1000 x 90

Today’s Email Announcements

Weekly Events at Lost Province Brewing Company

Wednesday, December 18

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

Thursday, December 19

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

7:30 – Close: Rory Jagdeo. Hailing originally from Guyana, South America, Rory has been living in North Carolina for the last year and performing live for over 10 years. Rory (a.k.a the Indian Bob Dylan) performs solo with vocals, guitar, and harmonica. He captivates his audiences by weaving his own very unique Americana style throughout his own originals and cover songs from the ’60s/’70s (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Bee Gees, Moody Blues, etc). He has recorded three solo albums: “Hanging On”, 2008, “Cling and You Die”, 2010, and most recently, “Coming Home”, 2016.

Friday, December 20

7:30 pm – Close: Folk and Dagger. Folk and Dagger are a folk rock group from Boone, NC, whose original trio formed in 2007. The band includes singer-songwriter Doris Bazzini Crothers on rhythm guitar and vocals, Colin Crothers on lead guitar, and Colleen Tarantino Utter on vocals. Originally singing as a church choir group, the band was joined by Charlie Ochoa and then Jimmy Puchalski on percussion, followed by John Fulkerson. The most recent addition is Allan Duncan on drum. The band’s soulful harmonies and Crothers’ acoustic lead guitar style have been likened to “Indigo Girls meet the Beatles.” Bazzini Crothers’ songs focus on love and life’s dramas including annoying co-workers, juggling marriage and children, and the occasional need to carry whiskey in one’s purse. The band has released two CDs–Half Full in 2009 and Got Wine? in 2011

Saturday, December 21

7:30 pm – Close: Kyle Sigmon. Located in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina, Kyle is a husband, father of 4, a pastor at Faithbridge, and multiple instrument singer/songwriter whose music is a product of his own creative and contemplative explorations, but exists to do more than entertain. The hope is to inspire and stir listeners to find their own art that is their lives given back to the world.

Wordkeepers Meeting This Saturday

Writers (and Druids)! 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, December 21, at 3:30 in the afternoon as we celebrate the Winter Solstice. Scot Pope will provide musical entertainment to start us off, with readings to commence at 4:00. 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.

Grandfather Mountain State Park Winter Programs

To Build a Fire
Appropriate for ages 10 and up; participants under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No pets please.
Fire is one of the cornerstones of human civilization that many take for granted in today’s modern lifestyle. Could you build a fire if necessary? Join Ranger Appling to learn techniques for fire building and emergency fire starting for camping, heating or survival. The program will be held outside and last approximately 1 hour, so be sure to dress appropriately for the weather.

Hike Length and Difficulty: 
Little to no Hiking
Date of Event:  
Saturday, December 21, 2019 – 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Start Location:  
Profile Parking Area
4198 Hwy 105 South
Banner Elk, NC 28604

First Day Hike on the Lower Profile Trail
All ages welcome; children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No pets please.
Kick off the New Year with a bit of fresh air and exercise!  Join Ranger Appling for a stroll along the lower Profile Trail for an unforgettable winter hike. This section of the trail is moderate and hiking boots are strongly recommended. Bring any water and snacks you may need and dress appropriately for the weather.

Meet at the Profile Trail parking area at 1:00 pm.
Hike Length and Difficulty: 
1.5 Miles round-trip, moderate terrain
Date of Event:  
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 – 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Start Location:  
Profile Parking Area
4198 Hwy 105 South
Banner Elk, NC 28604

Christmas Eve SingFest Begins at 7 p.m.

Boone Unitarian Universalist Fellowship invites everyone to the annual Christmas Eve SingFest from 7-8 p.m. at Boone Unitarian Universalist located at 381 East King Street. 

The event will feature Christmas carols, songs for the season and stories for children and adults. 

Join in the spirit of the season with familiar songs and stories for all. If you can, bring cookies to share.

Audubon North Carolina Invites You to Celebrate 120 Years of the Annual Christmas Bird Count

Between December 14 and January 5, participants across the state will join the world’s longest-running wildlife census, which contributes invaluable data to bird population research.

Audubon North Carolina invites birdwatchers to participate in the longest-running community science survey in the world, Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC). This holiday season marks the 120th year that bird-loving volunteers will fan out across the state, the country, and much of the Western Hemisphere to count birds.

The twelve decades’ worth of data collected by participants continue to contribute to one of only two large existing pools of information notifying ornithologists and conservation biologists about what conservation action is required to protect birds and the places they need.

Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count is one of the longest-running wildlife censuses in the world. Each individual count takes place in a 15-mile-wide circle and is led by a compiler responsible for organizing volunteers and submitting observations directly to Audubon. Within each circle, participants tally all birds seen or heard that day—not just the species but total numbers to provide a clear idea of the health of that particular population.

