Tuesday, March 5 – Mardi Gras Trivia with Welter Entertainment 7-9pm (Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners)
Music and Mardi Gras Costume Party 9-11pm
Fun Mardi Gras drink and food specials !

Thursday, March 7 – Karaoke (hosted by Welter Entertainment)
Friday and Saturday Live Music 6-10pm
Friday, March 8 Joseph Houck
Saturday, March 9 Vintage Band

Tuesday, March 12 Trivia Bang Bang! 7-9pm
Thursday, March 14 Karaoke 9-11pm
Friday, March 15 Music from Staci Braun
Saturday, March 16 Dillon Cable
Tuesday, March 19 Trivia Bang Bang
Thursday, March 21, Karaoke 9-11pm
Friday, March 22 Dillon Cable
Saturday, March 23 Josh Perryman
Tuesday, March 26 Trivia Bang Bang 7-9pm
Thursday, March 28 Karaoke 9-11pm
Friday, March 29 Music TBA 6-10pm
Saturday, March 30 Ronnie Glenn

Campus Emergency Siren Test to be Conducted March 6

Appalachian State University will test its campus siren warning system at 11:55 a.m., Wednesday, March 6.

Examples of the tones that are used in an emergency or during tests can be heard online at https://emergency.appstate.edu/siren-warning-system.

Appalachian uses the hi/low tone for emergencies, discontinuous air horn for tests of the system and the alert tone for all-clear signal.

For more information about the university’s AppState ALERT voice/text/email notification system, visit https://emergency.appstate.edu.

Campus siren tests are normally conducted on the first Wednesday of each month. Scheduled dates for Appalachian’s upcoming tests are April 3 and May 1.

Upcoming Watauga Cooperative Extension Events

Thursday, March 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Apple Growing Short Course for the Homeowner

Learn all of the basics of growing apple trees, including planting, soil fertility, and pest and disease issues. Demonstrations will include deer protection techniques as well as pruning and training a young apple tree.

Wednesday, March 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Growing Blackberries, Raspberries and Blueberries in the Home Garden

Learn about variety selection, soil and fertility requirements, as well as participate in a hands-on demonstration of pruning. In addition, you will learn to identify and manage pest and disease issues.

Free Intro to Buddhism Class Happening March 9

There will be a special Introduction to Buddhism meeting at Appalachian Dharma & Meditation Center on Saturday, March 9 from 1-3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. 

Who should attend this class?

This class is open to those who are curious about Buddhism. You will be introduced to the basic teachings of Buddhism and learn about the Appalachian Dharma & Meditation Center (ADMC).

What is the content?
This class will include a brief history of the Buddha and overview to Buddhist teachings which is called the dharma.

Will I have to sit on a cushion with my legs folded?
There is no requirement for a specific position for meditation. Chairs and cushions are available.

Who is the facilitator?
The class leader Tom Intardonato, an experienced meditator and currently ADMC treasurer.

Is there a fee? How do I get there?
The class is free of charge. All events at ADMC are open to dāna (selfless giving) or donations. Directions to the Center can be found at the web site www.dharma4et.org.

Baha’i Devotional Meeting is March 10

There will be a Baha’i devotional meeting in Stony Fork at 11 am on Sunday, March 10. The theme of the meeting will be “Unity, the Creative Foundation of Peace”. All are welcome.

There will be prayers, reading, a study class and refreshments. Baha’is believe that all the world’s great faiths are divine in origin. For more information and directions call 773-7474.

Watauga County Public Library Hosting Meeting on Next Chapter Book Club March 13

Watauga County Public Library recently joined the Next Chapter Book Club Affiliate Network and will soon be launching a local club. Founded by Dr. Thomas Fish, a professor at The Ohio State University in 2002, Next Chapter Book Club is a community-based book club program for individuals with Down Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and other types of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Next Chapter Book Club, which was awarded the “Innovations in Reading Prize” by the National Book Foundation in 2016, has clubs throughout North America and in other parts of the world. Clubs meet in public places and are comprised of four to eight members and two volunteer facilitators who are trained to engage readers of all levels – including those who cannot read or are “emerging readers.”

“People with intellectual and developmental disabilities love books for the same reasons most people do. They enjoy being transported to different worlds where they meet interesting characters and learn about exciting new things. Taking that journey with a group of friends makes it even more delightful and fun,” said the Central Office of the Ohio-based Next Chapter Book Club.

