• MEDLIFE Movement Appalachian State University Chapter Building Mobile Clinic in Tanzania this May


    April 4, 2019 The MEDLIFE Movement at Appalachian State University will be traveling with a group of student volunteers to Moshi, Tanzania, a small town at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, from May 18th to May 26th to set up a Mobile Clinic that brings free, high-quality healthcare directly to communities who lack access to basic health services. The clinics are designed to find patients who are in need of long-term assistance and will be staffed by local practitioners offering basic medical treatment and preventative screens. The student volunteers will shadow the medical professionals and help operate the clinic in order to learn about local medical practices, global medicine, and the effect of poverty on health. In addition to the Mobile Clinic, the MEDLIFE student volunteers will be creating a community development project based off of the wants and needs of the community in Moshi to make sure their community is safe for everyone. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock Historical Society Presents $3,500 Check for Restoration Projects at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park


    April 4, 2019 On April 3, the Blowing Rock Historical Society (BRHS) presented the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation with a $3500 check for restoration projects at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. This donation was from the proceeds of BRHS’s 2018 Artists in Residence program. In presenting the check, President Rita White and AiR Chair Tom O’Brien said, “We are so pleased to be able to contribute to this worthwhile cause.  This is AiR’s 10th anniversary at Edgewood Cottage, originally the home and studio of renowned artist Elliot Dangerfield. We feel certain that both he and his friend Moses Cone would be delighted with this donation.” The Artists in Residence program is an annual event held at Edgewood Cottage where area artists spend a week showcasing their art and talent.  Beginning this year in late May, the program not only benefits the artists, but is a destination event for Blowing Rock residents and tourists alike. / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 25 – March 31

    April 3, 2019. 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



  • Appalachian Materials Asphalt Plant Can Proceed After NC Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal

    April 3, 2019 In a recent decision filed on March 27, the North Carolina Supreme Court has determined that the court would not hear an appeal from Watauga County in its ongoing court battle with Appalachian Materials over a proposed asphalt plant. The plant, which can now proceed as planned, will be constructed on Rainbow Trail just off of Highway 194 North outside of Boone. Concerned citizens banded together in 2015 in an attempt to make their voices heard, hoping that Watauga County would deny a high impact land usage permit to Appalachian Materials for the asphalt plant project. The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and High Country WATCH were persistent in their efforts to get the county to block the permit. The plea of the citizens appeared to work as the Watauga County Board of Adjustments denied the permit, and that decision was later supported by the Watauga County Superior Court two years later after the ruling stated that the asphalt plant would be within 1,500 feet of an educational facility, the Margaret E. Gragg Education Center. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Arbor Day Foundation Names Town of Seven Devils 2018 Tree City USA


    April 3, 2019 Town of Seven Devils, NC, was named a 2018 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Seven Devils achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual committee forestry budget of a least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. “Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.” / Read more…



  • Huge Crowd On Hand For Saturday’s Empty Bowls Fundraiser at Watauga High School, Updates on Crowd Size and Amount Raised


    April 3, 2019 A huge crowd gathered at Watauga High School on Saturday for the 18th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser. The evening featured a silent auction, desserts and live music. Members of Potters of the Blue Ridge organized this year’s “Teapot Challenge” for the silent auction. Items in the silent auction included gift certificates, merchandise, and artwork from local businesses, restaurants, and artisans. Attendees chose a bowl from the wide selection available that was made by either a student or a local potter. Each bowl was a unique color, size or shape and serves as a reminder that there are always empty bowls and hungry people in the world. They then sat down with friends and family and enjoyed a bowl of soup.  By Hailey Blevins / Read more…



  • Boonies Short Films to Air on UNC-TV, April 2019


    April 3, 2019 ‘boonies,’ a documentary series of short vignettes highlighting small business owners in the High Country, will air on UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina this April. The films will air on the station’s main channel at 7:50 p.m. on April 14 and April 21. Following each broadcast, the episodes will be streaming on the PBS Video app, PBS.org and the UNC-TV video portals. Selena Lauterer, creator and producer of the series, asks: “Why do we choose to live in Boone? Western North Carolina has long been a mystery to folks not living here – we are far away from everything and almost everyone. Season One features Angela Kelly, Jesse Miller and Anna Roseman. / Read more…



  • Winners From the 16th Annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition Announced


