1000 x 90

YEAR IN REVIEW: Most Read Stores in 2012


Compiled by Paul T. Choate

Dec. 28, 2012. So what have been the most read stories on our website in 2012? We have published over 3,400 stories (an average of 80 per week) since HCPress.com went online on Feb. 29 and the following stories are the top 50 most read. The No. 1 story was viewed over 17,000 times and No. 50 was viewed over 1,000 times. In total, our website has had over 1.3 million pageviews this year and has been viewed by nearly 300,000 unique visitors. Scroll down to see what everyone was reading the most in 2012 and just click on the “Read more” links to view the entire story with pictures and Facebook comments.

1. An Upper and Downer of a Weekend at Beech, ‘Mixed Emotions’ Revolve Around Festival of Gnarnia

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 13, 2012. Atop Beech Mountain Resort this weekend during Festival of Gnarnia, more than 150 people were arrested and more than 300 citations for alcohol and drugs were issued, according to local law enforcement officials. Read more

2. Abandoned ‘Creepy’ Black House with Red Dot on Howard’s Knob in Shambles after Wild Parties, Vandalism

By Paul T. Choate

July 20, 2012. “The black house with the red dot on it on Howard’s Knob,” “The Stahl House,” “The Cult House,” 448 Howards Knob Road. It is known by many different names, but almost everyone in Boone has at one time or another looked up and seen the strange black mansion on Howard’s Knob. After seven years abandoned and the former owner sent to prison, it is now in shambles after break-ins, many wild parties and frequent vandalism. Read more

3. Festival Atop Beech: ‘LSD, Mushrooms, Ecstasy. You Name It’s Here,’ Influx of Thousands: ‘Good for Business’

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 10, 2012. “It’s been interesting – to say the least.” Referring to The Festival of Gnarnia taking place until Sunday morning, that phrase is recurring among locals atop Beech Mountain. With an influx of 5,000 people, many of them out-of-state tour kids travelling the festival circuit, Beech is experiencing a bit of a culture shock. Read more

4. Student Found Dead in Kraut Creek at ASU; Blalock’s Death Due to Accidental Drowning, No Foul Play

By Jesse Wood & Paul T. Choate

Sept. 29, 2012. After a torrent of rain pummeled the High Country in the middle of the night, a body was found this morning in Kraut Creek on Appalachian State University’s southeast side of campus in Durham Park in the vicinity of the gazebo across the street from the Holmes Convocation Center. Read more

5. Connect with Living History; Veterans Share Their Stories at Appalachian World War II Symposium 

By Rebecca Gitlen

Aug. 3, 2012. The Appalachian High Country World War II Roundtable, Inc. and the ASU Department of History are presenting a World War II Symposium at the ASU Broyhill Center Aug. 9-11. The purpose of the Symposium is to both honor our Veterans and to let us hear from them the stories of their experiences from the War. Read more

6. What’s Going On With Ambitious $40M, 42-Acre ‘Destination Resort’ in Watauga? Plan: Break Ground in Spring for 50,000 sq ft Indoor Heated Water Park

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 5, 2012. Imagine spending two days skiing, snowboarding or tubing in the chilled winter air at four of our fine winter resorts in the High Country and then settling into a heated water park that features five slides, a wave pool, a Jacuzzi and a “lazy river” that floats through a cave to a nearby a tiki bar. Read more

7. Speculation of Ambush in Shooting, Deputy William Mast Jr: ‘A Young Champion,’ Partner Preston Russell Speaks

By Jesse Wood

July 27, 2012. Deputies William Mast Jr. and Preston Russell were partners, who came on the force at the same time nearly four years ago. They were best friends. Mast was 23 and Russell 27. Their wives were close, too – both expecting children within five days apart – and the two deputies were looking forward to taking a vacation together with their burgeoning families in October. Read more

8. Follow HCPress.com Tonight for Up-to-the-Minute Updates as Results Come in for the 2012 General Election

Compiled by Jesse Wood & Paul T. Choate

Nov. 6, 2012. The results of the 2012 general election will soon be known. Polls close at 7:30 p.m. and in Watauga County results will be announced at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center in Boone. High Country Press will be there posting updates live as the vote tallies come in. Stick with us all evening as we fill in these charts. Read more

9. Work Begins on Capstone Collegiate Communities’ Cottages of Boone on Poplar Grove Road South

By Paul T. Choate

May 31, 2012. Work began this week constructing the new road that will go up to the Capstone Collegiate Communities (CCC) development, The Cottages of Boone, on Poplar Grove Road South off of Highway 105. The development, when finished, could be the largest student housing community in Watauga County. Read more

10. Highway Patrol: The Parking Situation at Hebron Rock Colony Falls is ‘Jeopardizing Lives;’ Towing Enforced 

By Jesse Wood

July 20, 2012. Hebron Rock Colony, one of the most popular swimming holes in the High Country, has access issues because of a parking situation that’s given the N.C. State Highway Patrol migraines for years. Read more

