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Today’s Email Announcements

Blue Ridge Conservancy 5K Registration is Now Open

Enjoy the scenic views of the Blue Ridge as you challenge yourself with a climb up Wonderland Trail Road alongside other Blue Ridge Conservancy supporters. Run the 3.1 miles as fast as you can knowing that sticky buns, coffee, and even beer await as you cross the finish line.

Formerly known as the Mayview Madness, the event started 20 years ago as a fundraiser for land and water conservation in the High Country. Proceeds benefit Blue Ridge Conservancy.

For more information about this event
Register online

Registration Information
5K Early Registration Fee received by Sept 18, 2019: $25.00 per runner/ Day of registration $30.00 per runner

1 Mile Kids Fun Run Early Registration Fee received by Sept 18, 2019: $15.00 per runner/ Day of registration $20.00 per runner

Out of town? Register for a VIRTUAL RACE and run or walk your 5k wherever you want to support BRC! (T-shirt + shipping included!): $20.00 per runner.

Create a TEAM and sign up 3 or more runners for a combined score competition. (All teams must be mixed gender combos)

Advance Bib # & T-shirt Pick Up
Pre-register and pick up your race bib at Stick Boy Bread Company, 345 Hardin St., Boone, NC from 7am-6:30pm on Thursday, September 19th or Friday, September 20th.

Day of Registration
Sign up to run the morning of the race from 6:30 am to 7:30 am on Sept. 21st at the Blowing Rock American Legion at 333 Wallingford Street.

6:30-7:30am – Day of Registration at the Blowing Rock American Legion
(333 Wallingford Road Blowing Rock, NC 28605)
8:00 a.m. – 5K run/walk
9:00 a.m. – 1 Mile Kids Fun Run

The finish line and the awards ceremony is at Bistro Roca, 143 Wonderland Trail, Blowing Rock where snacks and refreshments will be provided. The 1 Mile Kids Fun Run will begin and end at Bistro Roca.

Volunteers for this event are crucial to its success by helping with registration, course management, finish line logistics. Volunteers get a race shirt and can enjoy Stick Boy treats and run in the race if interested.

For questions about running the race, volunteering, or sponsorship opportunities please contact Nikki Robinson at nikki@blueridgeconservancy.org

High Country Watermedia Society Monthly Meeting is Saturday

High Country Watermedia Society –Monthly Meeting and Guest Artist Workshop

Date: August 10, 2019

Time: 9:30 – 10:00 – Coffee

10:00 – Business Meeting

10:30 Morning Demo by Dan Nelson (Watercolor)

1:00 – 4:00 – Dan Nelson Workshop (To register and pay, go to http://highcountrywatermediasociety.com First Select Workshops; Second, Registration & Payment)

Place: Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff, 374 Industrial Park Drive, Boone, NC

Workshop: “Traditional Watercolors… With a Twist!”

In this workshop, students will learn

1. A layered method beginning with watercolor pencils and paint

2. Pen and ink to provide further definition

3. Use of gouache to make the layers pop.


Guest artist Dan Nelson: From kindergarten, Dan Nelson considered himself an artist. He majored in art, earning a BFA from Calvin College, Michigan. He was a full-time freelance illustrator from about 1984 – 1998, completing more than 4000 illustrations during that period.

Besides setting up his plein air easel anywhere from California to Western Europe, Dan spends much of his time doing Live Art Performances in cities large and small, painting at festivals, concerts, and fund-raisers. He has painted for the NC Symphony, the Carolina Hurricanes, IBM, Glaxo Smith Kline, and many of the major Corporations across the Triangle and beyond. He often paints at live events with two hands.

Ashe County Wordkeepers to Meet Saturday Afternoon

Writers, young and old!  Come to Wordkeepers, a gathering of writers in the High Country at the Ashe County Arts Center, 303 School Avenue, West Jefferson, North Carolina, on Saturday, August 10, at 4 p.m. 

Refreshments will be provided, and a warm and welcoming audience awaits your own original works. 

Readers are asked to keep their selections, from any genre, to under five minutes, but please join us and share, or at least join us and listen.  If you would like to read, please contact Diana Renfro at renfrodiana@msn.com so that she can reserve your slot.   

Diamond & Silk at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theater Saturday

The Watauga and Ashe County Republican Parties are presenting the popular Conservative duo – “Diamond and Silk” at the Blue Ridge Theater and Event Center located on Highway 16 N in Glendale Springs on Saturday, August 10.

