• Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 15 – March 21

    March 24, 2021. Looking to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Want to keep an eye on criminal activity in your area? Take a look at these recent incident and arrest reports from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department. Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • Valle Crucis, Parkway Teams Win Battle of the Books Competition


    March 24, 2021. For the first time in an online format, Watauga County School’s best readers met earlier this month to test their skills at the district-wide Battle of the Books competition. Valle Crucis took home the win in the elementary contest, while Parkway edged out the competition at the middle school event. Parkway’s team was coached by School Librarian Owen Gray and Jess Palmer. The Valle Crucis group was led by Valle Crucis librarian Jane Brown. A long-standing tradition in Watauga County Schools, each year Battle of the Books tasks teams from each school in the district to a competition that tests students ability to recall specific details and answer questions on books from a state promoted list they’ve read over the past year. Each team plays every other team once in the competition and each round consists of 12 questions — six posed to each team.  / Read more…



  • Apple Hill Farm Named Runner-Up for NC A&T Cooperative Extension Small Farm of the Year


    March 24, 2021. Apple Hill Farm, located in Banner Elk, was one of two finalists for the 2021 N.C. Small Farmer of the Year, a recognition awarded annually by Cooperative Extension at North Carolina A&T State University as part of Small Farms Week. Apple Hill Farm finished runner-up behind winner MAE Farm in Franklin County. The Small Farmer of the Year Award was presented during a virtual ceremony on March 24. The ceremony also honored finalist Lee Rankin, the owner of Apple Hill Farm. Rankin’s mountaintop farm breeds and sells alpacas, angora goats and Great Pyrenees dogs for livestock guardians. Apple Hill Farm also offers a year-round store selling socks, scarves, gloves, and yarn made from alpaca fiber and mohair from the angora goats as well as honey, eggs, jams and jellies, and local crafts. The farm has been in operation since 2003 and has participated in agritourism and educational activities for more than 15 years.   / Read more…



  • CCC&TI, Boone Chamber Celebrate New Student Services Center with Ribbon Cutting on Monday


    March 24, 2021. Though the building has been open and in use for more than a year, the general public got its first chance Monday to tour the new Student Services Center on the Watauga Campus of Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute.  In partnership with the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, CCC&TI hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a “virtual tour” of the 15,000-square-foot, $5.3 million facility, which was streamed live on the Chamber’s Facebook page. Two previous attempts to host an event celebrating the new building, which opened to students in January 2020, were canceled due to winter weather and the COVID-19 pandemic.  / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Easter Is Just Around The Corner


    March 24, 2021. The calendar indicates that we are just about 10 days away from Easter — and I’m asking how did this happen so soon? Just as fresh air, blue skies and blooming flowers are sure signs of Spring, so is the celebration of Easter. Always falling on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, Easter arrives on April 4 this year. I’m guessing more families than last year will plan on sharing a meal together. We can’t throw caution to the wind, however, and hope that everyone continues to take precautions in an effort to slow the transmission of the corona virus. While many of us have completed our vaccine regime, or are in the midst of it, there are still those individuals who are vulnerable and deserve our respect. For Christians the world over, Easter is the most glorious day of all as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And many of us see the timing of this celebration as no coincidence.  Consider the fact that around the date of its observance, so much of nature that has been dormant for a while, returns to life once again. History tells us that Easter is the oldest of all Christian celebrations and that several dishes traditionally served at Easter have a deep-rooted heritage.  From lamb to hot cross buns and yes, even to the Easter egg, there exists some ancient significance to modern-day dining rituals. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Gov. Cooper Announces North Carolina Will Relax Some COVID-19 Restrictions; Restaurants Indoors Up to 75%, Retail Businesses 100%, Bars to 50%

    March 23, 2021 As North Carolina’s trends continue to show improvement and vaccine distribution increases with 31.7% of North Carolinians over 18 having received at least one dose of vaccine, Governor Roy Cooper announced today that the state will continue to ease some COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order No. 204 will take effect March 26 at 5 pm is set to expire April 30 at 5 pm. The state’s general mask mandate remains in effect. “Our fast and fair vaccine distribution and our sustained progress with the COVID-19 metrics tell us we can move forward with easing restrictions if we do it safely,” said Governor Cooper. “We are in a promising place. With North Carolina’s COVID-19 key metrics improving and vaccinations increasing, we can responsibly use our dimmer switch approach to easing restrictions guided by science and data,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D.  / Read more…