11. The Battle at Turtle Island Continues, Both Sides Stand Firm as Sen. Soucek Could Become Unlikely Mediator

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 7, 2012. Eustace Conway is perplexed, astounded and outraged at recent events leading to the closure of Turtle Island Preserve, a 1,000-acre primitive refuge offering educational camps and internships, which he founded 26 years ago in the Triplett community of Watauga County. Read more

12. 21-Year-Old Appalachian State University Student Meme Brown Loses Battle to Ovarian Cancer on Monday 

By Erika Ivey

Oct. 19, 2012. Appalachian State University student, Meme Mckensie Brown, passed away at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem on Monday, Oct. 15, after battling ovarian cancer. Brown was a 21-year-old nursing student at ASU. Read more

13. After Residents Fought Back, Two ASU Students Arrested in Wednesday’s Violent Home Invasion Robbery 

By Staff Reports

Nov. 16, 2012. A second ASU student, suspect in a recent home invasion robbery incident, was arrested last night by Boone Police. Read more

14. Humans and Zombies Gather for Zombie Tag and to Help Feed Avery Families Oct. 19 at YMCA by 

By Staff Reports

Sept. 17, 2012. The Williams YMCA of Avery County and RAM Food Pantry present Zombiefest for Hunger on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the YMCA Chapman Center. Humans and Zombies wanted: Come out and get your “dead” on and help feed Avery families. Read more

15. Beech Council Hears Best, Worst of Gnarnia Festival, Including Festival-goer Found In Newland Dumpster 

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 14, 2012. At a regular Beech Town Council meeting on Tuesday with standing room only, more than 60 people filled the council chambers, primarily to listen to remarks regarding Festival of Gnarnia, which took place at Beech Mountain Resort last weekend. Read more

16. One Day After Move Over Law Expands, NCDOT Worker Killed in Accident on Old US 421 Near Brown Farm Road

By Paul T. Choate

Oct. 2, 2012. According to the State Highway Patrol office in Hudson, a fatality occurred at around 4:30 a.m. on Old U.S. 421 near the Brown Farm Road intersection. Read more

17. Banner Elk Summer Resident Dies Tuesday When Two Cars Slide Off Trailer on Beech Mountain Parkway

By Jesse Wood & Paul T. Choate

July 24, 2012. A multiple car wreck involving a car hauler and one fatality, occurred on Beech Mountain Parkway this morning at the intersection of Tumbling Brook Drive. Read more

18. N.C. ALE Confirms an ‘Ongoing Investigation’ into the Death of the Student Found on ASU, Alcohol Involved 

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 3, 2012. A representative in the Conover office of the N.C. ALE confirmed that an ongoing investigation regarding the death of ASU sophomore Tyler Blalock is taking place, although, the official said she couldn’t “comment until the investigation is wrapped up and its come to a conclusion.” Read more

19. 2012-13 Winter-Forecast Faceoff: Lickety-Split v. Ray’s Fearless Forecast – Both Predict Cold, Snowy Winter 

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 22, 2012. Every year, snow lovers – or haters, for that matter – in the High Country look to the “Fearless Forecast” from Ray’s Weather and the official prediction from the winning worm at the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk for a glimpse into the future. Read more

20. ASU Professor Jammie Price Keeps Job; Letter from Provost Sets Series of Conditions To Be Complied With 

By Paul T. Choate

May 1, 2012. On Monday, April 30, a hearing was conducted on Jammie Price, a tenured Appalachian State University professor of eight years, who was put on leave after four students complained about her “inappropriate speech and conduct in the classroom,” including showing a movie about pornography. She will be allowed to keep her job, but a series of sanctions have been imposed by the university. Read more

21. Eustace Conway of Turtle Island Arrested on Wednesday For Second-Degree Trespassing on Neighbor’s Property 

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 13, 2012. Eustace Conway of Turtle Island was arrested yesterday afternoon after being served a warrant for second-degree trespassing on a neighbors land in the Triplett community of Watauga County. Read more

22. Agricultural Community ‘Shocked’ that ASU Student Becomes New Soil/Water Conservation District Supervisor

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 16, 2012. The needle barely moved for all but one race after the canvass for the Watauga County Board of Elections on Friday, Nov. 16, which featured 51 approved provisional ballots totaled into final results. Read more

23. Pilot Deftly Maneuvers Crashing Plane in Western Watauga Woods, ‘Either He’s Very Lucky or Very Smart’ 

By Jesse Wood

July 7, 2012. The scene of the last night’s plane crash in Western Watauga looked like a setting in a fiction novel: in seemingly the middle of nowhere in Appalachia, surrounded by trees, rock outcroppings and a steep landscape, was the wreckage of a small yellow plane, the tail sticking 20 feet in in the air and the nose stuck in the ground. Read more

