• Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s COVID-19 Screening Working Well So Far

    March 20, 2020. The initial program by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System to begin screening for the COVID-19 coronavirus has been functioning as well as could be hoped at this point. “The testing facilities are in place and they have been successful and have been achieving what we set out for them to do,” said Rob Hudspeth, Sr. Vice President for System Advancement at ARHS. Patients who are sick and believe they might have COVID-19 symptoms can begin the process for getting tested by an initial online screening provided by RelyMD. RelyMD features board-certified physician visits through your computer, laptop or cell phone. ARHS employees have been using RelyMD for telehealth services for the last two years and have found it to be a unique alternative for people that cannot visit a doctor’s office. “RelyMD was a great idea and it’s working. We don’t have a line of people yet which I think is a blessing because we’ve needed a few days to make sure we were operationalizing in a way that is convenient and safe and so far so good,” said Hudspeth.By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Appalachian State University’s Chancellor Sheri Everts’ Message on What Monday Will Look Like

    March 20, 2020 First, my sincere thanks to each of you who has stepped up these past few weeks as we adjust to rapidly developing, unprecedented challenges. Faculty and staff are working long hours to transition to alternative course delivery for our students. We are keenly focused always on the health and safety of our campus community and the fulfillment of our academic mission. For many of us, the “Appalachian Experience” is firmly grounded in a sense of place. We are all saddened by our empty classrooms and sunny days with no hammocks and slacklines, and while we are fortunate to have technology to keep us connected, Zoom meetings and Panopto just aren’t the same.  / Read more…



  • App State Announces Spring 2020 Commencement Will Be Virtual; Details to Come

    March 20, 2020 Appalachian State University’s Chancellor Sheri Everts announced today the university’s Spring 2020 Commencement will be held virtually. May graduates will have the option to participate in December 2020 Commencement. In an announcement to campus, Everts said “There are many details to work out, but please know my leadership team and I are committed to preserving, to the greatest extent possible, the essence of the celebrations and milestones of the final weeks of the Spring semester, including Commencement.” In her announcement Everts also stated, “On Monday, Appalachian will begin a new normal,” and provided updates pertaining to the university’s adjustments in light of the Coronavirus and its disease COVID-19. Students will begin studies online and through alternative course delivery methods on Monday, March 23  / Read more…



  • Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order Allows for Additional Unemployment Benefits During Coronavirus Pandemic Explained Here

    March 20, 2020 With the uncertainty that continues to surround businesses during this coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order that will hopefully make it easier for many affected employees to receive unemployment benefits. The executive order suspended the one-week waiting period for benefits and will not require people to look for another job to obtain benefits. Two of the most significant changes are that workers who may not be unemployed but did have some of their hours cut back can receive benefits and employers will not be held responsible for unemployment payments due to the virus outbreak throughout North Carolina. “We know this will be a hardship on owners, on customers, and on workers involved. We know this will cost people jobs, but we are doing all we can to alleviate problems however we can. We will work tirelessly and make the very best decisions we can,” said Governor Cooper in a statement announcing the changes to unemployment benefits. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Copy of Avery County’s State of Emergency Declaration Released Friday Afternoon

    March 20, 2020 Please find attached the SOE for Avery county. Thank you all for your support through this trying time. Remember Together We Are Avery County. Phillip Barrier Avery County Manager  / Read more…



  • Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended from April 15 to July 15

    March 20, 2020 For many people trying to figure out how to make time to file their income taxes while dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, at least one burden was lifted off their shoulders today. In an announcement by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday morning, the federal income tax filing deadline has been extended our three months with no penalty or accrued interest during that time. According to data provided by the Internal Revenue Service, a total of 59.2 million refunds had already been issued this tax season and 76.2 million individual tax returns had been received. Tax refund checks have averaged $2,973. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Senator Richard Burr Sells Off $1.7 Million in Stocks After Being Briefed on Potential Impact of COVID-19 Coronavirus