  • 680 Mountaineers and Local Community Members Receive COVID Vaccine at App State’s 1st Vaccine Clinic March 11 and 12th at Holmes Center


    March 23, 2021. Appalachian State University hosted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic March 11–12 at the Holmes Convocation Center, where the university’s M.S. Shook Student Health Service staff and Department of Nursing students administered 680 doses of the vaccine over the two-day period. “The opening of our COVID-19 vaccine center is a momentous occasion in the history of our university and represents a critical step forward in returning to primarily in-person working and learning environments,” said App State Chancellor Sheri Everts. “I am tremendously relieved and grateful to the enormous number of people who have worked so hard to make this happen.” App State was approved to be a community vaccination distribution center by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). / Read more…



  • Saturday’s Clean Sweep in Avery County A Rousing Success; 325 Volunteers Collected 80 Cubic Yards of Trash, Including a 1950’s Chevrolet Bel Air Car


    March 22, 2021. “I knew our ‘Clean Sweep’ would be go well as we had many wonderful coordinators and volunteers, but it even far exceeded my expectations for success. And as a result, our beautiful county is even more gorgeous.” That’s how Jesse Pope, President and Executive Director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, who directed the Avery County Clean Sweep, summed up how successful the massive roadside litter removal effort in the 568-square mile county went. Pope said that more than 325 volunteers contributed to collecting 80-plus cubic yards of trash. He estimated that total included more than 1,400 large, lawn and leaf bags filled to their brims of collected trash. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Dr. Blake Brown of Boone Receives North Carolina’s Excellence in Agriculture Award


    March 22, 2021. Dr. Blake Brown of Boone was one of two industry leaders honored at the 16th Annual  Breakfast with the Commissioner event on  Friday, March 5, in Raleigh. Susan Weaver Ford said it was an honor, along with Troxler, the museum and event sponsors, to acknowledge Brown as the recipient of the Excellence in Agriculture award, sponsored annually  by Southern Bank and Trust. Ford described Brown’s award as one that recognizes the significant impact of the recipient’s work in the field of agriculture in North Carolina and their dedication to helping the farming community. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Harmony Lanes Remains Focused on Future Infrastructure Projects Around Boone


    March 22, 2021. Harmony Lanes is an advocacy group in Boone that has been working hard to create safe, inclusive, multi-modal transportation opportunities in the area. Recently, there are two major infrastructure projects and one trail infrastructure the group helped create. The first major infrastructure project involves the new sidewalks along Highway 194 and the HAWK crosswalk for the entrance of Hardin Park School, which will finally make the entrance to the school safe. There will be more construction on sidewalks this spring and summer, and the crosswalk is waiting on a right-of-way resolution which should come soon. Harmony Lanes is proud to soon make it easier and safer for kids and parents to access the school on foot or by bike. / Read more…



  • AppHealthCare COVID-19 Situation Update for Watauga County March 19th; 3063 People Now Eligible to Receive Vaccines in Groups 1, 2, 3 and 4


    March 20, 2021. “We are all ready to move on from COVID, and to do more of what we have missed this past year, and the best way to help us do that is for us to be vaccinated and hold on to the prevention measures we’ve been practicing. I got my vaccine and am encouraging those I care about to be vaccinated. I’m ready to see family members I’ve really missed this past year. I know people may have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and we want you to have answers. Please, take time to educate yourself by asking your healthcare provider, or going to reputable places online like CDC or NC DHHS, or call our AppHealthCare call center to get factual information because there is a lot of information out there that just is not true,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare. Our vaccine allocation for the week of March 22nd will include 600 first doses and 600 second doses. / Read more…



  • After the Pandemic: Will Struggling Industries Rebound, Especially for Hospitality and Leisure?