Tickets are $125 per person and include a served dinner, show, and other guest speakers: Dan Forest, NC Lt. Governor, Mark Keith “I am the majority” Robinson of Greensboro, and other special guests.

The event opens at 5 PM, dinner at 6 PM. This is the only fund-raiser of the year. Purchase tickets online at: Watauga.nc.gop or phone: 828-773-9218.

Torch Club to Meet August 12

The monthly meeting of Torch: A Forum for Reasoned Discourse will be Monday, August 12 at Sagebrush Restaurant in Boone.  Those arriving by 11:30 may choose from a $10 menu and enjoy the presentation at noon.  The topic this month is “Flipped: A Drug-Induced Journey to the Horizon of Instability” presented by Bob Cantu who has perspectives developed as a Central Carolinas Master Naturalist and an active member of the Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club. Guests are welcome.  More information:  828-264-8811.

Blue Ridge Chapter NPS August Meeting is August 14

Our monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 14 at the Holiday Inn Express, 1943 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. The meeting room will open at 6:30 and we’ll start the meeting at 7:00.

This month, Dr. David Cozzo from the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Extension Center will talk about the “Ethnobotany of the “Little Brother of War”, Plants of the Cherokee Stickball Game.” The Cherokee stickball game was a highly ritualized affair with a wide range of medicines used to gain an advantage over another team. This talk will discuss some of the many plant-based medicines that were applied to influence the outcome of the game

About the speaker: Dr. David Cozzo is an ethnobotanist specializing in the relationship of the Cherokee to their botanical world. He is an Area Specialized Agent for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension based at the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Extension Center and is the Project Director for the Revitalization of Traditional Cherokee Artisan Resources. He teaches courses and has published articles on the nutritional and medical ethnobotany of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.

Notice for plant lovers: We will have bare-root plants to give away at the August meeting. Please bring 4-5 quart Ziploc bags or similar in which to put your roots if you wish to take any home to plant.

Wilkes Heritage Museum to Host Ghost Tours August 17

The Wilkes Heritage Museum will host Candlelight Ghost Tours in historic downtown Wilkesboro on Saturday, August 17. Ghost tours are 90-minute walking tours that begin at 7:30 pm and 8:00 pm. The tours are led by costumed guides. Cost is $10 per person. Reservations for Ghost Tours are suggested.

Highlights of the tour include the Old Wilkes Jail, Cleveland Cabin, and Tory Oak Site. Learn all about the hauntings of Historic Downtown Wilkesboro. Additional dates for the 2019 Candlelight Ghost Tour season include October 19 and October 26.

The check-in for ghost tours will be on the front lawn of the Wilkes Heritage Museum. Parking is available along Main Street and in the public parking lot behind Stroud Miller Insurance off of South Bridge Street.

The Wilkes Heritage Museum is located at 100 East Main Street in downtown Wilkesboro. Wilkes Heritage Museum, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the rich history and heritage of Wilkes County for future generations through exhibits and special programs. Candlelight Ghost Tours is a fundraising event for the Wilkes Heritage Museum. All proceeds go towards the operational expenses for the organization. Regular museum hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (336) 667-3171 or visit our website at www.wilkesheritagemuseum.com

Watauga County Public Library “Nazi P.O.W.s in the Old North State: 1942-1946,” with Dr. Robert Billinger is August 17

More than 10,000 German prisoners of war were interned in eighteen camps in North Carolina during World War II. Yet apart from the guards, civilian workers, and FBI and local police who tracked escapees, most people were–and remain–unaware of their presence.

 “Nazi POWs in the Tar Heel State, 1942-1946” is a lively lecture and PowerPoint presentation of photos, maps, and documents revealing the POW program in North Carolina during World War II.   Surveyed are the arrival of the first prisoners, the work program, escapes, reeducation, and repatriation. The story told reveals the diversity of the men captured in German uniform: U-Boat men captured off the Carolina coast, infantry men and paratroopers captured in Italy, North Africa, and France. It also reveals the presence of Nazis and anti-Nazis, former concentration camp inmates, and a multitude of men captured in German uniforms who before the war had been Austrians, Belgians, Frenchmen, and Soviet citizens.

Billinger argues that the wartime experiences of the POWs and citizens of North Carolina revealed to both sides that enemies are human, uniforms conceal diversity, and wartime enemies can become life-long friends.

Co-sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council, High Country Lifelong Learners, and Watauga County Public Library.

This project is made possible by funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Robert Billinger, Jr., PhD.