    March 20, 2020 United States Senator and former U.S. House District 5 Representative Richard Burr is on the hot seat after news broke that he sold off $1.7 million in stocks after receiving briefings about the potential impact that the coronavirus was going to have on the United States economy. The story was first reported by NPR and included audio recordings of Sen. Burr speaking at a luncheon at the Capitol Hill Club. He cautioned people at the luncheon about the dire circumstances of the spread of the virus and how bad things could get. However, he made no such mention of any of these warnings in an op-ed featured on FOX News. Sen. Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligent Committee and was instrumental in the writing of the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA), which details how the federal government would respond to such pandemics. Sen. Burr released a statement on Twitter Friday morning in response to the recent financial disclosure of his stock selloff. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • High Country Real Estate Sales Up 20 Percent Through First Two Months of 2020


    March 20, 2020 Realtor home sales were up 20 percent through the first two months of 2020, according to the latest real estate report from the High Country Association of Realtors. Sales remain strong midway through March, with about 100 listings already sold in the region. This as the nation reacts to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. February historically has been one of the quieter months of the year. Yet Realtors still managed to sell more homes then than in any February since 2006. That’s according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which records sales activity by Realtors active in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties dating back to 2006. Realtors sold 170 multi- and single-family homes worth $50.45 million in February. That represented a 12 percent increase from February 2019, when 149 homes worth $52.32 million were sold. The median sold price – the price at which half of all listings sold either above or below – last month was $244,500. The average sold price – all sales divided by properties sold – was $296,787. / Read more…



  • Hospitality House Has Dedicated Webpage for Official Statements; And Ways Public Can Help

    March 20, 2020 Due to the swift, unprecedented changes happening daily – and sometimes multiple times a day – Hospitality House has set up a dedicated webpage to provide all official statements, operational updates; as well as ways the public can help during the novel coronavirus (COVID – 19) pandemic. Please click Read More for website link. / Read more…



  • Spring Arrives and Brings Warm Weather and Some Sunshine to the High Country

    March 20, 2020 Thursday marked the first day of spring and with it some much-needed sunshine and some nice, warm spring temperatures across the area. Temperatures jumped into the upper 60s in most parts of the High Country on Thursday and is heading in the same direction for Friday with a generous amount of sunshine Friday morning and early Friday afternoon before rain showers return to the forecast Friday evening and the remainder of the weekend. Temperatures will also drop back into the 50s and even upper 40s. This year, the first day of spring is much earlier than normal. In fact, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, March 19 is the earliest arrival of the spring equinox in 124 years. The last time the first day of spring was not on March 20 or March 21 was in 1896. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Boone Chamber Shares Information on SBA Disaster Loans for NC Small Businesses

    March 20, 2020 On March 13th, Governor Cooper requested that the Small Business Administration issue a disaster declaration in all counties in North Carolina to make SBA disaster assistance loans available to North Carolina’s small business owners dealing with the economic difficulties created by COVID-19. SBA approved the Governor’s request late Wednesday afternoon, issuing a disaster declaration for all 100 North Carolina counties. Below are details regarding the process that small businesses will follow to apply for a disaster loan through SBA, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about the loans. / Read more…



  • LifeStore Bank and Insurance Announce Closures of Bank Lobbies; New Alternate Plans in Place

    March 20, 2020 LifeStore Bank and Insurance takes the safety of our employees, customers and the communities we serve very seriously and have made the decision to temporarily limit lobby access for all LifeStore Bank and Insurance locations to appointment only beginning Friday, March 20, 2020. The drive thru is open at the following locations: 1441 Mt. Jefferson Road, West Jefferson; 840 East Main Street, Jefferson and 1675 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. / Read more…



  • Tweetsie Railroad Is Postponing Park Opening

    March 20, 2020 Tweetsie Railroad is postponing its park opening date to adhere to the current recommendations from the CDC and the State of North Carolina. We will continue to monitor the situation and guidance from public health professionals to determine when the park will open. Visit www.tweetsie.com for the most current information. / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell’s March 19th Newsletter on Coronavirus Updates, Announcements and Info