    March 19, 2021 About one year after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in North Carolina and the state’s initial stay-at-home order, the state is moving toward greater reopening. With declining cases and increasing vaccinations, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order in late February that eased restrictions on a number of indoor venues, allowing for more businesses to reopen and for customers to return to more indoor dining and entertainment. But despite a shift in a favorable direction for businesses, the economic effects of the pandemic are still severe for many North Carolina entrepreneurs who continue to wrestle with decisions balancing safety, risk, profit, and in some cases, survival.  By Christian Green / Carolina Public Press / Read more…



  • Tweetsie Railroad to Reopen its Doors and Trains April 2nd; And They’re Hiring for Upcoming Season!


    March 19, 2021. The train whistles are once again ringing through the Blue Ridge Mountains as Tweetsie Railroad prepares for its much-anticipated reopening. The park will welcome guests back beginning Friday, April 2, with an emphasis on safety measures to ensure an enjoyable time for all. “This has been the most challenging year in our history, for many reasons, so we can hardly wait for April 2 to welcome back out Tweetsie Railroad family and celebrate in typical Wild West fashion,” said Cathy Robbins, director of marketing for Tweetsie Railroad. Tweetsie Railroad is also seeking energetic and adventurous teammates to join its staff for the upcoming 2021 season. The park will reopen for the season on April 2 and is actively hiring for various positions at this time.  / Read more…



  • The Lutgert Companies Wins the BALA Award for a Collection of Townhomes in Linville Ridge


    March 18, 2021. The Lutgert Companies have won the 2020 Best in American Living™ Award (BALA) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) for The Brooks, a collection of townhomes in Linville Ridge — the company’s private mountaintop community in North Carolina. The Brooks was honored with the Silver Award in the Multifamily category for a development of up to three stories built for sale. Comprised of eight residences ranging from 2,436 to 3,146 square feet, The Brooks is situated at an elevation of 4,600 feet and is nestled between the eighth green and ninth fairway of the Linville Ridge golf course. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Bringing All Grade Levels Back Into the Classroom by April 12

    March 18, 2021 During a special meeting that took place on Monday, the Watauga County Board of Education voted to allow students in grades 6-12 to return to the classroom, beginning on Monday, April 12. Students in Pre-kindergarten through second grade returned to the classroom on March 8 and students in grades three through five will return to the classroom on Monday, March 22. Students will attend class in person on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday’s will continue to be a remote learning day for everyone while the custodial staff sanitizes school buildings. All students will continue to have the option of attending school remotely through the Watauga Virtual Academy. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Wild Turkey Season Opens in N.C. on April 3

    March 18, 2021 Wild turkey hunting season opens in North Carolina on April 3. The youth season is April 3 – 9, and the statewide season is April 10 – May 8. Hunters are limited to two turkeys for the season, only one of which may be taken during the youth season. Last year, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission documented a record high turkey harvest during the five-week hunting season. The statewide harvest increased by 28 percent and the youth harvest increased by 110 percent compared to the average of the three previous years. The increase is likely due to North Carolinians spending more time outdoors due to COVID-19. Chris Kreh, the Commission’s upland game bird biologist, confirmed that North Carolina’s wild turkey population remains robust despite last year’s increase in hunting pressure and harvest. / Read more…



  • Governor Reports Trends Continue to Stabilize as COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Opens for Some Members of Group 4; 3.4 Million Doses Administered So Far

    March 17, 2021 Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. gave an update on the state’s current data, trends and vaccination progress. Today also marks the opening of vaccine eligibility for people who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness or who live in certain congregate settings. “With more students in the classroom and millions of people receiving vaccines, there is hope on the horizon,” said Governor Cooper. “But with this virus and its variants continuing to spread, it is too early to let our guard down.” North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered over 3.4 million doses. 25.7 percent of those 18 and up is at least partially vaccinated, and 16.5 percent of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated. / Read more…



  • Avery County “Clean Sweep” Day this Saturday, March 20; Still Time To Pitch In and Help!

