• Boone Police Have New Tool to Serve the Public While Protecting the Environment


    August 14, 2020  Recently the Boone Police Department received a new Polaris Electric Utility side-by-side vehicle. This purchase was made possible by a donation from an anonymous community member. This new utility vehicle will be used to patrol the Greenway Trail and provide support during special events throughout the Town of Boone. The benefits are already being realized. On Saturday, August 1 at approximately 9:30 AM, Officers Camacho and Stout were utilizing the electric utility vehicle (EUTV) to patrol the Greenway Trail. While checking the area underneath Blowing Rock Road adjacent to Penn Station Subs, they observed a male, Trinity James Hood, 40, preparing methamphetamine for sale. Mr. Hood was arrested and charged with Felony Possession with Intent to Sell and Deliver Methamphetamine, Misdemeanor Possession of a Schedule 3 Controlled Substance, and Misdemeanor Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. / Read more…



  • Rosen Sculpture Competition Now on View


    August 14, 2020  For the last 34 years, the annual Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition & Exhibition has showcased contemporary American sculpture in outdoor settings across the campus of Appalachian State University. The sculptures in this year’s competition represent a diversity of styles from biomorphic to whimsical to thought-provoking. The artists have expressed their three-dimensional concepts with expert craftsmanship utilizing a variety of materials, designs and techniques to create their sculptures. Each year, an artist is invited to jury the competition and this year juror Rachel Stevens selected the sculpture finalists, nine of which are installed on campus. Due to COVID-19, the live sculpture walk with the juror and announcement of awards that was to have occurred in July 2020 will now take place in July during the 2021 Appalachian Summer Festival (mark your calendars!). Because the tour was not offered in its typical live format, a narrated virtual tour was created so that individuals can participate in a self-guided tour of the eight works located on campus in the vicinity of the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. Stevens reflected on the impact of sculpture during the challenges of COVID-19 with the simple but universal statement, “With art there is hope.” / Read more…



  • Civitas Poll: Biden and Cunningham Have Slim Leads; 72% of Voters Intend to Vote in Person

    August 14, 2020 With the election 81 days away, the North Carolina electorate appears split between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the White House. With 13 electoral votes, North Carolina is considered a key battleground state in the 2020 presidential election. In the latest Civitas Poll, 600 North Carolina likely voters were asked who they would vote for if the election were held today:  / Read more…



  • App State Adds Sept. 26 Home Game vs. Campbell


    August 14, 2020  App State added a Sept. 26 home game against Campbell to its 2020 football schedule on Thursday. After previously losing all four of their originally scheduled 2020 nonconference opponents – Morgan State, Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Massachusetts – the Mountaineers added a Sept. 12 home game against Charlotte on Wednesday before scheduling the Campbell addition. Per the Sun Belt Conference’s Aug. 4 decision to allow each league school to play up to four nonconference games in addition to the eight-game league slate, App State can still add up to two more games to its fall schedule. / Read more…



  • Amber Bateman Serves as New Executive Director of Watauga County Arts Council


    August 13, 2020  Amber Bateman officially took over as the new executive director of the Watauga County Arts Council, after Cherry Johnson retired Aug. 1. Bateman said she really enjoyed working with Johnson over the past month during the transition between directors. Due to COVID-19, they weren’t able to work in the office together in person. Instead all the training took place via Zoom. Johnson also made short videos for Bateman, explaining things about the building and some of her processes, and as Bateman said, “It was a wealth of information!” About a year ago, High Country Press announced Johnson’s retirement in the August/September 2019 magazine, and Bateman saw the article. “It kind of piqued my interest, and I kept thinking about what I would love to do with the community and with the arts, and I really wanted to see some fresh programs rolling out and maybe a more unified, cohesive front for the arts in our community,” Bateman said. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Town of Blowing Rock to Live Stream State of Town Event Tonight at 5:30 p.m.


    August 13, 2020  The Town of Blowing Rock will live stream its State of the Town event on the Town of Blowing Rock’s YouTube channel tonight, Aug. 13, from 5:30-7 p.m. This special event will bring everyone up to date on various projects taking place around town and the Chamber of Commerce’s events and programs. Tune in to hear about this year’s successes, current challenges and the future of our village. Updates will be heard from the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Blowing Rock and the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority. Watch the meeting to learn about exciting current and future projects in the Town of Blowing Rock as well as look at the economic indicators. All residents and business owners are invited to watch the annual State of the Town event. Due to indoor meeting restrictions, this year’s event is being held virtually and will be broadcasted live from the Council Chambers in Town Hall. The Town’s report will be presented by Mayor Sellers and Town Manager, Shane Fox. Charles Hardin will update the audience on the current projects and initiatives of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Village Foundation. Tracy Brown, Executive Director of Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority will present the initiatives of the Authority along with year-end occupancy numbers and how COVID-19 has affected tourism and marketing of the Village. / Read more…



