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State Board of Elections Recognizes We The People as Official NC Political Party

July 17, 2024 Raleigh, NC — The State Board of Elections on Tuesday recognized the We The People Party of North Carolina as an official political party in the state. Recognition of this party means voters now have eight choices of party affiliation when registering to vote or updating an existing registration. Voters may register with the Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, No Labels, Republican, or We The People parties, or they can register as unaffiliated. This recognition also means that voters currently registered with a different political party or as unaffiliated may switch their affiliation to the We The People Party if they wish. For information on how to do that, see Updating Registration.

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NC State Board of Elections Recognizes Constitution Party as Official NC Political Party

July 10, 2024 The State Board of Elections on Tuesday recognized the Constitution Party of North Carolina as an official political party in the state. Recognition of this party means voters now have another choice of party affiliation when registering to vote or updating an existing registration. Voters may register with the Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, No Labels, or Republican parties, or they can register as unaffiliated. This recognition also means that voters currently registered with a different political party or as unaffiliated may switch their affiliation to the Constitution Party if they wish. For information on how to do that, see Updating Registration.

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Town of Boone Parking “Brainstorming” Have Three Sessions Coming Up in July

July 9, 2024 The Town of Boone would like to invite the Boone community to attend the Parking “Brainstorming” Sessions. During these sessions, we want to hear from you regarding questions, concerns, and constructive suggestions that you may have regarding parking within the Town. As a Boone community member, we want to hear from you, so we have chosen multiple dates and times so that anyone can attend.

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**The Heroes of the High Country**

July 9, 2024 Acting as the community liaison officer for the Boone Police Department, Officer Kat Eller has the difficult role of facilitating a healthy relationship with the community.  Prior to becoming a law enforcement officer, Officer Eller was a missionary in Macedonia and enjoyed working with the youth.  Little did she know how her life would change when she watched the events of 9/11 on television.  She was pulled to return to the US and pursue a career in Law Enforcement.   She graduated from Radcliff in VA with a degree in Criminal Justice in 1996 and then Basic Law Enforcement Training in 2002.  She served in various areas of law enforcement until 2007 when she landed a position with the Boone Police Department.  While in Boone, she earned an Advanced Law Enforcement certificate and completed the Criminal Investigators Program, among other honors.  Her dedication allowed her to serve in various positions until she reached her current role. By Patricia “Trish” Kanipe

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North Carolina State Lottery Commission Releases June Sports Wagering Revenue Report

July 9, 2024 The North Carolina State Lottery Commission on Monday released its sports wagering revenue report for June. The report compiles the sports wagering revenue for the month of June as submitted by the eight licensed interactive sports wagering operators. Between June 1 and June 30, account holders in North Carolina wagered $398,251,464 on sports events, including paid wagering revenue and promotional wagering revenue. From those wagers, account holders won $354,742,263.

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Avery County Sheriff’s Office Announces Addition of New Crime Fighting K-9

July 5, 2024 Avery County Sheriff Mike Henley would like to announce the arrival of the Sheriff’s Office’s latest crime-fighting K-9.  A K-9 is a dog trained to assist law enforcement officers.   Avery’s new “Deputy K-9 Ghost” is a two-year-old Belgium Malinois and is trained in apprehension, tracking, and narcotics detection. 

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Broadband, Opioid, and Occupancy Tax Funding the Top Issues at Avery Board of Commissioners July 1 Meeting

July 3, 2024 Discussion of receiving additional Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) Internet funding, approval of a service agreement to implement an occupancy tax in parts of the county, and adoption of three resolutions concerning Opioid Settlement funds the county has received highlighted the regular monthly meeting of the Avery Board of Commissioners on July 1. By Tim Gardner

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 Avery County Sheriff’s Office Offers Reminders for a Safe Independence Day

July 2, 2024 “According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (2023) there were an estimated 10,200 fireworks-related injuries, and 11 fireworks-related deaths in 2022. Sheriff Mike Henley hopes to encourage the public to keep themselves and their families’ safe while celebrating our nation’s independence this week. You can help to reduce the number of fireworks-related injuries by following these basic safety tips:

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Appalachian State University Chancellor Search Advisory Committee Assigned

July 1, 2024 RALEIGH, N.C. – University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans today announced the formation of a 13-member committee that will search for the next chancellor of Appalachian State University. Deanna Ballard, former state senator who represented Watauga County from 2016 to 2023, will chair the search advisory committee. “I’m grateful to Sen. Ballard for agreeing to serve in this important role,” Hans said. “She has strong ties to the Boone community and has been one of App State’s biggest champions. I also want to thank Trustee Chair Mark Ricks for his stalwart support of his alma mater. We are fortunate to have a group of dedicated individuals who will come together to find the next leader of this great university.”