Although reading skills of Next Chapter Book Club members often improve as a result of reading more often, the program is more about “reading to learn,” rather than “learning to read.” The primary focus is on having fun with friends in a public place on a regular basis. “I am so excited about this book club. Thanks to the Watauga Literacy Association’s support with the funding of training and books, we can have up to three clubs, one of which will meet at the library. Ashe and Wilkes County Public Library are each planning to have a club also.” said Monica Caruso, County Librarian.

Anyone interested in joining the club or becoming a volunteer facilitator should attend an Interest Meeting on Wednesday, March 13 at 4 pm at the Watauga County Public Library.

For more information, contact Ross Cooper or Monica Caruso at 828-264-8784, X 2 or 4.

Watauga County Public Library to Host Author and Himalayan Trekker Mark E. Johnson 

Former High Country resident Mark E. Johnson, a longtime freelance writer, will be presenting his 2018 book, “Doofus Dad Does Everest Base Camp,” Wednesday, March 27, at the Watauga County Public Library. Mark will be reading selected excerpts alongside video and photographs taken during the adventure. The event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. and admission is free.

We are so excited to have Mark here and attendees can look forward to an inspirational and enlightening talk that will transport you to Nepal without having to leave Watauga County. Tune in to hear about the book on the local radio station at 1450 AM on March 7 at 8:40 am. Books will be sold after the talk.

The book chronicles the author’s 2018 80-mile trek through the Himalayan wilderness to the world’s tallest mountain in Johnson’s self-deprecating, humorous style reminiscent of columnist Dave Barry and travel writer Bill Bryson. “Doofus Dad” also contains factual information about the trek, including itinerary, trekking statistics, gear lists, and training guides.

A 28-year resident of Middle Tennessee, Johnson, a former musician, is a seasoned freelance writer, his work appearing in publications across the country. He is a regular blogger as well, and his “Doofus Dad” blog site is read by a worldwide audience.

“Everything I write is informed by my experiences of growing up on a Christmas tree farm in Ashe County back in the 1970s and ‘80s,” says Johnson. “It is particularly thrilling for me to come back to Ashe and Watauga to present this book. I also played a lot of music in Boone, so coming back here in support of a book — especially one about trekking in Nepal — is a little unexpected, but definitely rewarding.”

“Doofus Dad Does Everest Base Camp” is available at Amazon.com in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook formats, and is also carried by the online stores of Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, and Audible.

UNC and NCSU Basketball Camp Scholarships Available for Middle School Students, Deadline to Apply is March 31

Blue Ridge Energy is giving two local middle school students the opportunity to hit the hardwood alongside their favorite college basketball athletes and coaches this summer, thanks to Touchstone Energy Sports Camp Scholarships.

Blue Ridge Energy will select one young man for a scholarship to attend the Roy Williams Carolina Basketball Camp June 22-26 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and one local young woman to attend the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp June 9-12 at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The scholarships cover all expenses at the overnight camps, which provide a glimpse into life on a college campus.

Applications are being accepted through March 31 and can be found online at www.ncelectriccooperatives.com/sports-camps. Contestants will be judged on academic records, extra-curricular activities and a required essay. To be eligible to win, students must be in the sixth, seventh or eighth grade during the 2019-2020 school year and have permission from a parent or guardian to attend. Scholarship winners are expected to be announced in May.

Campers stay overnight in dorms on campus, learn fundamental skills that will help them excel on and off the court, and receive individual and group instruction from Division 1 coaches to enhance their basketball and team working abilities. Wes Moore, coach of the Wolfpack women’s basketball team, and Roy Williams, coach of the 2009 and 2017 national champion Carolina Tar Heel men’s basketball team, will direct the camps with the help of staff, as well as current and former players.

Eligible students who are interested in the scholarship can contact Grey Scheer, director of community relations for Blue Ridge Energy at 1-800-451-5474, ext. 3294 or visit www.ncelectriccooperatives.com/sports-camps for more information.

More than 50 students from across the state will win an all-expenses paid scholarship to attend basketball camp this summer from North Carolina’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. Now in its 16th year, the scholarship program reflects Touchstone Energy Cooperatives’ core values of accountability, integrity, innovation and commitment to community.

Blue Ridge Energy serves some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany counties as well as parts of Avery, Wilkes and Alexander counties. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeEnergy.com.