  • NC State Board of Elections Releases FAQs on Absentee by Mail Voting in North Carolina

    August 13, 2020 Through Sunday, August 9, North Carolina voters had submitted 163,374 requests for absentee by-mail ballots for the 2020 general election, more than seven times as many as the 22,074 requests submitted at the same time in 2016. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina elections officials are preparing for a significant increase in ballots cast by mail in 2020. The State Board of Elections and county boards of elections across North Carolina are getting many questions about the absentee voting process. To help voters understand the process, the State Board is releasing “FAQs: Voting by Mail in North Carolina in 2020.  / Read more…



  • Holston Presbytery Camp in Banner Elk Will Offer an After-School Camp for 9 Weeks

    August 13, 2020 Holston Presbytery Camp in Banner Elk will offer an After-School Camp from 1:30 pm-5:30 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and from 7:30 am-5:30 pm on Wednesdays. This fits with the current 2020 Avery County School in-class schedule. The camp is offered only to K-5 Elementary school children. Cost is $900 for the 9-week semester. Enrollment is limited. / Read more…



  • App State and Charlotte Add Games for 2020, 2030; September 12th Game in Boone


    August 13, 2020  App State and Charlotte announced Wednesday that they have agreed to add two more games to their upcoming series with the first matchup now scheduled for Sept. 12, 2020 in Boone and an additional game in Charlotte on a 2030 date to be announced. The Mountaineers recently lost all four of their originally scheduled 2020 nonconference opponents, which were Morgan State, Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Massachusetts / Read more…



  • Vincent Properties Joins Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Brokerage Franchise Network


    August 13, 2020  On Tuesday the “Grand Re-Opening & Sign Unveiling” for Berkshire Hathaway | Vincent Properties was held in front of their offices on Main Street in Blowing Rock. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks has welcomed Vincent Properties to its network. The independently owned company will add one office and ten agents to the global brokerage network and operate as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Vincent Properties. / Read more…



  • Gamekeeper Restaurant Has Reopened After a Summer of Renovations and Improvements


    August 12, 2020  The Gamekeeper Restaurant will officially reopen on Wednesday night with a new deck, additional outdoor seating, and a beautiful new rock retaining wall to add to the rugged look that so many customers have become accustomed to over the year. Owners Ken and Wendy Gordon are excited to reopen and see their favorite customers and hopefully some new guests that want to venture out and try the unique food offerings at The Gamekeeper. “All the wonderful things we have wanted to do for 20 years, we finally did them,” Ken said. “It never seemed to be the right month and when it was the right month, it was always wet and rainy.” The downtime from the COVID-19 pandemic allowed crews to come in and be able to work through the spring and early summer to get the new looks completed. Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, August 3 – August 9

    August 12, 2020. 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



  • SkyBest Fiber Optic Internet Service Now Available in Downtown Blowing Rock


    August 12, 2020  Businesses and community members in Blowing Rock now have access to some of the fastest internet speeds available in the High Country. SkyLine/SkyBest recently completed its fiber-optic network in downtown Blowing Rock and a special ribbon-cutting celebration was held on Tuesday. Internet speeds of up to one-gigabyte download and uploads speeds are ready to use in downtown. Businesses and residents can also choose other internet packages depending on how much they would like to spend. Those packages include speeds of 500 megabytes, 100 megabytes, 45 megabytes, and five megabytes per second. This is the second major project completed by SkyLine/SkyBest in the High Country this summer. In June, Avery County Schools saw their internet connections all upgraded to fiber-optic networks. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Boone Police Department and Watauga Sheriff’s Office Combine Efforts to Keep the Greenway Safe and Secure


    August 12, 2020  With summertime comes an increase in the use of Town and County parks and greenways. The Boone Police Department and Watauga County Sheriff’s Office have been working together to ensure the safety of our citizens and visitors while using these facilities. On Tuesday, August 4, it was discovered that an inordinate amount of debris was underneath the William Mast, Jr. Memorial Bridge on Highway 421 adjacent to the greenway trail from Brookshire Park. Graffiti had also been sprayed on the retaining wall along the trail. “The Town of Boone and Watauga County are beautiful areas to live and work in. The Greenway Trails and Parks are utilized by residents and visitors alike to get outside for exercise and recreation. Our agencies are invested in providing a safe and clean environment for all to enjoy. It is sad to see that individuals would vandalize and discard trash in such a thoughtless manner. We are committed to keeping the Town of Boone and Watauga County clean and safe for all to enjoy”. – Lieutenant Bobby Creed, Patrol Commander, Boone Police Department / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock Historical Society Holds Annual Meeting Providing Updates