    March 17, 2021 Various groups in Avery County are collaborating to make what is generally considered to be one of the most picturesque sections in the world even prettier. Jesse Pope, President and Executive Director of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, will be hosting the “Avery County Clean Sweep,” a community-wide trash collection effort, beginning at 9:00 Saturday morning, March 20. Pope said he is hopes to have 15 to 16 organizations coordinating efforts of volunteers to sweep through the sides of the 500 or so miles of roadways in the county to help remove trash near roadways.  Pope said it will take a community-wide effort to complete the “Clean Sweep” project. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 8 – March 15

    March 17, 2021. Looking to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your neighborhood? Want to keep an eye on criminal activity in your area? Take a look at these recent incident and arrest reports from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the Boone Police Department. Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • 18th Annual AMPC Awards Ceremony Virtual Event on Saturday March 20 Beginning at 6:00 pm


    March 17, 2021. A partnership between Appalachian State University Outdoor Programs, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, and Virtual Blue Ridge, the AMPC celebrates the unique people, places, and pursuits that distinguish the Southern Appalachians. Attracting entries from across the United States, the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition has grown into one the region’s most prestigious photography competitions with over 800 submissions this year. The AMPC is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the Mast General Store, who are providing gift certificates for each category winner.  On Saturday March 20th 2021 at 6:00pm, AMPC organizers will live stream the awards ceremony which will feature perspectives from the jurors this year, Eric Heistand and Shauna Caldwell. / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Celebrate National Peanut Butter Month


    March 17, 2021. As National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Month, March salutes America’s favorite sandwich spread. What kid didn’t grow up loving a PBJ? It’s been a staple in most homes for generations. However, it seems there has been a rise in peanut allergies in recent years, and I am learning that many schools are prohibiting peanut butter in any form to prevent those with the allergy from coming in contact with it. But, as in most cases, there are alternatives, with other numerous nut butters on the market today. Most may be interchanged in recipes, so that’s a good thing. Consumer reports indicate that smooth peanut butter is “by far” the most popular, but many of us prefer crunchy. To be “officially” considered peanut butter, a product labeled as such must contain least 90 percent of peanuts. Beyond the time-honored sandwich, the gooey spread is also popular on crackers and celery, in cookies, candies and many other desserts. The “history of peanut butter” indicates that a St. Louis physician might have actually invented an early version of it in 1890 when he developed a packaged “paste” for people with bad teeth. Five years later, the innovative Kellogg brothers patented the process of preparing peanut butter with steamed nuts; in 1922, however, it was Joseph L. Rosefield who, after churning it to make it smoother, received the first patent for peanut butter that could stay fresh up to a year. In 1928, one of the first companies to adopt Rosefield’s process was Swift & Company, later renamed Peter Pan.  By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Statement from NC State Board of Elections Director on Intelligence Community Report on Foreign Threats to 2020 Elections

    March 17, 2021 The following is a statement from Karen Brinson Bell on the Intelligence Community Report on Foreign Threats to 2020 Elections, which was released on Tuesday: The report released on Tuesday by the top federal intelligence officials supports what North Carolina elections officials have said all along: The 2020 elections in North Carolina were secure and the results are accurate. We encourage all North Carolinians to read these reports, and to seek reliable, nonpartisan information about elections from state and county elections officials, not social media or unverified sources. / Read more…



  • Town of Beech Mountain Police Department, Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and Avery County Humane Society Receive Donations from Reuben and Barbara Mooradian Estate


    March 12, 2021. The Town of Beech Mountain Police Department, the Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and the Avery County Humane Society were the beneficiaries of a generous bequest from the estate of Reuben and Barbara Mooradian. Checks were presented to the three beneficiaries by Attorney diSanti representing the Mooradian estate on March 10 at the Beech Mountain Town Council meeting. The Beech Mountain Volunteer Fire Department received $400,000 and the Beech Mountain Police Department and the Avery County Humane Society both received $300,000. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • North Carolina Legislature and Governor Roy Cooper Reach Compromise to Send K-5 Students Back to School Full-Time

    March 12, 2021 After weeks of what appeared to be a stalemate between Governor Roy Cooper and the North Carolina Legislature, the two sides finally came together on an agreement that will allow K-5 students to be back in the classroom full-time while also allowing for flexibility for grades 6-12 between in-person learning and remote learning. Under Senate Bill 220, schools opening under Plan A for Grades 6-12 will be required to detail their plans to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), but the Department will not have the authority to veto a local district’s decision. Gov. Cooper will also maintain the power to close certain schools or districts should COVID-19 cases increase in certain areas. Remote learning will be available for all students K-12 should students and their families feel more comfortable remaining at home. Gov. Cooper officially signed the bill into law on Thursday. “Getting students back into the classroom safely is a shared priority, and this agreement will move more students to in-person instruction while retaining the ability to respond to local emergencies,” Cooper said in a statement. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Spring Forward in 2021: Daylight Saving Time Begins at 2 a.m. Sunday Morning