Collectively, North Carolina’s 26 independent electric cooperatives power the lives of more than 2.5 million North Carolinians in 93 of our state’s 100 counties. To learn more about North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives, and the ways we are powering the community for a better tomorrow, visit our website.

Boone Area Chamber of Commerce to Host Vision Northwest North Carolina May 22

Seeking an opportunity to spark dialogue regarding economic leadership in 12 Northwest North Carolina Counties, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announces the creation of Vision Northwest North Carolina, a one-day summit that will highlight local trends in economic, workforce, and talent development. The event takes place Wednesday, May 22, at Leon Levine Hall at Appalachian State University.

Vision Northwest North Carolina will feature a keynote address on rural economic development trends from Chris Chung, President of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Additional keynote speakers and event sponsors will be announced later this spring. Each participant will attend breakout sessions on topics that include:

  • Beyond Borders: Leaders from towns in and around the Northwest Prosperity Zone discuss best practices and trends involving economic development.
  • May the Force Stay with You: Discussion related to workforce development trends, employee retention, and benefit strategies in the Northwest Prosperity Zone.
  • Build Your Future: Focus on talent development and trends in training/education of the workforce of tomorrow.

Keynote sessions will include discussion of subjects that focus on embracing the next generation of leadership, succession planning, and other State led initiatives and projects. The target audience for this event includes economic development professionals, local government officials/staff, and business owners from within the Northwest Prosperity Zone. Attendance will be limited to the first 200 registrants.

The Northwest Prosperity Zone, as defined by EDPNC, includes Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, McDowell, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, Yancy counties.

“During the summer of 2018, a group from Watauga County attended Energizing Rural North Carolina, which was hosted by EDPNC. We were tasked with the challenge of taking the information learned during that event back to our own areas and examine how those discussion topics landed in our unique business communities,” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “After discussion with the Watauga County Economic Development Commission and the Career Development Center at Appalachian State, we decided to approach EDPNC about hosting our own discussion where we could talk about trends, opportunities, and successes specific to our area of the State. We hope that through the dialogue created at this gathering, business owners and economic development professionals can find some common threads that exist throughout our area that can lead to growth opportunities for the entire region.”

A full event agenda, registration information and a list of confirmed speakers and panelists are available at https://www.boonechamber.com/events/vision-northwest-north-carolina.  Registration cost is $95 per person and includes meeting materials, lunch, and snacks throughout the event.

If you have questions, please contact the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 828-264-2225 or email david@boonechamber.com.

88.5 WFDD’s Radio Camp Comes To Boone July 15-19

Let’s face it, when you think of the typical Public Radio listener, a middle-schooler is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, for the past nine years, 88.5 WFDD has been successfully defying this idea through its Radio Camp summer program, and for the first time ever this program is coming to Boone.

The idea behind Radio Camp was simple: give a group young students access to professional recording and editing equipment and let them fall in love with public radio by being a part of it. What nobody could have ever predicted were the amazing results. From stories about race, to discussion about politics, special needs education or even special effects, these students leave camp with not only a new set of skills, but also a new understanding of what members of their community are working on. As Katherine McGinnis, grandmother of a past camper explains, students come out of Radio Camp with a new appreciation of what their voice can do.

“We sent a grandson to radio camp several years ago and it changed his life! Back in school, he got involved in debate and student leadership. He was the only freshman on the debate team. Now he travels throughout California to competitions, and both he and his parents credit Radio Camp,” McGinnis explained.

Since its beginnings in 2010, Radio Camp has grown exponentially every summer but it has always stayed in the Winston-Salem and Greensboro area. This summer, in partnership with the Department of Communication at Appalachian State University, middle-school students from Boone and surrounding communities will have the chance to experience what it’s like to be a real radio producer for a week. When we say real, we mean it. There’s not a lot of pretending during Radio Camp. The students produce stories that will air on 88.5 WFDD and 100.1 in the High Country on Saturdays at 8:35am.

Radio Camp in Boone will run from July 15 to July 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is now open at wfdd.org/radiocamp, but spots do fill up fast, so if you have a child aged 10-14 don’t miss out on this opportunity.

88.5 WFDD, Public Radio for the Piedmont, is a broadcast service of Wake Forest University and is the only public radio station of its kind located in the Piedmont Triad. It broadcasts news, information, and public affairs programming covering the arts, people, and institutions in the area from its Winston-Salem studios. The state’s charter NPR® member, 88.5 WFDD is the longest continuously-broadcasting public radio station in North Carolina.