24. Man Dies in Banner Elk After Truck Runs Off Road into Shawneehaw Creek at the Mill Pond near Lees-McRae 

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 30, 2012. Rescuers responded to a fatal crash in Banner Elk this morning. At N.C. 184 and Banner Road, the Linville Central Rescue Squad responded to a call after a truck ran off the roadway and crashed into the Shanwneehaw Creek, which feeds into the Mill Pond on the campus of Lees-McRae College.. Read more

25. Approximately 400 Attend Doc Watson Funeral on Sunday; Brothers David and Linney Watson Visit Statue on June 4 

By Paul T. Choate

June 4, 2012. On Sunday, June 3, around 400 people turned out at the Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap for the legendary High Country musician Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson’s funeral. Read more

26. Major Drug Bust; Two Individuals Receiving Large Amounts of Marijuana Through the Mail; 20 lbs. Seized 

By Staff Reports

April 18, 2012. During the evening hours of Friday, April 13, 2012, Narcotics Officers with the Boone Police Department and Watauga County Sheriff’s Office conducted a counter-drug operation. This operation involved two individuals who were receiving large amounts of marijuana through the mail. During this operation, narcotics officers seized a total of approximately 20 pounds of marijuana. In this region, this amount of marijuana has a street value of $100,000, according to police. Read more

27. ASU Student Among First Two People Arrested as Democratic Convention in Charlotte Gets Underway 

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 3, 2012. The arrests began before the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte even started – and an ASU student was among the first two people detained. Read more

28. Saturday Marked the First Day of Fall; AccuWeather, Farmer’s Almanac Predicting Cold, Snowy Winter Ahead 

By Paul T. Choate

Sept. 22, 2012. Today marks the first day of fall and residents of the High Country are already beginning to notice those brisk mornings and starting to talk about the coming cold weather in the weeks and months ahead. Read more

29. Portion of Precision Printing Parking Lot Caves in; Area Roads Flooded; Boone Mall East Entrance Closed 

By Paul T. Choate

Sept. 18, 2012. The recent heavy rainfall in Watauga County has resulted in multiple area roads and the Boone Mall’s east entrance to close due to flooding. Rainfall also caused a portion of Precision Printing’s parking lot to cave in. Read more

30. Beloved Watauga High School Faculty Member, Coach Leigh Cooper Wallace Loses Battle to Pneumonia Monday 

By Paul T. Choate

Dec. 18, 2012. Watauga High School and the High Country community is grieving over the tragic loss of 43-year-old Leigh Cooper Wallace, a beloved teacher, cross country, track and women’s lacrosse coach and athlete. Wallace passed away on Monday at the Johnson City Medical Center after losing her battle with pneumonia. Read more

31. Details on U.S. 421 Bypass and Other Proposed Projects in Watauga County Comprehensive Transportation Plan 

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 15, 2012. Officials involved with the Watauga County Comprehensive Transportation Plan finalized a draft of the plan and outlined the proposed projects, which include the U.S. 421 Bypass known as the “Daniel Boone Parkway,” at an Intergovernmental Retreat on the campus of ASU last week. Read more

32. Results of the Primary Election: Watauga Votes No to Marriage Amendment; Petrea Out of School Board Race 

Compiled by Paul T. Choate

May 9, 2012. The results are in from the 2012 primary elections in Watauga County. The High Country Press was at the Watauga County Courthouse live-updating the results as information came in from the 20 precincts in the county. This page has been updated now that all 20 precincts have reported in. Read more

33. ASU Alum Jonathan Dailey Found in Charles River in Boston Bound by Chains Weighted with a Cinderblock 

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 10, 2012. News outlets in New England are reporting that ASU Alum Jonathan Dailey of Charlotte has been missing since Oct. 2, was found about a mile from his apartment in Boston’s Charles River bound by chains that were weighted with a cinderblock on Tuesday morning. Read more

34. A Face of Banner Elk Passes Away – Jack Masters; ‘Mr. Banner Elk,’ ‘Mr. Lees-McRae,’ and ‘The Baron of Big Stone Gap’ Will Sorely Be Missed 

By Jesse Wood

March 1, 2012. Jack Masters, one of the most well-liked figures in Banner Elk, passed away Wednesday morning. Standing 6 feet 6 inches tall, Masters was a bear of a man, though people who knew him thought of him as a gentle giant. Read more

35. Earthquake Felt in High Country at Noon Saturday 

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 10, 2012. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that a 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck Appalachia at 12:08 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10. Read more

36. Local Nonprofit Brings Oak Ridge Boys to Boone; Holmes Center Box Office: ‘Plenty of Tickets Still Available’ 

By Staff Reports

Oct. 2, 2012. Sugar Grove Developmental Day School (SGDDS) welcomes the Oak Ridge Boys and Carolina Crossing to play Holmes Center for Appalachian State’s homecoming weekend. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 4 with doors at 6:30 p.m. Read more