    April 3, 2019 Organizers of the Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition  have announced the winners of the 16th annual competition. Tom Moors  and the image Swimming Hole took top honors, receiving the designation of Best in Show. Tom will take home a cash award of $1,000 furnished through competition proceeds. Cole Siemasko’s image A Horse’s Snowday is the public’s pick in this year’s Footsloggers’ People’s Choice Award and will receive $350 cash award furnished by Footsloggers Outdoor and Travel Outfitters. / Read more…



  • Two Durham Men Arrested on Multiple Gun and Drug Charges


    April 3, 2019 The Boone Police Department arrested two men on Monday after they allegedly threw out narcotics and a stolen firearm inside the Quality Inn and fled the scene on foot.  According to details provided by Sergeant Geoff Hayes of the Boone PD, officers were dispatched at 3:33pm to the 1200 block of NC Highway 105 in reference to a silver Chevrolet Malibu being operated in a careless and reckless manner. Officers located the vehicle traveling east on East King St. The vehicle turned right on Eastridge Drive at a high rate of speed and continued into the parking lot of the Quality Inn. Based upon further investigation, it was discovered that the two occupants of the vehicle entered the Quality Inn and discarded narcotics and a stolen firearm. The two suspects then fled the scene on foot and officers recovered the stolen firearm and narcotics. / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell’s Raleigh Report: Newsletter Highlighting Info from NC General Assembly


    April 3, 2019 During the past year meeting with constituents in Ashe and Watauga counties, it’s clear that we need more news from state government in Raleigh. What we do in Raleigh probably has greater impact on your daily life than the 24/7 coverage of events in Washington, DC. But there’s almost no news reaching northwest North Carolina from our state government. To address this void of news coverage from Raleigh, I hope to provide a newsletter every couple of weeks to let you know what important issues are being discussed and to let you know what I am doing. You elected me to represent you. You deserve to know what’s happening! I hope you find them helpful and informative.  / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Rhubarb: A Spring-time Favorite


    April 3, 2019. can’t believe it’s time to talk about springtime favorites and traditions, but here we are — already in the month of April, even if it doesn’t feel like it. Rhubarb has been serving as a harbinger of spring since the late 1700s, when it first made its way to America, migrating from older and colder countries by way of Italy. An annual favorite of the older generation especially, I remember, as a youngster, being introduced to rhubarb by my aunt, Dovie Stamey. She always had plenty of it growing along the creek bank near her Avery County home, and loved to share it with everyone who dropped by. While many young folks don’t have a clue what it is, rhubarb is an incredibly versatile food item with many uses. It’s best cooked up with something sweet and made into cakes, pastries, jams, pickles, conserves and sauces. When choosing rhubarb, look for crisp, plump, medium-size stalks, but get rid of the leaves, as they contain a poisonous substance. / Read more…



  • Grandfather Mountain State Park Trail Repairs Require Closures

    April 3, 2019 Last spring, Grandfather Mountain State Park experienced heavy, prolonged rains that severely damaged and eroded park trails, making some areas impassable. Damage to the Nuwati and Cragway trails was so extensive that repairs will require contracting outside work. The wet weather continued as Grandfather Mountain experienced 10 feet of precipitation in 2018, compounding the damage to all our trails. Park staff are working to get contracts underway while repairing what we are able to on the other trails. Trail renovations cannot begin until May at the earliest because there is currently a moratorium on construction work in trout streams or tributaries while the fish are spawning, This is a critical protection measure for trout. Park staff hope to complete work and reopen trails by late summer, but these timelines are difficult to estimate. / Read more…



  • 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.

    Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • Investigation Continues Surrounding Saturday Night’s Officer-Involved Shooting

    April 2, 2019 The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is still investigating what exactly happened after a Watauga County Sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed a man on Saturday night. According to details provided by Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman, deputies were dispatched to the area of 2145 Hardin Road to follow up on reports of a suspicious male attempting to gain entry to multiple residences. Deputies responded to the area and began searching for the suspect. Deputy Adam Gragg encountered a male suspect walking in the road and got out of his vehicle to speak with the man. According to Hagaman, after getting out of the car, the man, later identified as Andrew John Mason, attacked Gragg. A violent struggled ensued and Gragg shot Mason. Mason, 22, was transported to Watauga Medical Center and then on to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem where he died from his injuries. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • First Farm in Ashe County Awarded Top Environmental and Animal Welfare Certification