“Joining a Christmas Bird Count near you is a fun, easy, and incredibly important way to help us better understand and protect birds, and by extension our own communities,” said Curtis Smalling, Audubon North Carolina director of conservation. “Because the count is a long-standing tradition and so many people help gather data, we are able to notice trends over time that tell us important things about the natural world, including environmental changes that affect all of us. By adding your observations to twelve decades of counts, we are able to make conservation decisions that are more impactful for birds and people.”

When combined with other surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count provides a picture of how the continent’s bird populations have changed in time and space over the past hundred years. The long-term perspective is vital for conservationists. It informs strategies to protect birds and their habitat, and helps identify environmental issues with implications for people as well. For example, earlier this year, Science published a study using decades of Audubon Christmas Bird Count data to describe a grim picture: a steady decline of nearly three billion North American birds since 1970, primarily as a result of human activities. Christmas Bird Count data have been used in more than 300 peer-reviewed articles.

A brand new feature for this year’s 120th Christmas Bird Count will be “CBC Live,” a crowd-sourced, hemisphere-wide storytelling function using Esri mapping software. This “story-map” will ask users to upload a photo taken during their Christmas Bird Count as well as a short anecdote to paint a global picture of the Christmas Bird Count in real time.

In North Carolina last year, the 119th Christmas Bird Count included 53 count circles. Participants encountered warmer than normal temperatures across the state as they fanned out to find birds. The largest list ticked in at Wilmington, where counters tallied 166 species. All told, counters found 828,389 individuals of 222 species. Highlights included:

  • Two Golden Eagles, one at Lake Mattamuskeet and another at New River 
  • A count-first Black-crowned Night Heron at Roanoke Rapids
  • A Northern Goshawk on the Pamlico Count
  • A total of 89 Black-legged Kittiwakes passing the Point at Cape Hatteras, a record count for the species in North Carolina
  • A Black Scoter in Raleigh, a good find for an inland count

Across the country and the Western Hemisphere, last year saw a record-setting 2,615 count circles, with 1,975 counts in the United States, 460 in Canada and 180 in Latin America, the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Pacific Islands. This was the ninth-straight year of record-breaking counts. In total, 79,425 observers out in the field and watching feeders tallied up over 48 million birds representing more than 2,600 different species—more than one-quarter of the world’s known avifauna. Approximately 5 percent of the North American landmass was surveyed by the Christmas Bird Count. Last year included two new species for the Christmas Bird Count list of birds seen in the United States: a Little Stint in San Diego and a Great Black Hawk in Portland, Maine. To observe the trends of any particular species over the last twelve decades, please take a look here.

The Northern Bobwhite, the only native quail in the eastern United States, continues its downward spiral. This species has essentially disappeared from the Northeast and faces massive declines due to loss of shrubland habitat exacerbated by increased droughts. On the flip side, Red-breasted Nuthatches and Purple Finches staged major irruptions southward during the 119th CBC.

Beginning on Christmas Day in 1900, Dr. Frank M. Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore – which evolved into Audubon magazine – proposed a new holiday tradition that would count birds during the holidays rather than hunt them. Conservation was in its beginning stages in that era, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. So began the Christmas Bird Count. 120 years later, the tradition continues and still manages to bring out the best in people and contribute valuable data to the worldwide scientific community.

To sign up for a Christmas Bird Count in North Carolina and ensure your bird count data make it into the official Audubon database, please visit our website to find the circle nearest you and register with your local Christmas Bird Count compiler. Find count dates on the Carolina Bird Club website. All Christmas Bird Count data must be submitted through the official compiler to be added to the long-running census.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is a community science project organized by the National Audubon Society. There is no fee to participate. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to learn more. For more information and to find a count near you visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Audubon North Carolina, a state program of the National Audubon Society, has offices in Durham, Boone, Corolla, and Wilmington. Learn more at www.nc.audubon.org and on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Lottery Tickets Make Great Last Minute Gifts, Just Not for Children

Lottery tickets make great last minute gifts, but not for children. That’s the message the North Carolina Education Lottery and the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program are asking the public to help share this holiday season.

“As we’ve seen from past winner stories, playing the lottery has become part of North Carolina culture,” said Mark Michalko, executive director of the N.C. Education Lottery. “Many families in our state give lottery tickets as gifts during the holiday season. We want to keep that tradition alive, but also prevent lottery tickets from ending up in the hands of minors.”

To help spread the message, the Education Lottery and the North Carolina Problem Gambling Program are joining more than 50 lotteries and organizations around the world in an annual holiday prevention campaign, “Lottery tickets aren’t child’s play.”

“We know that some who develop a gambling problem report their first experience came when they were young,” said Smith Worth, state administrator of the N.C. Problem Gambling Program. “That’s why this campaign is so important. Be partners with us and the North Carolina Education Lottery in helping to remind folks that lottery games are not for children under 18.”