    March 12, 2021. Spring is just around the corner on March 20, and to get everybody ready for some warmer weather ahead, it’s time to adjust those clocks forward one hour before you go to bed this Saturday night. The time will officially jump ahead an hour at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins each year on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November. Hawaii and most of the state of Arizona except for the northeast corner of the state stay on standard time throughout the year and do not change their clocks forward and backward like every other state. Other United States territories do not participate in Daylight Saving Time, including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Lees-McRae College Alum Selected as an International Olympic Committee Young Leader

    March 12, 2021 Layana de Souza ’14 is one of 25 individuals from around the world to be chosen as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Young Leader program for the Class of 2021. The IOC launched the Young Leaders program in 2016 to empower passionate individuals to “leverage the power of sport to make a positive difference in their communities,” according to their website. “All of us in the Olympic community share the mission to make the world a better place through sport. The IOC Young Leaders program is empowering young people from around the world to put this mission in their communities into action,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. De Souza started playing basketball with a local nonprofit project in her home country of Brazil, and her passion for the sport led to scholarships to attend Northwest College and Lees-McRae, an MPS in Sport Management from Georgetown University, and now a spot in the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Young Leaders program.   / Read more…



  • U.S. Forest Service Conducts a Burn in Burke County Causing Drift Smoke Across High Country

    March 11, 2021 If you’re out and about in Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and other parts of the High Country, you’ve probably noticed smoke in the area. The drift smoke is coming from controlled burns the U.S. Forest Service is conducting. The U.S. Forest Service planned three prescribed burns located on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests today, March 11. The Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, is conducting a 1,400-acre burn in Burke County in the Rose’s Mountain unit, which is causing the smoke in Watauga County and other areas of the High Country. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • App State COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Opens Thursday in the Holmes Convocation Center; Capacity to Administer 1,000+ Vaccines per Day


    March 11, 2021. App State’s first COVID-19 vaccine clinic opened March 11, 2021. In the first two days, the university expects to vaccinate 620 students, faculty, staff and community members according to the State of North Carolina’s vaccine prioritization schedule. The clinic has the capacity to administer 1,000+ vaccines per day. App State has been approved to be a community vaccination distribution center by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS). The university is assisting in North Carolina’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan for rural areas by administering COVID-19 vaccines to staff, faculty, students and community members as vaccine allotments are provided. / Read more…



  • Gov. Cooper Announces People with High-Risk Medical Condition in Group 4 Will Be Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine Beginning March 17

    March 11, 2021 Today, Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. announced beginning on March 17, people in Group 4 who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness and people who live in certain congregate settings will be eligible for vaccination. The rest of Group 4, which includes other essential workers will become eligible April 7. (See Deeper Dive) “This move to Group 4 is good news,” said Governor Cooper. “I know there are many efforts across the state getting vaccines to people as quickly and fairly as possible and I want our providers to know that their work is making all the difference.” / Read more…



  • Watauga County Parks and Recreation to Host Drive-Thru Bunny Trail Parade; Vendors Wanted


    March 11, 2021. Spring is on its way, which means Easter will be here soon. To celebrate, Watauga County Parks and Recreation will be hosting a drive-thru Bunny Trail Parade on Sunday, March 28. This event is scheduled to take place from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Watauga Community Recreation Center parking lot, located at 231 Complex Drive in Boone. Families will be able to enjoy the festive event from the comfort and care of their cars as they follow a route to experience the different exhibits of parade floats and entertainers who will be set up in the parking lot for cars to drive by and see. This event comes after an immensely popular Halloween drive-thru trunk or treat event and a drive-thru Christmas parade that were also presented by Watauga County Parks and Recreation. Watauga County Parks and Recreation is currently seeking individuals, groups, businesses, churches and departments to fill the parking lot with parade vehicles, displays and entertainers. All parade exhibits will be stationary, and prizes will be awarded for the best displays. Vendors are also welcome to offer candy and/or prizes to the parade viewers. There is no fee to register as a vendor. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum to Open TRANSFORMATION Exhibition on March 20


