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Today’s Email Announcements

Paid Volunteer Opportunity For Seniors in Elementary Classrooms

The Appalachian Foster Grandparent program is a senior citizen volunteer program to assist in classrooms across Watauga County Schools that has been serving the community for the past 40 years. The Foster Grandparent Program is a national program that is part of the Corporation for National & Community Service offered locally through Appalachian State University. The program is actively recruiting low-income seniors to volunteer 15-20 hours per week in elementary school classrooms to assist students with learning challenges. Volunteers are assigned 3-5 children to provide tutoring in basic education, shadow activities, and serve as a positive role model.
Foster Grandparents are role models, mentors, and friends to children with exceptional needs. The program provides a way for volunteers age 55 and over to stay active by serving children and youth in their communities.

  • Help children learn to read and provide one-on-one tutoring
  • Mentor troubled teenagers and young mothers
  • Care for children with disabilities
  • Help children who have been abused or neglected

All you need to join is the ability to give the kind of comfort and love that sets a child on the path toward a successful future. If you’re 55 or older and want to share your experience and compassion, you have what it takes to be a Foster Grandparent. Eligible volunteers receive an hourly stipend, vacation time, and sick leave. Volunteers must be at least 55 years of age, qualify as low income, have adequate transportation, pass a criminal history background check and have a passion for working with children.

Our Kindergarten classroom is so grateful and appreciative of our foster grandparents!  Words truly cannot say what a great asset and blessing they are for our children.   They are so willing and available to do what needs to be done for the benefit of the students and to help our classrooms run like a “well-oiled machine”.  Their duties vary daily.  Just some of their duties include but are not limited to:  read baggie books with every student each morning.  (We have some students that don’t have the opportunity to read their books with an adult each night), review sight word rings with every student each day to help build their sight word vocabulary, work one on one with students that need interventions in reading or math, work with small groups during literacy and math time, and not to mention–probably the most important thing they do is to just to be there to give unconditional love and nurture to all students–they can all benefit from that!

We have also noticed a huge difference in many of our students’ academic and emotional progress since working with our foster grandparents.  Their self-esteem has increased and they feel more successful in learning at school. I truly don’t think our classrooms could run as effectively as they do without the help of our foster grandparents. — As reported by local Kindergarten Teachers

Please contact Tammy Taylor, Foster Grandparent Director, or Sherry Lambert Program Assistant at (336) 846 – 4898 for additional program information or to complete an application.

Governor Appoints New Chair to Head North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities 

Kerri Eaker

Kerri Eaker of Asheville, NC, has been appointed as the Chair of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) by Governor Roy Cooper. She recently chaired her first meeting at the February 6-7 quarterly gathering of the 40-member Council in Cary, NC.

Eaker is the Family Support Outreach Coordinator for The Family Support Network™ of WNC at Mission Children’s Hospital in Asheville, NC. She has worked for the organization for nine years assisting families with children with special health care needs, developing and implementing trainings and materials and conducting workshops for parents and professionals throughout the western part of North Carolina.

Eaker, who has been a Council member since December of 2012, most recently chaired the Community Living Committee which reviews issues and initiatives that cover support networks, guardianship issues, supported living and more for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.

Born and raised in Asheville, Eaker attended Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and studied psychology and education at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has 29 years of experience raising her son, Dakota, who has special healthcare needs and during that time gained knowledge in how to navigate and negotiate the educational, mental health, developmental and healthcare services available for people with disabilities.

“Kerri’s dedication to the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities is only exceeded by her dedication to her son, Dakota, and other individuals with disabilities throughout the state of North Carolina. Her 22-year career in the field of disabilities makes her an exceptional asset to the Council and to achieving the Council’s mission. We are thrilled Kerri has accepted the opportunity to lead the Council for the next three years,” said former Council Chair, Alexandra “Alex” McArthur who has served the Council for over two years and transitioned to fulfill additional work responsibilities.

Eaker will preside over NCCDD Council meetings, serve as Chair of the Executive Committee, and represent the Council to the public and to policymakers among other duties. Eaker plans during her tenure to address the Innovations Waiver Waitlist in North Carolina where currently 13,598 individuals are waiting to receive services and supports that will allow them to live their life as independently as possible in their community of choice. In addition, Eaker plans to work towards seeing the state begin to value what “lived experience” brings to the developmental disability workforce.

“I am honored to be chosen to serve as the Chair of the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities. I am excited to continue my lifelong commitment to empower individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to live, work, and engage in their community. I look forward to continuing my work with state policymakers, program administrators, providers and other stakeholders as we all work to improve access to supports and services throughout our state,” Eaker said.

Eaker has two sons, the aforementioned Dakota and Matthew, a U.S. Marine Corp Sergeant as well as two grandchildren.