37. First Time Three Murder Cases on Wat. Superior Court Docket on the Same Day; ‘Our Little Town has Changed’ 

By Jesse Wood

April 15, 2012. According to the criminal trial calendar for Watauga Superior Court, three separate murder cases are on the docket for Monday, April 16, which has never happened before. All of the cases are at least one year old. Read more

38. Town of Boone Public Utilities Dept. Advises Residents to Boil Water For Time Being After Water Main Broke 

By Staff Reports

Oct. 9, 2012. The Public Utilities & Engineering Department for the Town of Boone would like you to advise the community that due to a water main break resulting in a pressure loss at the intersection of US Highway 321 and Boone Heights Drive, Town of Boone water customers should as a precautionary measure boil their water before use. Read more

39. What’s Going On? Construction Near The Old Watauga High School Property: A $10M Development 

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 20, 2012. Have you noticed the recent $10 million development in the works near the old Watauga High School property while driving on N.C. 105? Read more

40. Dilapidated Black House Atop Howard’s Knob Back on the Market as of Today; Bank of America Asking $318,000 

By Paul T. Choate

Dec. 14, 2012. The dilapidated black house that sits atop Howard’s Knob is back on the market as of today with a $318,000 asking price. Built in 1990 and once a million dollar home, the property now sits vacant after being abandoned several years ago and recently condemned. Read more

41. Rosa Lee Watson Passes Away on Thanksgiving, Towards Heaven She Rises To Be With Doc and Merle 

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 23, 2012. Rosa Lee Carlton Watson, the wife of the legendary Doc Watson, passed away on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 22. Read more

42. Open Letter to Friends of Turtle Island After Preserve Closes Due To County Building, Health Violations 

By Staff Reports

Nov. 26, 2012. Turtle Island Preserve is in danger. Please read this letter, and, if you feel moved to do so, carefully follow the suggestions for support provided at the end. Read more

43. Almanance County Woman Wins $1M in Historic Powerball Drawing, Plans to Use Winnings for Mortgage 

By Staff Reports

Dec. 6, 2012. Robin Stanfield of Mebane is the third and final $1 million winner from North Carolina from the historic Powerball drawing on Nov. 28. Stanfield was at work when she learned she had matched all five white balls in the drawing, beating odds of 1 in 5.1 million. Read more

44. Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman Confirms Deputy William Mast’s Death in Last Night’s Shooting 

By Jesse Wood

July 26, 2012. Watauga County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call last night in Deep Gap on Hardin Road. One officer was shot, along with another person, when a resident opened fire. Sheriff Len Hagaman confirmed this morning that Deputy William Mast, Jr. was killed in the shooting. There after, another officer killed the suspect. Read more

45. Sheriff’s Office Called to Green Valley Precinct After Principal Refuses to Move Kids from Voting Enclosure 

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 6, 2012. Election Day this morning, things got heated – but it wasn’t because of bickering between members of opposing parties. Read more

46. ASU Mourns The Loss of Leigh Cooper Wallace 

By Staff Reports

Dec. 19, 2012. Appalachian State University athletics is mourning the loss of former all-conference cross country and track and field student-athlete Leigh Cooper Wallace, who died Monday at the age of 43. Read more

47. The 12th Man on the Field – The Fans; Third Highest Attendance in Appalachian State Football History 

Story by Paul T. Choate | Photos by Ken Ketchie

Sept. 10, 2012. Appalachian State downed Montana 35-27 on Saturday in a thrilling matchup between two Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) powerhouses and avenged their 24-17 loss against the Grizzlies in the FCS semifinals back on Dec. 12, 2009. Read more

48. 5,100 High Country Residents Owed $1.35 Million in Unclaimed Cash/Property; Watauga County: $874,000 

Compiled by Jesse Wood

March 12, 2012. More than 5,100 High Country former and current residents are owed $1.35 million in unclaimed cash and property from the North Carolina State Department and Treasurer. Read more

49. ASU Football Player Shot at House Party in Charlotte on Sunday Morning, Coach Moore: Not Seriously Injured 

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 19, 2012. At a house party on Sunday morning, two college football players, including an ASU defensive lineman who was shot, and another person were injured during an middle-of-the-night altercation in northwest Charlotte. Read more

50. Dixie Pride Store on King St. Vandalized, Owner Believes He Was Targeted With a ‘Hate Crime’ 

By Greg Hince

June 11, 2012. Harmon’s Dixie Pride, a historic building located at 471 W. King St. in downtown Boone, was vandalized with spray paint in the early hours of Saturday morning in an attack owner Bradford Harmon felt was akin to a hate crime. Read more