    April 2, 2019 The herd of goats at The Abandoned Dog in Lansing, NC is now Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World(AGW). A Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW source farm for goats, The Abandoned Dog is approved to raise and sell goats to other AGW-certified farms. This certification and food label lets consumers know these animals are raised outdoors on pasture or range in accordance with the highest animal welfare standards in the U.S. and Canada, using sustainable agriculture methods on an independent farm. Consumer Reports has rated Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW as a “highly meaningful” label for farm animal welfare, outdoor access and sustainability–and the only animal welfare certification in which they have confidence. Like other Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW farmers across the country, Jeff and Nona Cullen recognize the growing consumer interest in how animals are raised on farms. Managing animals outdoors on pasture or range has known benefits for animals, consumers and the environment.  / Read more…



  • Finalists Announced For 3rd Annual Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards

    April 2, 2019 Sixteen members of the High Country community have been selected as category finalists for the 3rd annual Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards. Winners will be announced at an awards luncheon, Wednesday April 10th, from 11:30 am-1 pm at Harvest House in Boone. The event is presented by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate. Click here to see the finalists for each category. / Read more…



  • Watauga State of the County’s Health Report & Health Ranking; 10th Out 100 N.C. Counties

    April 2, 2019 AppHealthCare has released the 2018 State of the County’s Health (SOTCH) Report. The report includes a summary of demographics, leading causes of death, updates on the community’s top three health priorities and new initiatives. The SOTCH report is released each year between cycles of conducting a community health assessment. The most recent community health assessment was published March 2018.. / Read more…



  • Sugar Mountain “Burns Snow” and Ignites Another Major Improvement With New Chairlift


    April 1, 2019 Closing out the 2018-’19 ski season at Sugar Mountain Resort on Sunday, resort owner Gunther Jochl got cheers from the crowd in the lodge when he announced that the ski area would install a second new high-speed detachable chairlift this summer. The announcement came at the resort’s traditional “Burning of the Snow” ritual where local skiers and the resort’s employees and their families celebrate the end of another ski season with a bonfire on the slope. Sunday was special in a few ways. Not only did Jochl tell guests that the old “brown lift,” a fixed-grip double chair on the Easy Street slope complex, would become a detachable quad this summer, but the resort closed out the longest ski season of consecutively skied days in its history—141 days, almost five months, from November 11, 2018 to March 31, 2019.. By Randy Johnson / Read more…



  • Boone Native Brian Hester to Hold Art Gallery at Mountain Blue Gallery in Banner Elk on April 13


    March 29, 2019 Brian Hester, born and raised in Boone and currently teaching art in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system, will be presenting his artwork in the High Country for the first time at Mountain Blue Gallery in Banner Elk on April 13 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hester’s art has been featured in galleries around the Charlotte area in the past; some of his works are currently displayed in the NoDa Brewery in Charlotte as well as the Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone. Hester channels his life experiences through his art, inserting snapshots of his own life into situations you wouldn’t normally expect. For Hester, these life snapshots consist of scenes gathered from his journeys in the High Country, which often means activities conducted in the outdoors such as fly-fishing. Hester’s gallery will include pieces created using various mediums such as acrylic on canvas, watercolors, and sculptures featuring subject matter that pushes the line between real and surreal. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • Celebrate Spring’s Return During the Ninth Annual Lees-McRae College Appalachian Heritage Week April 8–13

    March 29, 2019 Join Lees-McRae College in celebrating spring’s return to the mountains during the ninth annual Appalachian Heritage Week April 8–13. Throughout the week the college will highlight unique aspects of our heritage that will enlighten and entertain students and community members. Lees-McRae invites everyone to participate in these activities sponsored by the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. Start the week with an open house for the New Opportunity School for Women from 1–5 p.m. Join Director Jennie Harpold, members of the NOSW advisory council, and past graduates to learn more about the program and celebrate another successful year at the Stephenson Center for Appalachia. The NOSW has changed the lives of more than 140 women in the past 15 years at Lees-McRae and more than 900 in the 32 years since its founding in Berea, Kentucky. At 5 p.m., MacDonald Dining Hall will serve a traditional, Appalachian-themed meal while old-time mountain group Little Stony Nighthawks will perform. While the music will be free, the cost of the meal for those without a college meal plan will be $10.25 plus tax. / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock Mayor Shares Updates on Sunset Drive Revitalization Project