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W.A.M.Y. Community Action Offering Free Weatherization Services to Low-Income Households in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties


June 18, 2024 . WAMY Community Action, a non-profit organization, is actively reaching out to help low-income families improve the energy efficiency of their homes. With the aid of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), WAMY is on a mission to protect homes from weather elements and improve energy conservation through free services to those households that meet the income eligibility criteria. Examples of the services offered under WAMY’s Weatherization Program include installing insulation, air sealing, and duct sealing. The program is not exclusive to homeowners; renters are also eligible for these services, provided they have obtained permission from their landlords. After weatherization services, households could save approximately 30% to 35% on their heating and cooling expenses, thus making a significant impact on their monthly budget

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USDA Awards $50 Million to Support Farmworkers and Agricultural Employers

June 18, 2024 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on June 14 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $50 million to 141 awardees in 40 states and Puerto Rico, through the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program (FLSP Program), reaching 177 unique agricultural operations and over 11,000 workers. The awards will help improve the resiliency of the U.S. food supply chain by addressing agriculture labor challenges and instability, strengthen protections for farmworkers, and expand legal pathways for labor migration. This program delivers on a commitment made as part of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection and furthers the Administration’s commitment to a regional approach to migration in the hemisphere.

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Public Comment Period Set for Proposed Changes to Rules About Election Protests and Recounts

June 18, 2024 The State Board of Elections is proposing temporary amendments to rules governing election protests and recounts so that post-election proceedings are completed in a timely fashion. The rules would be in effect on a temporary basis, to ensure that they can become effective before the general election. Gaps in the current timelines for election protests and recounts can lead to unnecessary delays in the final certification of elections. In recent years, election protest decisions and appeals have led to delays in certification for weeks, or even months, after an election. Such delays could be especially problematic in a presidential election, because federal law sets a strict deadline for states to certify their selection of presidential electors, in advance of the Electoral College meeting.

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Martha Hicks Presented Mayland Community College Honorary Degree during Avery County Commission Meeting

June 6, 2024 Besides adopting a new 2024-2025 fiscal year budget that is recapped in other articles published on hcpress.com, the Avery County Board of Commissioners took action regarding several more items on its regular monthly meeting agenda for June 3rd. Additionally, an item was added to the agenda as Martha Hicks, who has served as a county commissioner for 16 years, including much of that period as Board Chairwoman, was presented with an honorary degree from Mayland Community College. Hick, who also serves on the college’s Board of Trustees, representing the Board of Commissioners in that post, was awarded an Honorary Academic Governments and Leadership Degree by college president Dr. John Boyd. By Tim Gardner

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Representative Virginia Foxx Introduces the Grant Integrity and Border Security Act


May 11, 2024 On Monday, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued the following statement after introducing H.R. 8334, the Grant Integrity and Border Security Act, legislation that would require all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that apply for a federal grant to certify, as part of their application, that they have not, will not, and are not engaging in acts related to the smuggling and transportation of illegal aliens into the United States – and that they are not engaging in a conspiracy to take any of these actions. “Border security remains one of the most pressing issues of our time – the circumstances in which the nation finds itself warrant immediate, targeted solutions. The Grant Integrity and Border Security Act is one such solution that I am placing squarely upon the table,” said Representative Foxx. “There are already documented incidents in which NGOs have allocated funds to accelerate the entry of illegal aliens into our country, all the while corrupting public trust and thumbing their noses at the rule of law.

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NC State Lottery Commission Releases March Sports Wagering Activity Report

April 17, 2024 RALEIGH – The North Carolina State Lottery Commission on Tuesday released its first monthly sports wagering activity report. The report compiles the sports wagering activity in March as submitted by the eight licensed interactive sports wagering operators. Between the start of sports wagering in North Carolina at noon on March 11 through March 31, North Carolinians wagered $659,308,541 on sports events, including paid wagering revenue and promo wagering revenue. From those wagers, North Carolinians won $590,750,303.

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Watauga County Childcare Study Released

April 15, 2024 The Watauga Economic Development Commission and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announce the results of a comprehensive study of the childcare landscape in Watauga County.  The Watauga County Childcare Study includes a full 51-page report along with an executive summary. This information was presented to two groups of local childcare industry practitioners, business leaders, elected officials, and parents on April 9, 2024. In late 2023, the organizations partnered with Dancy Research to conduct the study. After surveying parents and local employers and conducting focus groups and one-on-one interviews, over 700 stakeholder engagements were analyzed over a three-month time period.

