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Watauga County Candidate Filing Ends for 2020 Election Season; Primary Set For March 3


December 20, 2019. A pair of last-minute filers made it to the Watauga County Board of Elections by the noon deadline today to file for the 2020 elections. Turner Doolittle has decided to challenge N.C. Representative Ray Russell in the Democratic primary while republican Bart Keller will challenge incumbent Charlie Wallin for the Watauga County Board of Commissioners District 5 seat. Now that candidate registration is over, voters can turn their attention towards choosing the candidate that they see as the best fit for the position. March 3, 2020, is the date for the North Carolina Primary, however, there are numerous one-stop early voting dates before the actual primary date. Early voting begins on Thursday, February 13 and will conclude on Saturday, February 29. The voting hours will be from 8 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 29. That is the only Saturday that early voting will be happening.  By Nathan Ham

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Lynne Mason and Marshall Ashcraft Bid Farewell to the Boone Town Council


December 18, 2019. Two town council members chose not to seek re-election during last month’s election period. Lynne Mason and Marshall Ashcraft both decided to step away from their council responsibilities to pursue other endeavors. Mason had been on the town council for five terms that spanned across 18 years. Ashcraft won a seat on the board in 2017 after retiring from his role as the Public Information Director for Watauga County Schools. Both departing council members were presented with plaques for their service to the town and resolutions of appreciation from Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz. In a previous interview with the High Country Press, Mason said that she is looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and still remaining an active member in the community. Mason spoke to the remaining board members as well as the large crowd in attendance that included some of her family. By Nathan Ham

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Loretta Clawson and Dustin Hicks Sworn In at Boone Town Council Meeting


December 18, 2019. Loretta Clawson was re-elected for a seventh term as a Boone Town Councilmember and Dustin Hicks is embarking on their first term as a member of the council. Both were sworn in during Tuesday evening’s meeting. Following the county canvas and official tallying of votes, Hicks ended up with the highest vote total during November’s election with 891, followed by Clawson with 880 and Nancy LaPlaca with 863. LaPlaca had a previously scheduled trip out of town and will be sworn in at a later date. Virginia Roseman, who appeared to be an unofficial winner of one town council seat, ended up losing the race and falling to fourth after the official votes were counted. She ended up with 848 votes. Clawson was sworn in on a copy of the Bible while Hicks took a different approach and decided to be sworn in on a piece of custom artwork. Both will serve a four-year term on the Boone Town Council.  By Nathan Ham

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Watauga County Candidate Filing Closes Friday at Noon

December 16, 2019. This week is the final week to put your name on the ballot for the 2020 election season. Candidate filing closes Friday, December 20 at noon for anyone choosing to run in the 2020 Elections. Candidates for the North Carolina Senate; North Carolina House of Representatives; County Commissioner Districts 1, 2, and 5; Register of Deeds; or the Board of Education file for office at the Watauga County Board of Elections, 842 West King Street in Boone. All candidates for Judicial, Council of State, or Federal Offices file at the North Carolina Board of Elections, 430 North Salisbury Street in Raleigh.

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Election Security Forum Happening at Appalachian State on November 1

October 31, 2019. A special forum will be taking place on Friday that will include information sharing and discussion about the worrisome issue of election security, particularly in North Carolina. The forum will take place from 3-5 p.m. at the Gordon Gathering Hall inside the Reich College of Education Building, located at 151 College Street. The event is co-sponsored by Appalachian State’s Department of Computer Science and the Department of Government and Justice Studies. 99 percent of the votes tallied across the country will be done either on computers or by using the paper ballot-scanning machines, meaning that making sure these computer systems are modern and secure. According to information provided by Dr. Ray Russell, who will moderate the forum, the federal government recently allocated $250 million to make these systems secure. There will be three speakers at the forum who have a vast amount of knowledge of the subject of elections and election security. By Nathan Ham

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Supreme Court Makes Minor State Election Districts Changes; No Mountain Counties Affected

Feb. 21, 2018.    United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts ruled last week that the state’s election districts will remain basically the same, according to Republican State Representative Josh Dobson, who serves the 85th District of Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties. North Carolina’s GOP lawmakers had requested an official Supreme Court stay concerning changing the districts for this year’s state elections, asking that the districts not undergo any changes. Chief Justice Roberts did change districts affecting primarily the Piedmont county of Guilford and the Eastern counties of Bladen and Wayne, all of which are heavily-populated. But the Chief Justice left the remainder of the state’s districts intact. No mountain counties were affected with the ruling. However, the state’s prosecutorial district that includes Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, Yancey and Madison counties changed in number from the 24th to the 35th. Dobson declared the latest Supreme Court ruling “A victory for our state.” By Tim Gardner

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Today’s Email Announcements

What’s going on in your community? Here’s a brief update on the emails we received today. Check back each day for an updated list of events going on in the area. As always, please feel free to email us about your event or update.