    March 11, 2021 The Blowing Rock Art & History Museum (BRAHM) will open a captivating exhibition on March 20th, guest curated by prominent collectors of contemporary photography Carlos Garcia-Velez, Allen Thomas, and Former Director of The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA), Larry Wheeler. The exhibition, on view through August 21, features works from the prestigious North Carolina private collections of Carlos Garcia-Velez, Allen Thomas, Larry Wheeler, as well as Hedy Fischer and Randy Schull, and Chandra and Jimmie Johnson. TRANSFORMATION is an impressive statewide collaborative effort presenting some of the most significant contemporary photographs of our time, as well as several important works from NCMA’s permanent collection.  / Read more…



  • High Country Association of REALTORS® Report: Area Homes Selling for 98% of Asking Price


    March 11, 2021 Housing inventory remains at a record low in the High Country area as homes continue to be purchased almost as soon as they are listed, according to the latest real estate report by the High Country Association of REALTORS©.  REALTORS© sold 182 homes worth $91.4 million in February. That’s a 5 percent increase in unit sales compared to last February, the month prior to the shutdown of North Carolina due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Since that time home sales in the High Country have been furious and inventory has been unable to keep pace with demand. In early April 2020 just over 1,200 homes were listed for sale on the High Country Multiple Listing service. That number has fallen every month since.  As of March 8 there were approximately 364 homes for sale in the four-county area, the lowest inventory total on record.  / Read more…



  • New Boone Restaurant, Boonie’s Chicago Style Pizza, Serves Food Like No Other In The High Country Straight from the Windy City


    March 10, 2021. A new local restaurant has sprung up on Blowing Rock Road in the previous location of Hardee’s, and the owners said it brings something you can’t get anywhere else in the High Country — real Chicago style pizza. Clayton Miller and Chris Wilcox are the owners of Boonie’s Chicago Style Pizza, and opening a restaurant was something they have talked about for a long time, as they have been working together for many years. Their history goes way back to when both Clayton’s father and Chris’s father grew up and worked together at the Wilcox Drug Company on Howard Street as teenagers. “Our families have a very long history,” Chris said. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Leaping Leprechauns — We’ve Made it Through An Interesting Year


    March 10, 2021. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and many of us will likely wear a little something green on the 17th, a tradition we’ve held for hundreds of years to pay tribute to the patron saint of Ireland. The shamrock, which symbolizes the “trinity,” is a special St. Patrick’s Day icon for many of us, as well, and something I like to display. This special time of year, usually one of merriment for so many — whether Irish blood flows through our veins or not — brings to mind some of the more commonly known celebrations and related food.  Corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and ales are some of the more traditional foods and drinks that show up on tables and in super market circulars this week to entice us into revelry. Hopefully, there will be a bit more of that than we saw in 2020. Around this same time last year, we all had a rude awakening as life as we had known if came to a basic standstill. I will never forget. On Sunday morning, March 15, we had already learned of the first local case of COVID-19. I was to celebrate my 60th birthday that day, and I did, thanks to my son’s  family who said the “party,” such as it was, must go on. Church services had been called off, but we sat around the family computer, enjoying an online service, a new kind of worship that we had no idea would eventually become our weekly “norm” for several months. We solemnly ate my favorite and most requested meal of delicious homemade tomato soup and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches along with an amazing dessert; I opened my gifts with the help of my grands. It was a good day, all things considered — but strained — as we  glanced every few minutes at our cell phones, watching the COVID-related posts and “numbers” climb all around us and reported on social media at alarming speed. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Another Man Dead in Second Shooting in Avery County in Three Days

    March 10, 2021 Three days after one man died from a gunshot wound and two individuals were injured in an altercation in the Maple Street area of Crossnore on March 5, another man died from gunshot wounds in an unrelated incident on Monday afternoon, March 8, near the Pineola community.  Both Crossnore and Pineola are located in Avery County. Avery County law enforcement responded to an emergency call on March 8 about a shooting on Pritchard Road, where they found a man who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds from a neighbor. The victim was identified by Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye as Brian Smith, who was on his own property and only a short distance from the suspect’s residence when the incident happened. Frye said the victim was pronounced dead on the scene after resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.By Tim Gardner / Read more…



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