    August 12, 2020  Around 30 members of the Blowing Rock Historical Society met via Zoom for the 30th Annual Meeting on Aug. 9 at 4 p.m. The BRHS Annual Meeting is an occasion for members to gather, socialize, hear about status updates and tend to business. One of the main updates was the announcement of the BRHS Officers for the 2020-2021 year. These individuals include Tom O’Brien as president, Jean Wilkinson as vice president, Ann Rhyne as secretary and Jim Clabough as treasurer. O’Brien said during the meeting, “I am really, really appreciative of the board appointing me president, and I’m really passionate about the Blowing Rock Historical Society.” By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Squash, Squash and More Squash


    August 12, 2020. Yellow summer squash – you either love it or you don’t; there’s no in between. Squash seems to be on the vine in abundance around the High Country this year. It’s something that never comes just one at a time, and just like its cousin the zucchini, reproduces in the twinkling of an eye. Not one to hang around very long, it’s best to harvest the squash before it becomes too big and too yellow. The small ones, light in color and soft in texture, are the best. Summer squash is a broad term that, in fact, includes the yellow crookneck, yellow and green zucchini, patty pan, sunburst and scallopini. Regardless of the variety, squash is tender and mild in flavor; the entire vegetable is edible, with the exception of the stem. Patty pan is a bowl-shaped squash with a scalloped rim. It is usually about 3 to 4 inches in diameter and pale green or white in color. Yellow crookneck has a slender curved neck and a slight bulbous base. Yellow straight neck squash, a related variety, has a straight slender shape, yellow skin and creamy flesh. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Details Meal Distribution During Remote Learning Beginning August 17


    August 11, 2020  Watauga County Schools is set to begin the 2020-21 school year August 17 with a nine week period of remote learning for most students. While students will not attend school in person during this time, meals are set to be distributed at each school to any WCS students. Beginning Aug. 17, Watauga County Schools will offer curbside meal pickup  from Noon to 1:00 p.m. each day for students who are taking part in remote learning. Breakfast and lunch will be served simultaneously at the curbside sites. / Read more…



  • Real Estate Activity in the High Country Hits Record Highs in July; 72% Increase Over Last Year

    August 11, 2020 High Country real estate is in historic demand. Local REALTORS® sold more than 360 homes in July, a 72 percent increase over July 2019, and recorded a 15-year high for listings sold within a month by members of the High Country Association of REALTORS®. Prices were strong, with the region’s median sold price for the month also at a 15-year high. / Read more…



  • ‘Hope Survives’ Online Auction to Benefit Hospitality House of Northwest NC Begins Aug. 14


    August 11, 2020  As previously announced, Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina is moving forward with its largest annual fundraiser in a virtual way on August 20. However, the online auction portion of the event will begin August 14 at 12 p.m. This theme for this year’s event, “Hope Survives,” speaks directly to the challenges and obstacles facing the homeless, hungry and impoverished individuals and families that rely on the programs and services of Hospitality House.This year, the silent auction transforms to an online auction that will be open for a full week. / Read more…



  • 4 Million North Carolinians Still Need to Respond to the 2020 Census by September 30 Deadline

    August 11, 2020 As of July 31, approximately 4 million North Carolinians still need to respond to the census or North Carolina risks losing out on an estimated $7.4 billion in funding each year. NC’s current Census 2020 response rate is below the national rate and below where our state was in 2010. North Carolina communities that have not responded at high rates are predominantly rural, Black, and Brown, with low internet access. Carolina Demography has prepared a detailed look at the current 2020 Census response in NC. / Read more…



  • Coronavirus Cases Rise in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties With 117 in Avery and 121 Each in Mitchell and Yancey Counties; Mitchell Has Third Death from Disease

    August 11, 2020 The Toe River Health District (TRHD), which governs Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties in the North Carolina High Country has confirmed the following updated totals of coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Tuesday morning, August 11: Avery-117 (81 afflicted have recovered and 36 remain active) Mitchell-121 (113 have recovered, 5 are active and 3 deaths) Yancey-121 (101 recoveries, 19 remain active and 1 death). Avery had eight confirmed cases on Monday, August 10, while Yancey had seven the same day.By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • This Year’s Back 2 School Festival Serves over 1,400 Children Over Two Days