  • Town of Boone Town Council Meeting, 12/21
  • State Parks Offer First Day Hikes on New Years Day, 1/1
  • Beech Mountain Resort Holiday Events, 12/16-12/31

Compiled by Kate Herman

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Gov. Cooper: Centers Open to Help Storm Survivors in Mountain Communities

Nov. 28, 2017. Governor Roy Cooper today announced that Disaster Recovery Centers will open this week to help Caldwell and Wilkes county residents who were affected by storms that struck in late October. The two centers join the already announced Disaster Loan Outreach Center that opens today in Watauga County to provide financial assistance to storm survivors.

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Sept 16 Boone Clean-Up Day will Kickoff the Statewide Litter Sweep

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July. 26, 2017. The High Country is known for caring about the environment through sustainability, recycling, and removing waste. As a community, the Town of Boone Public Works Center invites all to participate in the Boone Clean-Up Day, which will be held on September 16. Volunteers may come by the Town of Boone Public Works Center from 8:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m., if they would like an assigned location to clean. The assigned locations will be inside the town city limits. Gloves and bags will be provided, along with a free curbside trash pickup. By Kate Herman – Photos by Town of Boone Public Works Center

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New Redistricting Maps for NC House, Senate Proposed, If Passed District 45 Would Be Altered


Aug. 24, 2017. N.C. legislators held seven public hearings across North Carolina this week on the proposed district maps for the state House and Senate that are being redrawn after a federal court found unconstitutional racial gerrymandering. Two maps – one each for the state House and Senate – are proposed. The courts imposed a Sept. 1 deadline for the adoption of new state House and Senate district maps. In coverage of the hearings, WRAL notes that tentative votes on the proposals are scheduled for Friday and Monday. By Jesse Wood

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Boone Town Council To Hold Public Hearing on Proposed 17-18 Budget on Thursday, June 15

June 15, 2017. Before adopting the fiscal year 2017-18 budget, the Boone Town Council will hold a public hearing at its monthly meeting on Thursday, June 15. Earlier this week, the Boone Town Council increased the proposed budget by nearly $200,000 to fund the Appalachian Theatre restoration project, Southern Appalachian Historical Association and a police officer position and one patrol car. By Jesse Wood

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Blowing Rock To Hold June 13 Public Hearing on Proposed Budget, Tax Increases

June 8, 2017. The Blowing Rock Town Council will hold a public hearing before adopting the fiscal-year 2017-18 budget on Tuesday, June 13. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and takes place at Town Hall on Main Street. The recommended budget, which includes a proposed increase on taxes and water and utility rates, remains the same after the Blowing Rock Town Council met for budget retreats and workshops, according to Town Manager Ed Evans. By Jesse Wood

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Democrats Approve Budget, Tax Increase for School Infrastructure, Rec Center in Watauga

June 6, 2017. In a 3-2 vote on Tuesday morning, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners approved the fiscal-year 2017-18 budget that includes a 4-cent tax increase on property owners to fund Watauga County Schools infrastructure and a community rec center. Democrats on the commission – John Welch, Billy Kennedy and Larry Turnbow – voted in favor of the budget, while Republicans Jimmy Hodges and Perry Yates voted against the budget, specifically citing the property tax increase. By Jesse Wood

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Blowing Rock Town Council To Meet Tuesday

March 13, 2017. The Blowing Rock Town Council will meet Tuesday, March 14, at Town Hall, located at 1036 Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Check out the agenda and packet information inside.

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Planning Board Makes Recommendations To Amend Ordinance to Regulate High Impact Land Uses

Feb. 15, 2017. Last night, The Watauga County Planning Board met for the second and final time to propose potential amendments to the county’s Ordinance to Regulate High Impact Land Uses. The commissioners directed the planning board to revisit the ordinance after the N.C. Supreme Court upheld a North Carolina law abolishing the Town of Boone’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). By Jesse Wood

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