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COVID-19 Update: Town of Boone Modifies Mask Ordinance for Businesses that Offer Indoor Fitness and Exercising

September 17, 2021. The Town of Boone issued a modification to its mask ordinance on September 17 that allows for people inside local gyms, fitness centers and the recreation complex to not have to wear a mask while working out. The amendment to the town’s ordinance states that individuals do not have to wear a mask if they are maintaining 10 feet of social distance from all participants at all times or can provide proof of vaccination and maintain six feet of social distance from all other participants. Face coverings will still be required in areas such as lobbies, hallways and any areas where people are not actively engaged in athletic or physical activities. Active COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the High Country. As of Friday morning, there were 129 active cases in Watauga County with 120 people in quarantine. Ashe County reported 85 active cases with 133 people in quarantine and Alleghany County reported 75 active cases with 77 people in quarantine.  By Nathan Ham

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Speakers at COVID-19 Care Vigil at Watauga Medical Center Thursday Morning Encourage Everyone to Get Vaccinated

September 2, 2021. Hospital doctors, nurses and staff members gathered outside of Watauga Medical Center on Thursday morning to speak to community members about the dire conditions that exist for COVID-19 patients and encourage everyone to get vaccinated to fight this terrible virus. The care vigil was also live-streamed on Facebook for those that could not be there or want to watch at a later time. Speakers at the event included Dr. Lisa Kaufmann (Inpatient Physician Group), Dr. Kevin Wolfe (Pulmonologist), Dr. Beverly Womack (AppFamily Medicine), Dr. Jennifer Nelson (Emergency Department), Jimmy Phillips (Respiratory Therapist), Amy Hempfling (Nurse Leader) and Melanie Childers (Spiritual Care). Speakers talked about not only the struggles that patients go through dealing with the illness but also how hard it is on them personally to witness people having such a hard time battling COVID-19.   By Nathan Ham

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Virtual Town Hall on Building Healthier Rural Communities to Feature ARHS President/CEO Chuck Mantooth

August 25, 2021. A special virtual town hall on Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m. will include Chuck Mantooth, the President and CEO of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. The topic of discussion will be what it takes to build healthier rural communities. Featured guests alongside Mantooth will be Dr. Jonathan Snyder, the Chief Medical Officer at Chatham Memorial Hospital in Elkin, Dr. Roxie Wells, President of Cape Fear Valley Hoke Healthcare, and Brandy Bynum Dawson, Senior Director of Policy & Advocacy at the NC Rural Center. The town hall will be moderated by Dr. Nisha Mehta, a physician, speaker and writer from Charlotte. The town hall, hosted by the North Carolina Healthcare Association, will allow listeners to learn about some of the challenges rural hospitals face and the opportunities ahead to continue improving rural healthcare.  By Nathan Ham

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Active COVID-19 Cases Climbing in Watauga County; AppHealthCare and Appalachian State University Urge People to Get Vaccinated

July 21, 2021. After dropping all the way down to zero active COVID-19 cases in Watauga County, positive cases are showing up once again with 18 active cases currently in the county as of today. There are 18 others being actively monitored in the county. Ashe County currently has eight active cases with six others being monitored and Alleghany has two active cases with one other person being monitored. AppHealthCare is encouraging anyone that hasn’t been vaccinated yet to schedule an appointment. They are offering the vaccine at any of their three health care clinics in Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties. To schedule an appointment in Alleghany County, call 336-372-5641. To schedule an appointment in Ashe County, call 336-246-9449 or to schedule an appointment in Watauga County call 828-264-4995. You can also choose to drop by for a walk-in appointment from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the three clinic locations. There may be a wait time for walk-in patients. By Nathan Ham

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AppHealthCare COVID-19 Update: Nearly Half of Watauga County Residents are Fully Vaccinated

June 11, 2021 Many things come to mind when the names Bonnie and Jamie Schaefer are spoken – savvy business acumen, dedication to their faith community, as well as support for the arts, women’s causes, animal welfare, higher education and more. Especially in the High Country, the Schaefer family name evokes gratitude for the incredible philanthropy, support and wisdom they give to their community. The Schaefers have been great friends to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) throughout the years. They both recently experienced significant health challenges and turned to ARHS to walk with them through their journey of healing.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month; Help is a Phone Call Away