    March 29, 2019 Note: Blowing Rock Mayor Charlie Sellers will be providing the High Country Press with news and updates on projects in Blowing Rock. This week, Mayor Sellers provided us with an update on the construction project that is about to begin on Sunset Drive. Project Inclusions? The project general extends from Valley Boulevard to Main Street, and includes replacement of existing water and sewer lines, minor drainage improvements, replacement of sidewalks and curb/gutter, removal and placing of selected street trees, and new roadway asphalt. Construction Begins? Construction is to begin the week of April 1, 2019 and anticipated to be complete by November 2019. Construction Sequence? The first step will be installation of new sewer lines in the west bound lane from the stream near First Baptist, west to Main Street. The next step will be water line installation along the north shoulder of the road from Valley Boulevard to Ransom Street, then along the east bound lane to Main Street. Drainage work will follow water and sewer work, then curbing and sidewalks will be replaced/installed in sections along the route. Paving will then proceed followed by landscaping. / Read more…



  • Flu Deaths Climb to 165 in North Carolina But Diagnosed Cases Decline as Local Hospitals Lift Visiting Restrictions

    March 29, 2019 North Carolina’s number of flu-related deaths has reached 165, the latest report from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services released on Thursday revealed. That number includes an increase of 30 deaths since last reported by the High Country Press on March 15. Eight died in the week from March 17-23. The agency does not provide details, such as name of the deceased, exact age, gender or county of residence, to protect the privacy of the families affected. Statewide, officials say more than 8,000 people have tested positive for influenza since September 30, 2018. However, they reported that there has been a decline in the number of flu cases the past few weeks. Flu season officially begins on September 30 each year. It peaks in February and March and officially ends on May 18. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Watauga County High School Seniors Will Graduate on June 14


    March 28, 2019 Graduation for the Watauga High School Class of 2019 has been set for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone. Graduation is open to the public and ASU’s security measures will be in place. Families are encouraged to allow extra time to go through the Holmes Center’s bag checks. Times and dates for several other end-of-year events celebrating the graduating class — the Senior Awards Ceremony, baccalaureate service, and capping ceremony — are also listed below. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said he is looking forward to graduation and celebrating the Watauga High Class of 2019. / Read more…



  • Sugar Mountain Sets New Record of Most Consecutive Ski Days at the Resort; Live Music and Snow Burning Happening Sunday


    March 28, 2019 This ski season was very user-friendly for the area ski slopes, especially at Sugar Mountain where they will officially wrap up the 2018-19 season on Sunday with live music and the traditional snow burning. “Over in Europe they will burn the snow to welcome in the spring and get rid of winter,” said Kim Jochl, Vice President and Director of Marketing for Sugar Mountain Resort. “We save stuff for most of the season that needs to be burned and then on the last day we burn it.” Broken tree limbs, wood and Christmas trees are some of the other items that get burnt with the snow. Sunday will mark a historic day for Sugar Mountain as it will set a new record for consecutive days of being open for skiing at 141. The previous record was 140. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Names Teachers of the Year


    March 28, 2019 Watauga County Schools has named its 2019-20 teachers of the year — one from each school in the district. Chosen by their peers, the group was selected from a group of more than 300 teachers district-wide at all grade levels. This year’s group includes Callie Jarman from Bethel, Sarah Holt from Blowing Rock, Anne Donadio from Cove Creek, Carly Mize from Green Valley, Tammy Whichard from Hardin Park, Gayle Oliver from Mabel, Heather Miller from Parkway, Mitchell Wright from Valle Crucis and Jennifer Williams from Watauga High School. The teachers were surprised in their classrooms over the last several weeks by a groups of their peers, family members and staff who gather in each school’s office to surprise the award winner mid-class.” / Read more…



  • Grandfather Mountain Mourns the Loss of Western Cougar Aspen Who Was 15 Years Old


    March 28, 2019 On Monday, March 25, Grandfather Mountain bid farewell to Aspen, a Western cougar and longtime resident of the park’s wildlife habitats. According to habitat staff, Aspen grew increasingly unresponsive following a weekend tooth-removal surgery, which was also intended to diagnose some other ailments. After his keepers kept him under 24-hour observation, his condition only worsened, and he was humanely euthanized on March 25. Aspen was 15 years old, two years older than the average lifespan of a Western cougar in the wild.” / Read more…