Besides supporting the holiday campaign, the Education Lottery takes steps year-round to prevent those under 18 from playing. They include:

  • Printing a “You Must Be 18 Years of Age To Play” reminder on every ticket and advertising and marketing materials.
  • Requiring scans of drivers’ licenses before accessing lottery vending machines.
  • Training lottery retailers to check IDs before selling lottery tickets.
  • Enforcing the no sales to a minor law in a partnership with state law enforcement agencies.
  • Providing $1 million a year to support the N.C. Problem Gambling Program, which provides an evidence-based gambling prevention program to middle school and high school students in the state.

The lottery’s efforts in promoting responsible play are part of its corporate social responsibility program and are commitments the lottery made as it achieved the highest level of responsible gaming certification recognized internationally. The Level 4 accreditation from the World Lottery Association attested that the lottery has implemented responsible gaming practices into its day-to-day operations.

For more information on the campaign, visit www.ncpgambling.org/holiday. If you or someone you care about has a problem with gambling, visit morethanagamenc.com.

Foxx-Gomez GREAT Act Sent to White House for Signature

Yesterday, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a Senate-amended update to H.R. 150, the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act. Sponsored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R – N.C.) and Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D – Los Angeles), the GREAT Act will streamline the federal grant reporting process by mandating the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop a standardized, government-wide reporting system for federal grant recipients. By replacing outdated, disconnected grant documents with searchable open data, the GREAT Act will increase transparency from grantmaking agencies, reduce compliance costs for grant recipients, and improve congressional oversight of grants awarded by the executive branch.

“As a former researcher, librarian and college president, I have been grant-writing for all of my professional life,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx. “It’s hard to believe that the same challenges I faced at the beginning of my career are the same ones faced by federal grant recipients today. The grant reporting process is riddled with antiquated reporting methods that hinder efficiency for grant recipients and transparency for taxpayers. Now that the bill has been sent to President Trump’s desk, the GREAT Act will bring federal grant reporting into the 21st century with searchable documents and open data.”

“The federal government spends an enormous part of its yearly budget — over $600 billion — on grants issued to state and local governments, agencies, small-businesses, and non-profit organizations,” said Rep. Jimmy Gomez. “These federal dollars touch almost every aspect of American society, highlighting the need to streamline the grant reporting process and make it as transparent as possible to the public. By leveraging technology, the GREAT Act will make the grant reporting process more equitable, efficient, and accessible. I’m proud to have worked across the aisle with Rep. Virginia Foxx to make government work better for the people.”

The GREAT Act first passed the House this Congress on January 17th and was subsequently amended and passed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate on October 21st.  Monday’s passage in the House sends the final text of the bill to President Trump’s desk for his signature.

Supporters of the GREAT Act include:

  • Bipartisan Policy Center Action (BPC Action)
  • American Association of Law Libraries (AALL)
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • Association of Government Accountants (AGA)
  • Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
  • Data Coalition
  • Demand Progress
  • Government Accountability Project (GAP)
  • Government Information Watch
  • Grant Professionals Association (GPA)
  • National Grants Management Association (NGMA)
  • National Taxpayers Union (NTU)
  • Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA)
  • Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
  • R Street Institute, Senior Executives Association (SEA)
  • Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

Applications Period Opens for $15M in GREAT Grants to Expand Broadband Access in Rural NC Communities

Internet service providers and electric membership cooperatives can now apply for $15 million in state funding aimed at helping bring high-speed internet access to rural parts of North Carolina.

Authorized by the N.C. General Assembly and administered by the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office, the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Grant Program supports efforts by private internet service providers to deploy broadband infrastructure to the state’s 40 most economically distressed counties.

Applications for the 2019-2020 award period are being accepted from Dec. 16, 2019, to March 16, 2020. Information on how to apply can be found at https://www.ncbroadband.gov/greatgrant/.

“Broadband is integral to so many aspects of society – from education to healthcare to public safety to economic development – but too many areas across the state, particularly rural, still lack internet access,” said Eric Boyette, NCDIT secretary and state chief information officer. “The GREAT Grant program is one way to tackle this digital divide. I’m looking forward to seeing what providers come up with to ensure every North Carolinian has the broadband access necessary for the 21st century.”

In May 2019, the GREAT Grant Program awarded providers in 19 counties nearly $10 million to bring high-speed internet to more than 10,000 households, businesses, agricultural operations and community institutions, such as libraries, schools and hospitals.

Areas eligible for GREAT Grant funding are census blocks or portions of census blocks in Tier 1 counties – as designated by the N.C. Department of Commerce – that lack access to an internet service providing a minimum download speed of 10 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 1 megabit per second.