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Watauga County America 250 NC Steering Committee Will Hold a Free Informational Meeting on April 10th at 6:00 pm


April 4, 2024 “The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) is excited to announce the availability of a new grant program for communities to fund activities related to the upcoming America 250 commemoration. This new grant program is available to Watauga County non-profit organizations seeking to engage in America 250 NC programs and resource development on a local and regional level. Eligible projects include public art, educational activities, community events, exhibits, scholarly research, printed resources, and oral history projects, among a host of other activities that take place from 2024-2027.

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Absentee Voting Has Begun for the Statewide Republican Second Primary

April 4, 2024 All North Carolina registered Republicans and some unaffiliated voters are eligible to vote in second primary elections to be held Tuesday, May 14, in all 100 counties. Registered voters can find out if they are eligible through the State Board of Elections’ Voter Search tool. Simply type in your name to pull up your voter record, then scroll down to the “Your Sample Ballot” section. If you’re eligible, a link to your sample ballot will appear next to the election date – “05/14/2024 SECOND PRIMARY.” Absentee ballots are already being mailed to eligible voters who requested them. In-person early voting begins Thursday, April 25. For county-by-county early voting sites and schedules, see Early Voting Sites. Second primary Election Day is May 14.

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Avery Board of Commissioners Adopt Project Ordinance Resolution for Proposed New Parks and Recreation Complex

April 3, 2024 By a 3-2 vote, the Avery County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to establish and maintain a project ordinance for Phase I of the County’s proposed Parks and Recreation Complex Project during their regular monthly meeting April 1. The resolution is for appropriating $101,350.00 for Architect/Engineering fee for design of a proposed new  Avery County Parks and Recreation Complex with funding coming from the County’s fund balance. By Tim Gardner

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Superior Civil Court Lawsuit of Former Director of 911 Emergency Communications Against County of Avery Settled Out of Court

April 3, 2024 A lawsuit filed by a former employee against the County of Avery that had  a trial scheduled to begin on March 25 in Avery County Superior Civil Court has been settled out of court. James (Jamey) Johnson, a former Avery County Communications Department-911 Emergency Call Center Director filed the lawsuit, claiming Wrongful Discharge and a State of North Carolina Constitution Violation when he was fired by county officials. The Avery County Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting on Monday, March 18.  The purpose of the meeting was to go into Closed Session regarding Attorney/Client Privilege (North Carolina General Statue 143-318.11 (a) (3) and to take any action necessary in Open Session regarding a settlement in pending litigation and to take any action necessary on a budget amendment for any settlement agreement. By Tim Gardner

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Avery County Officially Opens New Department of Social Services Complex

March 27, 2024 The new headquarters of the Avery County Department of Social Services (DSS) was officially opened with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Friday, March 22. Four of the five Avery County Commissioners were present. Chairman and DSS Board of Directors member Tim Phillips welcomed the approximately 30 in attendance. Commission Vice-Chairman Dennis Aldridge offered the prayer and dedication of the new facility. By Tim Gardner

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The Town of Boone Adopts the Boone Community Climate Action Plan

March 26, 2024 On March 13th, 2024 the Boone Town Council adopted the Boone Community Climate Action Plan (Boone CCAP). This plan will guide the Town of Boone regarding climate initiatives for years to come. The following goals are laid out within the Boone CCAP for the Town of Boone’s elected officials, Town of Boone staff, and the community at large.

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Avery County Sheriff Mike Henley Graduated from the Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute and Earned a Diploma for the Achievement

March 20, 2024 This week, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association hosted sheriffs newly elected in November, 2022 for the fourth and final week of the Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute in Chapel Hill. Sheriffs from across the state including Avery County Sheriff Mike Henley attended. The Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute is held at the Rizzo Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Watauga Economic Development Commission to Hold March Meeting on Thursday, March 21 at the Jones House in Downtown Boone

March 19, 2024 The Watauga County Economic Development Commission will hold its next meeting Thursday, March 21, 2024, from 1pm-2:30pm at the Jones House Cultural Center, located at 604 West King Street in Downtown Boone . The meeting is open to the public. The meeting will include a pair of presentations regarding Boone Co-Working and the North Carolina Agricultural Manufacturing & Processing Initiative.

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