Professor Emeritus of History at Wingate University, author

Robert D. Billinger, Jr., Ph.D., a native of Bethlehem, PA, is a Professor Emeritus of History at Wingate University, where he taught between 1979 and 2014. He is a graduate of Lehigh University and completed graduate degrees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also was a Fulbright Graduate Scholar to Vienna, Austria. He is the author of three books, including two concerning German POWs in America during World War II. His Hitler’s Soldiers in the Sunshine State: German POWs in Florida was published by the University Press of Florida in 2000. That press published his Nazi POWs in the Tar Heel State in 2008. One of his favorite presentation themes is: “Uniforms Conceal Diversity: German POWs in North Carolina Camps during World War II.” Billinger, a sports fan, long term member of the Wingate Bulldog Club, and former faculty athletic representative at Wingate University also has an interest in the role that sports has played in building communities, whether in German POW camps or in North Carolina mill towns.

Mountain BizWorks Brings “Cooperative Curious” Workshop to Boone

In a collaborative project, funded by the Small Business Administration’s PRIME program, Mountain BizWorks is continuing its 30 year legacy of supporting WNC’s diverse businesses by taking steps to support and develop more cooperatively owned and operated businesses. “Mountain BizWorks is dedicated to supporting all types of businesses in Western North Carolina,” says Chris Grasinger, the Mountain BizWorks High Country Manger, “Cooperative businesses are known for improving employee buy-in, workplace culture and building wealth in communities.” According to the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives, there were only 12 Cooperatively owned or operated businesses in North Carolina as of 2017.

The workshop will be on Friday, August 23 from 4-5:30 pm at the Mountain BizWorks Offices in Boone.  The cost is $12. The workshop is for individuals and business owners that are “Coop Curious,” meaning that they’d like to learn more about how cooperatives work and why businesses might decide to function cooperatively.  Whether you’re interested in starting a cooperative business, joining a coop, transitioning your business into a cooperative workplace, or just exploring new ways to build wealth and democracy in the workplace this is a great place to start. Gain an understanding of the power that cooperatives have to transform communities and build better businesses. Chris Grasinger will also bring to the discussion tips on raising capital through traditional and non-traditional methods, and other alternative models of ownership including investment crowdfunding. 

Learn more and register for the Cooperative Curious Workshop at:


Heritage Hall News from Mountain City, Offering Affordable, World-Class Entertainment

Saturday, August 24, 7 pm; Storyteller Bil Lepp, humorous, family-friendly tall-tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Bil’s books and audio collections have won awards including the PEN Steven Kroll Award for Children’s Book Writing, Parents’ Choice Gold awards, and awards from the National Parenting Publications Assoc., and the Public Library Association. sponsored by Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation

“On sale” dates for online ticket purchases for each event will be announced on our website, heritagehalltheatre.org, on Facebook and by email. Online tickets will go off sale at 2:00 PM on the day of each event. You may still purchase walk-up tickets at the door for each event (CASH ONLY).

New Box Office days Wednesday through Friday from 12:00 to 2:00 PM where you can still purchase tickets. Please call 423 727 7444 and leave a message; a staff member will return your call within 48 hours. For more information, check heritagehalltheatre.org.

Birds, Bugs and Blooms Walk Happening August 25

The next “third Saturday Birds, Bugs and Blooms” nature walk will be held on Sunday Aug. 25 rather than Aug. 17 at 9-11 am at Todd Island Park. Bill Dunson (a retired biology professor from Penn State) will lead the walk and discuss all plants and animals seen. The goal is to learn more about the community ecology of this exceptionally interesting river flood plain site in the middle of the S Fork of the New River. The edible and medicinal qualities of the plants will also be discussed and comments from the audience are welcomed. Just three examples of the many interesting insects at this early successional riparian site are a viceroy butterfly, a monarch on milkweed, and a dogbane beetle.

Todd Island Park is at the intersection of Castleford Rd and Railroad Grade Rd just south of Todd. It may be reached by traveling north on Brownwood Rd from US 421 near Deep Gap, then left on Todd Railroad Grade, and then left into the park under the Castleford bridge. Alternatively you may drive south on Railroad Grade Rd from Todd.

No reservations are necessary and the walk will go rain or shine. For further information call/text (276-233-6364) or email (wdunson@comcast.net)

David Ramseur Speaks at Watauga County Library August 29

David Ramseur, author of Melting the Ice Curtain: The Extraordinary Story of Citizen Diplomacy on the Russia-Alaska Frontier, will share his experience of over 30 years of reporting on and participating in citizen diplomacy between the people from Alaska and in Russia. His talk will be on Thursday, August 29, 10 a.m. to noon at the Watauga County Library, co-sponsored by High Country Writers.

