May 4, 2023 Letters to the Editor. By Joseph Bogdahn / Given the serious issues throughout the town with our crumbling water lines (as reported at the winter retreat) I do not believe the citizens of the town can shoulder the cost of the vanity project to underground the power lines downtown.
March 20, 2023 Letters to the Editor. By Sarah Davis / My family has lived in Watauga County for generations, and I have been a full-time resident since 2018. I have recently become more involved with community work through Down Home NC and the Watauga Housing Council. Through this work, I have noticed that the public comment for the County Commission is held near the end of the meeting, after the vote.
February 15, 2023 Letters to the Editor. By David Rogers / Dear Editor, Balancing priorities is a good part of your job as a county commissioner. I respect the fact that you answer to many different constituent interests and the challenges that brings, but today I address you as a Watauga County taxpayer about an urgent, even life-threatening issue. A key message: Life happens throughout Watauga County, not just in the largest town.
December 19, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By Christopher Taylor / Dear Editor, I write to bring to your attention a practice by Skyline/Skybest which I believe is morally wrong and financially disadvantages members/former Members (customers). I suspect that there will be a number of other folks who are similarly impacted.
January 25, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By Casey Goodwin – Samaritan’s Purse / Dear Editor, I am writing to thank Boone-area residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season. Generosity throughout contributed to a successful shoebox gift collection season at drop-off locations for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child. Across the U.S., the project collected over 9.3 million shoebox gifts in 2022. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2022, the ministry is now sending nearly 10.6 million shoebox gifts to children worldwide.
December 19, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By Greg King / Dear Editor, On October 16,2020 The Watauga Democrat printed…’This week in the Archives: “Blowing Rock Residents Gripe About Ambulance Service” read a headline in the Oct. 5, 1978, Watauga Democrat.” None of us need to be convinced that heart attacks are serious. And they can be deadly. Most of us know age is a significant factor in heart attacks. But just for the record, here are a few chilling statements after scrolling through the medical information on the internet…
November 5, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By JASMINE SHOSHANNA / Dear Editor, Do you ever feel like you are being played? Politically and socially that is, as if the real agenda is to divide us and keep us fighting. My daily life is very different than how the media portrays life. I work, as most of us do with all kinds of people all belief systems and we all do just fine. A number of community members from different political backgrounds in Watauga County had that realization too, and “Watauga United” was born.
October 25, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By TERRY OLDHAM / An update on my prior letter to HCP and the question of whether Critical Race Theory and/or “woke political indoctrination” is or is not being taught in K-12 schools nationally or in the Watauga Public Schools. Many people contend that Critical Race Theory (CRT) is not actually being taught in K-12 schools nationally. But a national survey study conducted by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, published in the City Journal, strongly suggests otherwise. Clear majorities of those very young student respondents said that K-12 teachers, and school officials / adults had informed them about several of the concepts of CRT, such as “there are many genders”, “Gender identity is a choice regardless of biological sex”, “America is a systemically racist country”, “white people have white privilege”, and “Discrimination is the main reason for differences in wealth between races or genders”. The study authors, Zachary Goldberg and Eric Kaufmann, conclude that the major concepts of CRT clearly are being taught on a widespread basis in K-12 schools nationally
September 21, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By TERRY OLDHAM / I attended the September Watauga Board of Education (BOE) meeting on September 12th & had the privilege of meeting Mark Murphy, whose article in the High-Country Press (HCP) spurred my own letter to the HCP Editor. Mark is a wealth of information! Based upon my own research & talking to Mark, here is an update to my last writing…
September 9, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By TERRY OLDHAM / After reading Jay Fenwick’s response to Mark Murphy, I remained curious with regards to his endorsement of Newsela, the teaching supplement purchased by the Watauga Board of Education. I was neither for nor against Newsela and expected in advance to find both positive and negative aspects. Here’s what I found…
September 9, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY MARK A. MURPHY PhD, JD / In my prior Letters to the Editor of the High Country Press (on August 10, 22, and 30th) I raised very serious and specific concerns, and supporting factual information, about the “woke political indoctrination” and associated “woke” teaching methods that have occurred and are still occurring in the Watauga Public Schools. In my August 30 letter, I stated my intent to formally submit a request to the Watauga Board of Education for an Agenda item for their September 12, 2022 meeting. I did formally submit a request for a 10-minute Agenda item at that meeting, to discuss the factual evidence I have collected that supports my concerns.
August 30, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY MARK A MURPHY PhD, JD / In two prior Letters to the Editor of High Country Press (on August 10 and August 22), I raised serious and specific concerns about the “woke” educational materials and methods currently being used in the Watauga County Schools. I described many specific facts to support my specific concerns, but I neither named or criticized anyone personally.
August 22, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY CEO DOUG JOHNSON / As a valued community leader and part of our CLC, I wanted to make you aware of an announcement we are making late this week. After doing everything possible to mitigate rising costs, a cost-of-service study shows that we will need to implement an overall 3.5 percent rate adjustment, effective with October bills. This is the first time in nearly a decade we have needed a rate adjustment. While we are gratified this is well below the national average increase of over 6 percent by other utilities, it is never easy to pass along an increase to our members. This is especially tough when costs are rising across every sector and affecting all households and businesses.