    August 11, 2020  This past weekend, the 2020 Back 2 School Festival provided over 1,400 Watauga County students with all the supplies they need for the new school year. This year marked the first drive-thru event in the festival’s seven-year history, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All participants were required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in compliance with directives issued by the Department of Health and Human Services. Local schools were given specific pick-up times on August 7th and 8th in order to spread the crowd out over two eight-hour days. / Read more…



  • AAA Reports that Pump Prices Continue to Push Cheaper Across Carolinas

    August 11, 2020 For the second straight week both North and South Carolina are among the nation’s top 10 least expensive markets with pump prices continuing to push cheaper. “This is usually the time of year when gas prices are on the rise as demand is typically high due to summer travel,”  said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “With demand drastically down this season and many schools planning for virtual learning across the Carolinas, gas prices could decline even more in the weeks ahead.” On the week, North Carolina’s $1.94 average saw a decrease of two cents – this is 11 cents cheaper than a month ago and 55 cents cheaper than a year ago / Read more…



  • REQUEST FOR BIDS: ARHS Surplus Property Sealed Bid Auction for Henson Farmhouse and Barn


    August 10, 2020  Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is accepting sealed bids to purchase the Henson farmhouse and barn, located at 134 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC 28607. Note: This sealed bid auction is only for the house and barn structures and does not include the land where they exist. Sealed bids should be submitted in-person to Rob Hudspeth, Senior Vice President for System Advancement at 337 Deerfield Road, Boone NC 28607. Sealed bids are due at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, August 21, 2020, and will be publicly opened and read aloud at the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Foundation office located at 337 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC 28607. The winning bidder shall make payment in full, in-person to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System on bid opening day (Friday, August 21, 2020). No partial payments will be accepted. If full payment is not received on bid opening day, the bid will be awarded to the second-highest bidder. / Read more…



  • Earthquake Centered in Alleghany County Felt in the High Country and Across Several States

    August 10, 2020 An earthquake on Sunday morning shook a lot of houses across the High Country and was felt as far away as Kentucky and South Carolina, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Reports of people feeling the earthquake came from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The 5.2 magnitude earthquake was centered about 2.5 miles southeast of Sparta in Alleghany County. Numerous reports damage came from Sparta, including several broken items inside a Food Lion, in several homes, and large cracks in the pavement on streets throughout the town. Alleghany County issued a State of Emergency yesterday after the town had to be closed down for multiple reported gas leaks. The USGS Survey reported the depth of the earthquake was at 3.7 kilometers (approximately 2.3 miles). According to the USGS, the earthquake occurred in the interior of the North American plate. Such mid-plate earthquakes are known as intraplate earthquakes and are generally less common than interplate earthquakes that happen near tectonic plate boundaries. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Louisiana Purchase Restaurant Makes Transition to LP on Main; Now Open in Downtown Banner Elk


    August 10, 2020  It took a little longer than expected, but the transition from the Louisiana Purchase to LP on Main in Banner Elk is finally complete for Laurie and Patrick Bagbey. LP on Main combines the storied history of the Louisiana Purchase restaurant and the Bagbey’s initials to create a new dining spot in the High Country. “It’s a spin on who we are and who we have grown to be and who we used to be,” said Laurie. “We have been a fixture in the Banner Elk community for three decades, going on four.” The Bagbeys previously owned Louisiana Purchase for 14 years and made the decision to close the location at the end of 2019 to focus on opening their new spot. LP on Main is located at 171 Main Street East in Banner Elk, which is about a block away from the old Louisiana Purchase location. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Boone Native Ryan Campbell Spends Seasons Fighting Fires and Ski Patrolling, Seeks to Mentor Others with Similar Passions


    August 10, 2020. Growing up in Boone, Ryan Campbell knew he had an interest in a career field surrounded by nature, as he is an outdoorsy person; however, he wasn’t quite sure how to achieve his goals.“I think when I was 18 or 19, that’s when I started thinking that I wanted to get into fire, and I specifically remember driving my car really fast on mountain roads and being like, ‘Man, if I could get this feeling in a job, that would be really cool,’” Campbell said. This yearn for an adrenaline rush and adventure led Campbell into researching about smokejumpers, who are specially trained wildland firefighters who are inserted at the site of a fire by parachutes from planes and provide an initial attack response on remote wildland fires. “I remember looking at their requirements and what it took to be a smokejumper and thinking it was the most insane, impossible task ever,” Campbell said. “But even when I was 18 or 19 years old, which was like 10 or 11 years ago now, I had this kind of dream in my mind, and then I tried to do whatever I could to get closer and closer.” By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • MerleFest Organizers Announce Festival Date Change For 2021 to September 16-19

