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No Repeal of HB2 in Special Session: Local Representatives Speak on the Matter

Dec. 22, 2016. North Carolina lawmakers failed to repeal HB2, otherwise known as the “bathroom bill,” which forces transgender people to use the gender-based bathroom listed on their birth certificate – along with preventing local governments from raising the minimum wage and eroding the right for employees to sue in state court for workplace discrimination. By Jesse Wood

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Lawmakers May Repeal HB2 in New Special Session, CPP Report

Dec. 19, 2016. Within minutes of a surprise move by the Charlotte City Council to repeal sections of its non-discrimination ordinance, Governor Pat McCrory and governor-elect Roy Cooper announced a special session for Tuesday to take up a full repeal of HB2, North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill.” By Kirk Ross / Carolina Public Press

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Dems: Surprise Legislative Proposals, GOP Power Grab Undermine Will of NC Voters


Dec. 15, 2016. Leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly last night called a surprise special session to introduce legislation that would make sweeping changes to the state’s Board of Elections, Court of Appeals, judicial elections, executive branch appointments and more. Lawmakers had earlier reconvened to allocate funding for victims of Hurricane Matthew and other natural disasters but gave no advance notice of the second special session and additional legislation.

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Ed Evans Selected As Blowing Rock’s Next Town Manager, First Day: Jan. 23

Dec. 14, 2016. Following a three-month-long nationwide search, the Blowing Rock Town Council has selected Ed Evans to serve as the Town of Blowing Rock’s next Town Manager; his first day with Blowing Rock will be Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Evans was chosen after a national search that yielded 48 applicants from 13 states including Washington, Kansas, and Texas.

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Blowing Rock Town Council To Meet Tuesday

Dec. 12, 2016. The Blowing Rock Town Council will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 1036 Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock for its regularly-scheduled meeting in December. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. See the entire agenda below. Compiled by Jesse Wood

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Gov. McCrory Concedes To Roy Cooper


Dec. 6, 2016. Nearly a month after the 2016 general election, Gov. Pat McCrory conceded to Governor-elect and current Attorney General Roy Cooper. Since Election Day, Cooper’s lead has grown by about double in the face of challenges from Republicans. McCrory released a video message on Monday, which is embedded at the top of this story. By Jesse Wood

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Elected Commissioners Sworn Into Office on Monday, Board Meets New County Attorney

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Dec. 5, 2016. Amidst a relatively light agenda on Monday morning, the elected commissioners for Watauga County were sworn-in by District Court Judge Hal Harrison. Incumbent Commissioners John Welch, a Democrat, and Perry Yates, a Republican, and newly-elected Commissioner Larry Turnbow, a Democrat, took the oath of office on Monday before settling into their seats on the board. By Jesse Wood

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The Election of a Lifetime: Local Author Nora Percival, 102, Hits the Polls for Early Voting

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Oct. 20, 2016. Participating in the electoral process is a civic duty that some take too lightly these days; but not Nora Percival. She recently celebrated her 102nd birthday and was more than excited to hit the polls for early voting Thursday, as she’s waited an entire lifetime to vote for a female presidential candidate. Percival, a local author and member of the High Country Writers organization, has written three memoirs on her own life experiences. As a Russian immigrant, the stories of her early life serve as a precious reminder that the civic duties in the United States are truly a blessing. By Emily Willis • Photo by Jesse Wood

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Watauga Commissioners To Meet on Tuesday

Sept. 5, 2016. Watauga County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 8:30 a.m. for its regular monthly meeting at the Administration Building on King Street. Compiled by Jesse Wood

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Fifth Annual North Carolina Bike Summit To Be Held in Asheville Sept. 16-17

Aug. 31, 2016. Cycling experts and advocates from throughout the Southeast will come together in Asheville at the Fifth Annual North Carolina Bike Summit on Sept. 16 and 17. Presented by BikeWalk NC in partnership with the N.C. Department of Transportation, this year’s event will focus on the economic benefits of investing in bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

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Federal Food and Shelter Program Awards More Than $21,500 for Aid in Watauga

Aug. 1, 2016. High Country United Way is pleased to announce Watauga County has been awarded $21,545 through the Emergency Food and Shelter National Program (EFSP), a Federal program administered by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to supplement and expand ongoing efforts to provide shelter, food and supportive services for the nation’s hungry, homeless and people in economic crisis.