Ramseur moved to Alaska in 1979 where he reported on politics and government in the state and national capitals for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner and Anchorage Times. Beginning in 1986 for nearly 30 years, he served as press secretary, communications director, chief of staff, and foreign policy advisor to Alaska Governors Steve Cowper and Tony Knowles and to Anchorage Mayor and U.S. Senator Mark Begich. Ramseur has visited the Soviet Union and Russia more than a dozen times starting with the Alaska Airlines’ “Friendship Flight” in 1988, and lived and worked in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 1993.

Ramseur has authored numerous articles about Russia in national publications. He holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of North Carolina Asheville and a master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri. Ramseur is a visiting scholar in public policy at the University of Alaska Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research and board member of the Alaska World Affairs Council. David was honored in September 2018 by the Alaska Historical Society with its “Contributions to Alaska History Award.” He lives in Anchorage with his spouse, attorney Susan Wibker but visits family in the NC High Country.

High Country Writers has been “energizing writers since 1995!” Regular meetings are at the Watauga County Public Library on the second and fourth Thursdays of most months from ten until noon and speakers’ presentations are co-sponsored with the Library. HCW members present writing skills workshops the first Thursday of the month, and have recently partnered with the Watauga County Arts Council in hosting these workshops. For more information and a current calendar, visit the website: http://www.highcountrywriters.org. Guests are welcome.

Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention Happening Labor Day Weekend

The Caldwell Arts Council invites you to experience a perfect Labor Day Weekend on the banks of the Yadkin River, surrounded by mountain music, dance, food, and beautiful scenery.

Festival fun begins at 7 p.m. Friday, featuring a community dance with mountain music, cake walks, open caller mic & more.

Saturday is packed with great entertainment! Eight categories of music competitions begin at 10 a.m. on the main stage.   The Youth JAM Tent offers performances by talented young musicians. Non-music and children’s activities include hayrides, storytelling, children’s crafts, and rock stacking in the river.

The weekend concludes with a Sunday concert starting at 11 a.m. featuring a lineup of musicians including Piney Woods Boys, Shelby Rae Moore Band, Strictly Clean and Decent, the Burnett Sisters, The Harris Brothers, and the Jeff Little Trio.  The Youth JAM tent will host workshops in fiddle, banjo, guitar, and storytelling.

When was the last time you had the privilege of sitting on the banks of a mountain river with music echoing throughout the hills around you?  Come for a day, or camp for the weekend.

Check out details and directions for the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention at https://HappyValleyFiddlers.org   

Fall Dates Announced for Watauga Carry Out Cuisine Events

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Watauga Campus Culinary Arts program will offer Carry Out Cuisine events during the Fall 2019 semester to the general public and will also continue to offer the Chef’s Table Dining Experience events. The spring menus will each focus on a different region and will feature some of the most popular dishes from cuisines around the world.

The Carry Out Cuisine and Chef’s Table events offer the public an opportunity to enjoy gourmet fare at a reasonable price, while also helping CCC&TI’s Culinary students apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting.

Meals are $20 per person and reservations are recommended. Cash only payments are accepted when meals are picked up on the day of service. Pick-up times are 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Watauga Campus Kitchen, Building W141, Room 102.

A limited number of tickets to the Chef’s Table Dining Experience will be available during each Carry Out Cuisine event. Tickets are $25. Diners at the Chef’s Table watch as meals are being prepared by the students and enjoy tableside service in the Culinary Arts Kitchen. Reservations are required ahead of time for seating at the Chef’s Table.

Following are dates and menus for each of the Carry Out Cuisine and Chef’s Table Events:

Tuesday Sept. 10, 2019 – Tour of Italy

Tour of Italy

Herbed Focaccia (herbed leavened flat bread)

Pasta e Fagioli (pasta and bean soup)

Arista Di Maiale (roasted stuffed pork loin)

Spinac in Tegame (sautéed spinach)

Gnocchi Pesto (potato dumpling with basil and garlic sauce)

Zabaglione (fresh fruit with marsala wine desert sauce)

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 – Tour of the Carribbean Islands

Mixed Bean Salad (assorted beans and avocado in lemon garlic dressing)