The Alliance for Appalachia Needs Your Support

We’re gearing up for the new decade of continuing to build new systems that are good for all people, and not just a few. Through iLoveMountains.org, you’ve stood with us by taking actions that protect our water and our communities. Together, we’ve submitted thousands of comments to the EPA demanding clean water; we’ve supported miners with black lung as they traveled to D.C.; and we’ve educated folks across the country on the harms caused by mountaintop removal. 

We need your help to do this important work. Please contribute now.

We’re excited to be heading into 2020 with a new mission statement that’s rooted in our core beliefs: The Alliance for Appalachia promotes a healthy, just Appalachia by supporting our member organizations in communities impacted by destructive resource extraction.  

Our refined mission statement allows for our member groups to continue the fight to end mountaintop removal mining while also demanding corporate accountability for coal corporations and other extractive industries who are polluting our communities. The same powers exploiting the mountains and people of Appalachia are responsible for climate change and income inequality around the world. In resistance, we’re organizing for whole communities with safe water and healthy lands as the basis for regenerative economies. 

As we transition into a new decade, we’re continuing to build the power of the people. Our work bringing members together relies on support from donors like you. 

What can you contribute today?  

  • $20/month helps us buy promotional materials like our legendary I❤MOUNTAINS stickers and other outreach materials
  • $50/month covers the cost of 4 Alliance members to come together from across the region to monitor stream quality and active mine sites
  • $250/month brings 5 Alliance members to Washington, D.C. for 3 days of advocacy

Donate now

Lees-McRae to Hold Theatre Arts Audition Day for Program Scholarships Feb. 22

Earn a scholarship to help pay for college, get to know current students and faculty in the Theatre Arts program, and begin your career as an artist or leader during the Lees-McRae Theatre Arts Audition Day.

Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 and lasting throughout the day, prospective students will have the chance to learn about the various Theatre Arts programs of study, tour campus and program facilities, meet faculty and staff, as well as audition for scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.

Students in the Theatre Arts program have the chance to be a part of three mainstage productions throughout the year, intern with the Lees-McRae Summer Theatre professional company, and travel to the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC)—the largest theatre conference in the U.S.—with faculty and peers to build connections and find employment.

Entrance into the BFA in Musical Theatre program is by audition only, with audition materials and details provided immediately after registration is complete. All other Theatre Arts auditions for scholarships are voluntary and not required to be enrolled in the program.

Learn about the audition requirements and register here >>

With questions, please contact Director of Theatre Arts Danielle Curtis at curtisd@lmc.ed.

Boone Town Council and Watauga County Commissioners to Hold Joint Meeting on February 24


Special Watauga Water Intake Work Session of Beech Mountain Town Council is February 25

The Town of Beech Mountain Town Council will hold a workshop session regarding the Watauga Water Intake Project on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Town Hall to consider water sources and water intake from Watauga River.  All interested parties are invited to attend.

Special Watauga Water Intake work session of Town Council – 25 Feb 2020 – PDF
Special Watauga Water Intake work session of Town Council – 25 Feb 2020 – HTML

Annual Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival Slated for Spring 2020

The Historical Association of Catawba County along with the Catawba Valley Pottery and Antiques Festival steering committee announces the 23rd Annual Catawba Valley Pottery and Antiques Festival (CVP&AF) will take place Saturday, March 28, at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. This renowned event gathers together over 100 potters and vendors from across the southeast to showcase and sell their unique artistry and craftsmanship.

Saturday’s festival also includes live demonstrations and a special lecture series and exhibit. This year’s exhibit is “Daniel Johnston: Single Pots to Clay Walls” presented by Daniel Johnston, a well-known Seagrove potter, a macho maker of large jars, and a regular at the Catawba Valley Pottery Festival. Dr. Henry Glassie, College Professor of Folklore at Indiana University and renowned folklorist whose books explore folk arts from many regions of the world will present “Clay Walls: Daniel Johnston’s Massive Assemblages”. Dr. Glassie is the author of Daniel Johnston: A Portrait of the Artist as a Potter in North Carolina, published by Indiana Unversity Press. Glassie and Johnston will give the lecture together and be available to sign copies of the book during the festival.

The Friday Night Preview Party on March 27th from 7 to 10 pm will be held at the Hickory Metro Convention Center and will feature a Southern Fare menu, cash bar, and live music. This sellout event is the primary fundraiser for the Festival and provides guests with the opportunity to purchase festival items early, time to interact with vendors, and enjoy a fun night of great food and entertainment. All Preview Party guests will be entered in a drawing for a $200 gift certificate to be used Saturday at the festival. To be eligible for the drawing, tickets must be purchased by the March 18th deadline. The raffle winner will be announced during Friday’s event.