May 24, 2021 One in four American adults are affected by a mental illness each year (source), yet only about half of those people are treated for it. Significant barriers include shortage of mental health (also called behavioral health) professionals and access to care. Other obstacles include fear of embarrassment, affordability, lack of transportation, and apathy (source). Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working to mitigate the shortage of resources with the opening of a free-standing 27-bed psychiatric hospital in the fall of 2021. The Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health Hospital will accept adults ages 18-64 by referral or walk-in. The Appalachian Regional Behavioral Health (ARBH) team of therapists and providers offer multiple resources for treating mild to severe mental health disorders in the High Country.

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App State, Samaritan’s Purse Have Traveling Protocol in Place to Prevent Bringing Coronavirus to the High Country

February 28, 2020 People probably wouldn’t think about small towns such as Boone when it comes to the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus entering the community. However, with Appalachian State University offering an exchange program to Wenzhou University in China and the numerous natural disasters that Samaritan’s Purse travels to supplying aid and comfort, it suddenly becomes something that will cross your mind. Both App State and Samaritan’s Purse have been well ahead of the curve in avoiding international contact in locations where the Coronavirus has been spreading. “We suspended study abroad programs in China earlier this semester and the students who came back to the U.S. have been here for several weeks. While the Appalachian Community currently faces very little risk, compassion is key as many people on our campus and beyond have loved ones in areas of far greater concern,” said Megan Hayes, Associate Vice-Chancellor and Chief Communications Officer at Appalachian State.   By Nathan Ham

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Flu On the Rise in NC; App Regional Healthcare System Limiting Visitations

February 8, 2019 As we near the peak of the 2018-19 flu season, the NC Department of Health and Human Services confirmed this week that flu is becoming more widespread throughout the state, and our local healthcare system is limiting visitors. According to the NC DHHS, six influenza-associated deaths were reported during the week ending Feb. 2, bringing the total number of influenza-associated deaths reported so far this season to 35. This does not represent all flu-associated deaths in the state, since many go undiagnosed or unreported. Although vaccination early in the season is preferred, it is never too late to get vaccinated and help protect yourself and others from the spread of this dangerous, sometimes deadly virus. By Sherrie Norris

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Watauga Medical Center Earns 4-Star Rating for Quality

https://www.hcpress.com/banner-elk/watauga-medical-center-earns-4-star-rating-quality.html
Jan. 8, 2018. Watauga Medical Center recently received an above average 4-star rating for its quality of patient care services from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) scores more than 4,000 hospitals across the country using a Hospital Compare rating system ranging from 1 to 5 stars (5 being the best). The CMS ratings are publically available on the Hospital Compare website and are intended to help consumers more easily decide between hospitals in their area.

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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.

  • Organic Growers School Free Apprenticeship List for WNC
  • Weekly Events at Lost Province Brewing Company, 1/10- 1/20
  • Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center: Share the Health Fair to Offer Free Screenings and Other Services,  1/13
  • 21st Annual Unity Service at Mabel United Methodist Church,  1/15
  • Opiois Forum Focuses On Employer Role, 1/16
  • BoBfest: Regional Gathering of Amatuer Astronomers, 2/3

Compiled by Kate Herman

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The Williams YMCA of Avery County is a High Country Sports and Fitness Activities Jewel


Jan. 5, 2018. Something for everyone. Perhaps no other term better personifies the many programs offered at the Williams YMCA of Avery County for people of all ages and any physical fitness level. Since its opening in 2007, the Williams YMCA of Avery County truly has fulfilled its mission statement of: Putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind and body for all. 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.