Cuban Sandwich (mojo pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and house made mustard, pressed on ciabatta bread)

Plantain Chips (ripe plantains sliced thin and fried, finished with sea salt)

Rum Cake (homemade rum cake basted with Caribbean rum)

Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019 – Tour of Africa

Tatale (corncakes with plantains)

Harira (vegetable and meat soup)

Boerewors (homemade beef and pork sausage patty)

Spinach Stew (sweet and spicy braised spinach with tomatoes and onion)

Curried Corn (corn curried with tomatoes)

Beignets de Bananes (fresh banana fritter)

For more information or to reserve your tickets for any of these Carry Out Cuisine or Chef’s Table events, contact Chef Robert Back at 828-297-3811 ext. 5222 or by email at rback@cccti.edu.

Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce Sponsors Local Scholarships for Third Year in a Row  

The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce sponsored scholarships for seven local students to attend the North Carolina School of Science & Math (NCSSM) Summer Accelerator program. 

This year’s scholarship recipients are: Sacha Frindethie, Will Kirkland, Tristan Mick, Sam Nixon, Genevieve Powell, Iris Westerman, and Izzy Mitchell.

The scholarships received funding from The Village Foundation, Blowing Rock Community Foundation, and the Kennedy-Herterich Foundation.

On Monday afternoon the students shared their experiences through creative presentations before a group of parents and community members.  This marks the 3rd year that the Blowing Rock Chamber’s Community, Government, and Education Committee has supported local students aspiring to attend the program. “The NCSSM Simmer Accelerator program provides STEM educational opportunities that may lead to increased interest in becoming a future entrepreneur,” says Jim McDowell, committee chair. “The Blowing Rock Chamber believes in supporting our next generation of leaders and business owners.”

For more information on the programs or committees listed above, contact the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at (828) 295-7851 or online at www.LoveBlowingRock.com

Yonahlossee Resort and Club Announce New GM and Director of Tennis

The Yonahlossee Resort and Club is pleased to announce that Mr. Ripley Amell has been appointed as the clubs new General Manager and Director of Tennis. Mr. Amell had been working in the tennis resort/club industry in Canada, and in the US for 27 years.

Beginning his career in 1987 at the Gray Rocks Inn Ski-Golf-Tennis Resort, Mr. Amell spent ten years in leadership positions within the ski and tennis schools. During that period his most memorable experience was hosting the All England Club of Wimbledon over a three-night stay, concluding with a presentation of an oil painting of the Wimbledon grounds. Matchpoint Jr. Tennis Camp was one of his proudest achievements having reached a status across Canada as a premier academy. Mr. Amell then opened several adult tennis resort camps in Vermont’s Essex Culinary Resort & Spa and the Pocono Mountains Skytop Lodge Resort where he hosted his adult 25-hour camps. In 2007, Mr. Amell as GM of the Maine Golf and Tennis Academy was rated #1 by Sports Illustrated Magazine, one of the highlights of his career. At each juncture, Mr. Amell demonstrated leadership and effective, efficient balance of style and substance giving tennis enthusiast an experience immersed in a culture in a safe haven to add new elements to their game.

Mr. Amell also has considerable experience in multi-sport athletic club environments having held a team leadership position with the RDV Sportplex in Orlando, one of the country’s largest athletic clubs and home to the Orlando Magic.

Mr. Amell had the following to say about his new appointment: “The Yonahlossee Resort and Club is the first resort/club that has a culture of warm welcomes and first-class membership from the Board on down where everyone wants what’s best for Yonahlossee that he has seen in some time” and “I feel especially attached to it, having worked in a similar environment in the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec.” “I am delighted to have been granted this opportunity to become the club’s General Manager. I will be working hard to achieve even higher levels of tennis service and hospitality, delivering our member/guests the kind of club/resort experience that only Yonahlossee can offer and building an enduring love for our club.” 

Mr. Amell’s wife Kim is s very successful Encaustic Artist who is also looking forward to further develop her career here in the High Country. They have three children Alexis, Alex, and Jennifer. With his 27-year career in the tennis club/hospitality industry and extensive knowledge and experience of high-end brands at Yonahlossee Resort and Club, General Manager Amell is a great asset to Yonahlossee. The club will continue to provide members and guests with memorable experiences and uphold the traditions of which Yonahlossee is so proud while striving to further enhance service quality and brand value here in the High Country for years to come.

Ripley Amell may be reached for information or a tour of Yonahlossee at 828 963 1800 or manager@yonahlosseeclub.com