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Home Ownership Month: North Carolina Offers Help to Citizens Facing Foreclosure

June 15, 2016. June is National Home Ownership Month, and while an increasing number of North Carolinians are celebrating by purchasing homes, families who are facing foreclosure have little to cheer. In 2015, there were 29,201 foreclosure filings statewide. But hope exists. The NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund, administered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency and funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund®, has resources to help North Carolina homeowners keep their homes while they recover from a temporary financial hardship.

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NC Court System Launches New Online Collections and Payments System

May 31, 2016 North Carolina citizens can now pay probation-related costs, fines and fees online using their credit / debit card with the launch of Online Collections and Payments (OCAP). Online payments are available 24/7 at onlineservices.NCcourts.org for supervised and unsupervised probationers with their case file number, the county that issued the charge, and a major credit card, including American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa cards.

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Art in the Park Returns to Blowing Rock May 7 for 54th Season with Exciting Changes

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April 28, 2016. Formerly held in the parking deck of the American Legion building, the events will now take place right along Park Avenue in downtown. This bigger, better venue will not only accommodate more guests, it will also allow attendants to park in the deck, alleviating some of the traffic. You can also hop right over to Memorial Park and unwind with free yoga sessions led by Art of Living Retreat Center. With the chamber’s office now right in the heart of the festivities, its spacious lawn will act as a hub for activity and will feature tastings from Art of Oil and local wineries and breweries. By Jessica Isaacs.

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McCrory: North Carolina Attracts Record Visitor Spending; Highlights Tourism Week

May 3, 2016 Governor Pat McCrory announced today that North Carolina tourism generated record visitor spending in 2015 with a total of $21.9 billion, a 2.7 percent increase over 2014 which outpaced the national average for growth last year of only 2.1 percent. Additionally, tourism industry-supported employment topped 211,000 jobs to set another record for the state.

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Boone Town Council Meets on Thursday

April 20, 2016. The Boone Town Council will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 1500 Blowing Rock Road. View the agenda items inside. By Jesse Wood

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N.C. Education Lottery: How Other Lotteries Raise Additional Monies for Good Causes

March 10, 2016. The N.C. Education Lottery provided an overview to a legislative committee today that highlighted ways other state lotteries raise additional monies for good causes. The presentation came at the request of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on the North Carolina State Lottery. The committee asked for information about games already offered elsewhere to learn more about possibilities for new games in North Carolina and changes that could help raise additional monies.

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Business Spotlight: Food is Love at Beth Zagst’s Ugga Mugga Bakery in Downtown Blowing Rock

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March 8, 2016. Just a quick flight of stairs down from Main Street and its upstairs neighbor, TazMaRaz Boutique, Ugga Mugga is tucked quietly into the hub of the village’s popular shopping district. The open space houses her fully-equipped commercial kitchen and a welcoming retail space, which features a colorful environment, the chef’s favorite tunes in the air and an elaborate display of fresh-baked goodies. By Jessica Isaacs.

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Trombone Strategy: Army Ground Forces Band’s Trombone Quartet to Perform March 22

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March 3, 2016. Trombone Strategy, the Army Ground Forces Band’s trombone quartet will perform Tuesday, March 22, at 8 p.m. in Broyhill Music Center’s Recital Hall at Appalachian State University. Admission is free. Following World War II, the name of the Fourth Infantry Regiment Band was changed to its current title, the 214th Army Band. In 1985, Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh Jr. conferred upon the unit the distinctive designation The Army Ground Forces Band. Since that time, the band has served as the musical ambassador of the American combat soldier, serving as an outreach asset for the United States Army Forces Command, headquartered at Fort Bragg.

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Gov. McCrory Visits Sugar Mountain Resort and American Emergency Vehicles in Ashe

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Gov. Pat McCrory visited the High Country over the weekend. He skied at Sugar Mountain Resort in a Carolina Panthers jersey and dressed up a little bit more for a visit to the American Emergency Vehicles factory in West Jefferson. McCrory is familiar with Sugar Mountain and West Jefferson. In November, McCory visited Sugar Mountain Resort to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Summit Express and praise the resort’s $5 million investment in the chairlift operation. Earlier in the summer, McCrory applauded GE Aviation for its West Jefferson expansion. By Jesse Wood

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