  • Special Olympics Annual Partnership with Boone Police and Publix, 1/13 and 1/20
  • Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center: Share the Health Fair to Offer Free Screenings and Other Services,  1/13 and 1/18
  • Students Should Take FAFSA Verification Process Seriously
  • Meeting Notice for the North Carolina Native Plant Society-Blue Ridge Chapter
  • Town Council Planning Retreat, 1/25
  • The Town of Boone Historic Preservation Commission Meeting, 1/9

Compiled by Kate Herman

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October 28 High Country Walk/Run for Breast Cancer

https://www.hcpress.com/asu-news/october-28-high-country-walkrun-breast-cancer.html
July. 26, 2017. October is known for being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On October 28, at 9:00 a.m., the High Country Breast Cancer Foundation will host its first inaugural High Country Run/Walk  for Breast Cancer.  The event is in coordination with the Blowing Rock Fall Festival.  The money raised will go towards scholarships for men and women in the community who are fighting breast cancer. By Kate Herman – Photos by Irene Sawyer

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SATURDAY: A Cause to Rock Charity Show Raises Funds for Student-Athlete Darryl Gaines at The Local

https://www.hcpress.com/?p=160297&preview=true
July 21, 2017. For many, a daylong, 13-act concert is all it takes to wipe the calendar clean for a Saturday afternoon and evening. Luckily for music lovers of the High Country, The Local’s Saturday, July 22 show will be much more than that. Boone native and musician Brian Russell Collins will host his yearly charity event A Cause to Rock at the downtown Boone venue to help raise money for Winston-Salem’s Darryl Gaines, a North Forsyth High School student-athlete and recent graduate diagnosed with stage III lymphoma. Collins founded A Cause to Rock in 2015, focusing the first annual event on raising money for Wilmington community members with autism and their families. By Bailey Faulkner

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De La Cruz Farms to Hold Third Annual Fundraising Event in Deep Gap May 20

https://www.hcpress.com/?p=158025&preview=true
May 9, 2017. Since welcoming its first participants in September 2014, de la Cruz Farms has opened its gates to nearly 200 individuals for what has been life-changing experiences for most. Providing a variety of positive, interactive (farm) experiences for children and families who are dealing with difficult life circumstances and/or challenging needs, the nonprofit organization is located in the heart of the Deep Gap community, owned and operated by Jeff and Bencita Brooks. Photos Courtesy of Bencita Brooks

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A Potter’s Story: Artisan Caron Baker Wike Comes to the Mountaintop for Healing

https://www.hcpress.com/?p=158019&preview=true
May 9, 2017. Can you recall what first attracted you to the mountains of North Carolina? For generations, community staples like Appalachian State University, Grandfather Mountain and Tweetsie Railroad have welcomed visitors in search of education, adventure, family entertainment and nowadays healing. Thanks to The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s new post-acute care center in Blowing Rock, NC visitors have started planning what is referred to as “Medical Tourism” trips to the High Country. Caron Baker Wike is one such visitor. Photo Courtesy of the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

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Chetola’s Corkscrew & Brew 5K Adds Craft Beer, Tweaks Name and Supports a Local Child in Need

https://www.hcpress.com/?p=157385&preview=true
April 18, 2017. Combine your love of wine, craft brews and running in the name of a great charity. To date, more than 140 participants have already signed up for Chetola Resort’s Corkscrew & Brew 5K (formerly known as the Corkscrew 5K), which returns for its 5th year, Saturday, April 22 at 9 a.m., bringing craft beer to the race tables courtesy of the award-winning Boone-based Appalachian Mountain Brewery.

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Plan to Eat at F.A.R.M. Café on Jan. 25 When Boone Drug Will Be There to ‘Buy Boone Lunch’

https://www.hcpress.com/?p=39556
Jan. 12, 2017. On Wednesday January 25 between 11am and 2pm everyone is welcome to F.A.R.M (Feed All Regardless of Means) Café at 617 West King Street for another ‘Buy Boone Lunch’ day. Boone Dug is the second company to participate in this opportunity. Just like each day at F.A.R.M Café guests can donate what they are able to for a great lunch. On this day, Boone Drug will cover the cost of the meal through a generous donation. Each and every additional donation will be utilized by the café in its mission to fight insecurity in the High Country.

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