  • A Promise Kept: The Stephanie Greer Story


    March 28, 2019 Can you remember the last time you made a promise? Outside of our marriage vows, most of us do not like to think much about promises because they remind us of our past failed personal attempts to watch less television or to floss with more regularity. Despite our best intentions, if given the option to take the easy road or the hard road in life, we all tend to revert back to the path of least resistance. Stephanie Pate Greer, the Director of Behavioral Health at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), knows firsthand the danger of complacency. She and her team of nurses, therapists, crisis interventionists and psychiatrists have made a collective and unwavering commitment to always provide high quality behavioral health services in the High Country. For Stephanie, it was a promise made in heartbreak, steeped in love and maintained by her uncompromising resolve. By Josh Jarman / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 17 – March 24

    March 27, 2019. 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



  • Blue Ridge Parkway Invites Community Members to Open House in Blowing Rock on April 3


    March 27, 2019 With the weather slowly starting to warm up and daylight lasting a little longer each day, visitors and residents will soon be charging out to the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy some beautiful spring and summer days. On Wednesday April 3, the Blue Ridge Parkway will be hosting a special open house event at the American Legion Building from 4-6 p.m. in Blowing Rock, located at 333 Wallingford Road. Parkway Superintendent J.D. Lee as well as other staff members will be on hand to share information about upcoming parkway projects, special events and other important aspects of the parkway. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Making The Most of Your Microwave


    March 27, 2019. Where would we be without the mighty microwave? Considered by many as a cook’s best friend, I don’t use mine to do a lot of meals from start to finish, but I couldn’t do without it for reheating and whipping up quick snacks. If you’re one who uses your microwave a lot, these tips and recipes may help to make your life even simpler. / Read more…



  • 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.

    Read more…
    Compiled by Nathan Ham



  • K9s Dressed to the Nines: Local Realtors, Watauga County Leadership Class, Provide New Vests for Watauga K9s


    March 26, 2019 The long arm of the paw is better prepared for duty now, thanks in part to local Realtors in the High Country area. The High Country Association of Realtors (HCAR) recently worked with members of the 2017 Watauga County Leadership Academy class to buy new uniforms for the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office K9 units. The K9 officers now head to work in armored vests similar to the protective gear of their fellow deputies. “What many citizens don’t know is that law enforcement K9s play a major role in protecting the lives of their handlers and other officers responding to most calls,” said Skip Wood, 2017 president of the HCAR, who helped in the fundraising effort. “Some of those calls could pose a threat to officer safety including building searches, large demonstrations, and drug and explosives detection, to name a few.” / Read more…



  • Appalachian State: Report Shows Administration’s Declining Support for Academics

    March 26, 2019 Appalachian State University has prioritized the funding of administrative positions over academics and faculty salaries, a report released last week shows. Meanwhile, faculty salaries have declined significantly relative to the university’s institutional peers and the cost of living. The report, “A Review of Faculty Salaries and Budget Priorities at Appalachian: Trends in the Allocation of Positions and Funding,” was released last Wednesday by Appalachian State’s Center for Economic Research & Policy Analysis (CERPA). In the weeks ahead, Appalachian’s faculty will continue to ask the administration to prioritize the university’s academic mission, notably at the April 12 University Budget Presentations. / Read more…



  • Together in Collaboration, Lees-McRae College Becomes Academic Partner and Home Site of Faith Community Nurses International

    March 26, 2019 International professional nursing organization, Faith Community Nurses International can now be found on the campus of Lees-McRae College. In a recent partnership between FCNI and the Lees-McRae May School of Nursing and Health Sciences, the two have come together to provide FCNI with an academic partnership and home site. First established in 2013, “(FCNI) represents the interests of faith community nurses by providing nursing education and practice resources—including the quarterly, on-line, peer-reviewed International Journal of Faith Community Nurses (FCN) to promote optimal health outcomes for the individuals and communities they serve,” according to the FCNI website. “Our registered nurse members teach, manage, and practice faith community nursing, and are leaders in nursing education and research in faith community nursing.” / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 9 – March 17

    March 25, 2019. 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



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