Tickets for the Friday Night Preview Party are $45.00 and include admission to Saturday’s festival. These can be purchased online or through direct mail (see direct mail directions below). Tickets for Saturday’s festival are $6.00 for adults and $2.00 for children ages 3 to 12, and can be purchased at the door. For more information about the CVP&AF, please visit http://www.catawbavalleypotteryfestival.org.



When:        Friday, March 27, 2020 from 7-10 p.m.

Where:      Hickory Metro Convention Center

                  1960 13th Ave. Dr. SE

                  Hickory, NC 28602

Tickets:      $45 each (includes admission to Saturday’s festival)

Purchase Online or Purchase by Mail: Download and fill out order        

form, include check or money order and mail to:


P.O. Box 2583

Hickory, NC 28603

Catawba Valley Pottery & Antiques Festival

When:        Saturday, March 28, 2020 from 9 a.m. -5 p.m.

Where:      Hickory Metro Convention Center

                  1960 13th Ave. Dr. SE

                  Hickory, NC 28602

Tickets:      $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 3-13

                  Tickets purchased at the door. 

Valle Crucis Conference Center Wants Your Recipes

We are putting together Valle Recipes, a cookbook to celebrate the tradition of delicious Appalachian and mountain-adjacent cuisine here at the Valle Crucis Conference Center.

Please send us your favorite recipes! Your work will be credited, published, and shared to make culinary memories for a lifetime.

Deadline for recipe submission is April 15, 2020

Please email Deana at guestservices@vcconferences.org or fax recipes to 828-963-8806

Area Realtors Awarding Four College Scholarships

AJ Ayers

Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 High Country Association of Realtors (HCAR) scholarship program.

Four scholarships are available to college-bound high school seniors based on demonstrated academic aspiration and community services. One scholarship each will go to a student attending high school in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, the four-county area which comprises the HCAR.

AJ Ayers, a graduate of Avery County High School, was the 2019 recipient of the HCAR scholarship program. The salutatorian of his graduating class, Ayers also graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics online program. He planned to attend NC State and pursue a career in mechanical engineering.

The HCAR expects to award four scholarships this year. The top scholarship is for $3,000. The other three will be $1,000 awards directed to students in each of the other three counties.

The HCAR Board of Directors will administer the award. The objective of the program is to help build young leaders of character by providing post high school scholarships for each school within the HCAR’s four-county area. These leaders should live with high ethical standards and be committed to service in their personal, school, business and community lives.

The application can be found online at www.highcountryrealtors.org/scholarship. Submission deadline is April 17. All applicants must be a senior high school student within Alleghany, Ashe, Avery or Watauga counties planning to attend trade school or college, including community, public, or private universities.

Since 2015, the HCAR has committed itself to annually distributing competitive scholarships open to high school seniors. The HCAR unites real estate professionals in the community for the benefit of Realtors and their clients. The Association is dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in the industry and is committed to maintaining a high level of ethical business practice.

Dining Out for Life Happening April 30

Dining Out For Life, the biggest restaurant-led charity benefit in Western NC, is on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Dozens of our area’s most well-known restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops will donate 20% of sales to WNCAP for HIV prevention and care. Dining Out For Life is the biggest day of HIV/AIDS awareness and fundraising in Asheville and WNC. Make your reservations today!

“Dining Out For Life is WNCAP’s largest fundraiser. But its most important benefit is how many people are educated about the ongoing crisis of HIV in the South,” says WNCAP Executive Director Antonio del Toro.

In 2019, thanks to the generosity of our participating restaurants, DOFL was honored with a “Best Of WNC” award by Mountain Xpress for Best Local Fundraising Event. Asheville also ranked in the top 10 DOFL cities – outranking New York and Chicago! That is truly a testament to the community spirit (and love of fine local cuisine) that distinguishes our beautiful home.

1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, including 30,000 of our neighbors in North Carolina; 1 in 7 do not know they are HIV-positive. WNCAP helps our local community access HIV prevention tools, including PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) a daily pill to help prevent HIV. WNCAP also helps people living with HIV access medical care so that their viral load can become undetectable, creating effectively zero risk of transmitting HIV sexually (Undetectable equals Untransmittable, or U=U). Resources generated by Dining Out For Life help people survive and thrive in a world where there remains ample stigma surrounding HIV.

WNCAP assembles a team of over 200 enthusiastic volunteers to help support Dining Out For Life. “We work hard to recruit dependable community volunteers to serve as ‘Ambassadors’ during each meal shift at all of our Participating Restaurants,” explains WNCAP Community Resource Coordinator Chris Winebrenner. “The Ambassador’s role is to invite their family, friends, and colleagues to come out to eat at their assigned restaurant. Volunteer Ambassadors greet diners and invite them to join a raffle for three great prizes. By donating a few hours of their time at their favorite restaurant, Ambassadors are able to make a crucial difference in the lives of people living with HIV in our community.”