    August 10, 2020 Festival organizers announced today that MerleFest, presented by Window World, will be moving to the weekend of September 16-19, 2021. MerleFest, dubbed by Rolling Stone as “the gold standard for bluegrass, Americana, and string-music festivals,” is normally held the last weekend of April, but the 2020 festival was canceled due to public safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Officials stressed that this would be a one time only move to the fall and they plan to return to the traditional April weekend in 2022 / Read more…



  • AppHealthCare COVID-19 Situation Update for Watauga County August 6th, 2020

    August 10, 2020 Cases are continuing to increase for Watauga County and we are not yet seeing a downward trend. Of the newly identified cases for this week, we are continuing to see the same trend with cases exposed due to close contact with others through living or working closely with others or attending social gatherings. Also, we are continuing to see community transmission which means exposure is occurring locally and there is not always an identified source of exposure for the cases. / Read more…



  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare Systems Expands Services and Opens New Heart and Vascular Center


    August 7, 2020  Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) is excited to announce the opening of the new Heart & Vascular Center at Watauga Medical Center (WMC) in Boone. Formerly known as The Cardiology Center, the 8,000 square foot facility will open on August 17th in a new heart care wing at the medical center. The Heart & Vascular Center will provide more efficient and convenient access for patients, by integrating outpatient heart care with diagnostic services in the same convenient location. “We are excited to provide a collaborative approach to the treatment of complex heart and vascular conditions,” said Kim Bianca, President of Watauga Medical Center. “Bringing services – diagnostic testing, catheterization lab, etc. – under one roof reduces the wait time for patients and enhances the level of interaction between medical professionals to collaborate and deliver customized care.” / Read more…



  • Appalachian State Students Begin Moving in Next Week with Classes Starting on August 17

    August 7, 2020 A new way of campus life and a mixture of online and in-person classes will await students as they begin moving in on Monday, August 10 in preparation for the fall semester starting on August 17. The other public universities in the UNC System are beginning class on Monday, however, Appalachian State’s semester will begin the following week to make sure the newest student housing projects are completed in time. Freshmen and transfer students will move in on August 10-13 while returning students will move in on August 14-16. “I am proud of the way we have adapted to the challenges of this global pandemic, which has challenged every aspect of daily university life — from how we live and learn, to how we engage and educate,” said App State Chancellor Dr. Sheri Everts in a weekly email update to faculty, students and staff. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • N.C. Board of Elections’ Statement to Voters About Election-Related Mailers, Text Messages and Phone Calls

    August 7, 2020 North Carolina elections officials are responding to many voters’ questions and concerns about mass mailings, text messages, phone calls and home visits by political and advocacy groups. Many ongoing outreach efforts by third parties urge residents to request absentee by-mail ballots or register to vote ahead of the November 3 general election. Some mailings include voter registration applications or absentee ballot request forms. These efforts typically are legal, but they can be confusing or frustrating for voters and erode confidence in elections, especially when they are unsolicited. / Read more…



  • Avery To Receive $340,745 in Additional CARES Act Funding; Ag Building Community Room’s Audio Engineer Resigns

    August 7, 2020 During the regular monthly meeting of the Avery Board of Commissioners August 3, details were released that the county will be receiving a second allotment of CARES Act funding for more than one-third of a million dollars, a resolution regarding the Mayland Community College’s Anspack Advanced Manufacturing School was adopted and Inspections and Planning Director Tommy Burleson gave a report about the Eagles Nest Development in Banner Elk. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • AppalCART and App State Awarded $1M-Plus Grant for Electric Bus


    August 7, 2020  More than $1 million in grant funds — the result of a collaboration between AppalCART and Appalachian State University — may soon make an electric bus the transit option of choice for the High Country. Two North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) grant programs — the Diesel Bus and Vehicle Program and the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Infrastructure Program — will provide AppalCART with $1,001,500 toward the purchase of an electric bus and charging station. / Read more…



  • NC Public High School Fall Sports to be Delayed Again Beyond Sept. 1 with Governor Roy Cooper’s Coronavirus Phase 2 Extension

    August 6, 2020 The North Carolina High School Athletics Association announced August 6 that the start of its fall sports season will once again be delayed. And it remains uncertain when seasons will start for fall sports teams, which include football. Governor Roy Cooper announced Aug. 5 that North Carolina will stay in Phase 2 of its plan for recovery from the pandemic for another five weeks, pushing the expected end of the phase up to September 11. According to the NCHSAA’s recovery plan from the COVID-19 pandemic, high schools under its governing umbrella must complete three phases before the start of competition. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



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