August 22, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY Mark A. Murphy PhD, JD / The Pandemic lockdowns and masking caused physical and emotional harm to everyone, including Watauga County School students. During the Pandemic, the NC State Board of Education, NC Department of Public Instruction, and Watauga County Board of Education quietly initiated new training programs to support “woke” teaching methods and materials based on “Social Emotional Learning” (“SEL”). The parents of Watauga County K-12 students need to understand “woke” indoctrination is being administered under the guise of Pandemic recovery.
August 22, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY JAY FENWICK / I am compelled to respond to Dr. Mark Murphy’s letter published in the High Country Press on Aug 10, 2022. I am a member of the Watauga Board of Education, but this is my personal response; I do not speak on behalf of the board.
August 10, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY Mark A. Murphy PhD, JD / During the pandemic, “Woke Political Indoctrination” and/or the concepts of Critical Race Theory and Identity Politics crept into the educational materials used by some of the teachers in the Watauga County Schools. This occurred with the financial support and approval of both the North Carolina state government and Watauga County Board of Education.
July 23, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY JON T. COFFIN / This firm represents Blowing Rock Civic Association (hereinafter “BRCA”). This letter is in response to a letter from Joseph A. Amoroso entitled “Blowing Rock Civic Association Pretends to Have Your Interest at Heart,” recently posted in the High Country Press.
July 15, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY JOE AMOROSO / In April 2020 The Blowing Rock Civic Association (BRCA) publicly stated their position to drop the 14 day quarantine in Watauga County for seasonal residents. It was early in the pandemic that ultimately killed millions and much was yet to be learned. But, those facts didn’t matter to BRCA because they weren’t convenient for their members’ desire to leave the city and reside at their mountain property; So much for what’s good for the local full-time residents.
July 15, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY THE BLOWING ROCK TOWN COUNCIL / Dear Friends and Neighbors of Blowing Rock: The Blowing Rock Town Council wants the citizens, business owners, and visitors to know they have a VOICE in Blowing Rock. We, as Town Council Members are always ready, willing, and able to work with all citizens, business owners, and visitors in the Town. We, as Town Council Members, are public servants always open to conversations and dialogue with regards to Town related issues, and we value working with you to make the Town of Blowing Rock better.
May 5, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY CARRINGTON PERTALION / To the Citizens of the Town of Boone and Watauga County: I would like to share my thoughts and clarify some confusion that may have arisen regarding the County’s project to build a parking deck on property that was known as the Hardin/Turner House, located on Rivers Street in Downtown Boone, across from the County’s Administrative Buildings. To start, I have always been very supportive of any efforts that individuals and the Town have put forth through the years to preserve historical properties. The best examples of those efforts were the purchase of the Post Office and the Appalachian Theatre. If anyone were to believe that I or the County does not see value in preserving historical buildings, such beliefs would be based on misunderstandings and misinformation. All of the facts stated below are contained in the public record.
May 2, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY DALTON GEORGE / Dear Editor, Recently, Boone’s Starbucks became the first Starbucks in the state of North Carolina to unionize. An excellent piece of news and one that fits into Appalachia’s long legacy of labor movements, it’s fitting for Boone to lead the way in this effort. While you’d expect support from the working class of our community, you may be surprised. I skimmed some comments on some of the most circulated articles about the news and was a bit disheartened by some of what I saw. Obviously, I could talk about Appalachia’s bloody fights for labor, coal miners, cotton mills, lumbering, and the like, but that’s a history lesson that most should be familiar with but obviously aren’t.
April 28, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY ERIC PLAAG / Dear Commissioner Pertalion, I don’t know you personally—in fact, I don’t think we have ever spoken directly to one another—but you sure did take a cavalier and dishonest approach to talking about me and one particular issue in your recent answers to the Pam’s Picks Questionnaire for the upcoming Democratic primary. One of the questions you were asked was, “Do you support or oppose the County’s decision to demolish the downtown Turner House without holding a public hearing?” This was your answer: “representative present from the Historical Society. There was an open offer to sell the house for $1 and pay to move the house. There was no interest in this option. In 2020, the Board of Commissioners needed to move forward on the parking needs for public access to County Buildings and the Courthouse. Based on the public’s response, the Board made its decision.”
March 21, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY TIM GUPTON / Dear Watauga County Commissioners , The homeowners and taxpayers ask that you take action to add a 24/7 transport ambulance for Blowing Rock and the Blowing Rock Fire District in your FY23 Budget. The County’s current system does not meet the “90/9”national standard of providing coverage to 90% of residents within 9 minutes. The facts are clear. The recent annual report from Watauga Medics clearly documents the deficiency of the system.
March 31, 2022 Letters to the Editor. By Emily Diznoff – Sadly, the U.S. Forest Service just released a 30-year plan that will quadruple logging in Pisgah while reducing protections for its most important recreation and conservation areas.
March 21, 2022 Letters to the Editor. BY RIVER HARLAN / Forest while reducing protections for clean water, scenic vistas, and popular trails. And I am incredibly inspired by the 14,000 organizations and individuals who are objecting to the plan.