If you would like more information about becoming an Ambassador, please email Chris at wncapvolunteer@wncap.org.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, April 30th and make your reservations today for Dining Out For Life. Visit wncap.org/DOFL for a list of participating restaurants in your neighborhood.

Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational Coming Up May 22-24

TKL World Class Cases presents the Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational coming up on May 22, 23 and 24, 2020 at the Town Center, 6 South Main Street, Burnsville, NC. Thirty-five (35) luthiers from NC, TN, WV, VA, SC, GA and FL gather to offer their stunning, handcrafted, acoustic string instruments including mandolins, banjos, guitars, dulcimers, ukuleles, harp and variations of these instruments. Opportunity to compare and order your dream, custom instrument! Admission is $10.00. The Luthier Jam on Friday evening is free to the public. Saturday and Sunday are exhibit days.

A Silent Auction offers exciting opportunity from donors such as the John C. Campbell Folk School (tuition to any of their courses), Costa del Mar Sunglasses (those amazing sunglasses), Elite Island Resorts Caribbean (heavy discount vouchers for Caribbean resorts), Stew-Mac (Waverly tuners), Colington Creek Inn (stay at this NC waterfront inn), Southern Appalachian Anglers (day of floating, fly-fishing), Mountain Air Country Club (golf game for 4), Meadowbrook Inn (stay at lovely Blowing Rock inn), Navitat (ziplining for 2), Nantahala Outdoor Center (whitewater rafting), Charlotte Motor Speedway (NASCAR tickets) and more! Just the Silent Auction makes the drive to Burnsville well worth making.

Vintage String Instruments Exhibit (over 50 instruments with some dating back into the 1800’s) is included in the event with Vintage Guitar magazine stepping into a sponsorship position. This is an amazing, private collection!

The Saturday evening concert proudly presents multi-Grammy and CMA award winner, Mark and Maggie O’Connor. Our Host Luthier, Jay Lichty of Lichty Guitars in Tryon, NC will open performing with one of his stunning ukuleles. Concert tickets are $25.00. Concert takes place at the First Baptist Church on the square in Burnsville. Please visit www.MountainAcoustics.com for additional details and hotlinks. Join us for this celebration of the art of lutherie.

Wit Tuttell, Executive Director of Visit NC, Announces the 22nd Annual Cycle North “Mountains to Coast” Route

Wit Tuttell, the Executive Director of Visit NC, announced the 2020 Cycle North Carolina “Mountains to Coast” Route with the help of town representatives in a pre-recorded video released at the Cycle North Carolina Route Announcement Party, held at Tobacco Road Sports Café & Brewery in downtown Raleigh on February 11. 

To view the video of the “Mountains to Coast” Tour announcement, simply click the link below:


The twenty-second annual ride is scheduled for a Sparta to North Topsail Beach route, from October 3 to October 10, 2020.  With beautiful tourist stops along scenic back roads, the “Mountains to Coast” trek is the highlight of the year for many cyclists from across the nation.

Cycle North Carolina will begin its full-service, cross-state ride on October 4th in Sparta (October 3rd is a travel and check-in day), and will arrive at North Topsail Beach on October 10th, with 1,100 bicyclists expected to participate.  Over the course of the week, riders will bike an average of 60 miles per day.  Additional overnight stays are planned for the towns of Mount Airy, Reidsville, Roxboro, Henderson, Smithfield and Clinton.

The Cycle North Carolina “Mountains to Coast” Tour is the state’s only cross-state, fully-supported ride created in 1999 with the N.C. Division of Tourism, Capitol Broadcasting Company, the N.C. Department of Transportation and North Carolina Amateur Sports as founding partners.  Cycle North Carolina was developed to promote North Carolina’s scenic beauty, heritage tourism, visitor attractions, historic sites, state parks, fitness, healthy lifestyles and the benefits of bicycling to individuals and our state.  During the past 21 years, Cycle North Carolina has stopped overnight in more than 100 North Carolina towns and visited over 700 North Carolina communities. 

Online registration is open at www.ncsports.org.  Cycle North Carolina will be capping registration at 1,100 riders, so interested riders are encouraged to register early, to avoid missing out on the highlight of the year for bicycling in North Carolina.

In addition to the “Mountains to Coast” Tour, Cycle North Carolina will host the Coastal Ride in Oriental, NC, April 24-26, 2020.  Cycle North Carolina will also host its seventh annual Mountain Ride in Forest City, NC, August 7-9, 2020.  Registration for both rides is open at www.ncsports.org.