    March 20, 2020 Thursday, the first instance of “community spread” of coronavirus within North Carolina was reported. A person in Wilson County tested positive who had no known contact with any person with the virus. All previous cases could be traced to a known contact with someone with the virus or from travel outside the country. We knew this would happen eventually, but this event signals a new milestone in the spread of the disease and in how public health professionals will combat it. Across the United States, as of Thursday afternoon, March 19, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is 13,060. Of those, 165 people have died. The rate of growth in confirmed cases and death is increasing. As of Thursday afternoon, March 19, North Carolina has 126 cases of coronavirus. The increase on Thursday is an alarming 72%. Thankfully, no one in North Carolina has died from coronavirus. / Read more…



  • U.S. Residents Express High Anxiety About Coronavirus, Split on National Response in Survey

    March 19, 2020 A new national survey by the Elon University Poll has found high levels of anxiety about the personal and financial impact from the novel coronavirus 2019, known at COVID-19, with uncertainty about the possible toll of the virus upon the U.S. population. The population is divided over whether leaders are exaggerating or downplaying the threat from COVID-19 and whether health officials have an accurate idea of the scale of the outbreak nationally. / Read more…



  • Watauga Library Closed to Public; Curbside and Online Services Will Be Available

    March 19, 2020 Appalachian Regional Library, with public libraries in Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties, is closed to the public due to the COVID 19 situation, beginning Wednesday, March 18, through at least Monday, March 30. We are acting out of an abundance of caution both for our staff and for the library users who come into our buildings. We are constantly assessing the ongoing situation with the hope of opening to the public again as soon as safely possible. Below is a list of services currently offered at some of our libraries. / Read more…



  • Justice Department Issues Warnings for Covid-19 Scams, Urging the Public to Remain Vigilant

    March 19, 2020 Today, U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray and the FBI issued a warning, urging the public to remain vigilant against COVID-19 scams. “I encourage everyone to be on heightened alert about potential scams related to COVID- 19,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “At the request of the United States Attorney General, I have directed federal prosecutors in my office to prioritize the detection, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct related to COVID-19. We will not allow scammers to profit from this outbreak.” Possible types of COVID-19 scams are: / Read more…



  • Avery Sheriff’s Department to Assist with Delivery of Essential Items for Elderly or Sick

    March 19, 2020 Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye announced on Wednesday, March 18th, that the Sheriff’s Department will assist with delivering groceries, prescriptions and other items in the county during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Sheriff released the following statements about the initiative on social media: “While many public agencies are lessening services, the Avery County Sheriff’s Office is going to try to increase our service to our county. Starting tomorrow (Thursday, March 19) from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, if you are elderly or have an immunity issue, if you call a local grocery store, local pharmacy or local restaurant and pay your bill over the phone, we (sheriff’s department personnel) will pick up your groceries, medication or meals and deliver them to your front door. This will take coordination, so please call the store, pharmacy or restaurant first, then call us knowing that we will try to respond within an hour of notificationBy Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • High Country United Way to Provide Information Services & Relief Fund

    March 19, 2020 Governor Roy Cooper has announced that 2-1-1 is the number to call for assistance and resources related to the COVID-19 coronavirus.   NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service, operated by United Way of North Carolina, where individuals can obtain free and confidential information on health and human service resources within the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Resources are available in most languages. Locally, High Country United Way is proud to provide funding and support to bring 2-1-1 to Avery, Watauga, Mitchell, and Ashe Counties. “NC 2-1-1 is an important resource for families in our community who may experience a crisis.  We anticipate increased needs across the community, and support for 2-1-1 is just one of the ways we are working to assist our community” said Marti Phillips, High Country United Way Executive Director. / Read more…



  • Latest Update: App State’s Information About Paid Administrative Leave, Hours of Operation and Parking Updates

    March 19, 2020 UNC System Interim President Roper has authorized paid administrative leave for university employees, including temporary and student employees, for certain COVID-19-related absences, effective March 16 – March 31. Effective immediately: students, faculty and staff with valid parking permits may park in any surface lot on campus. / Read more…



  • U.S. Small Business Administration Grants Governor Cooper’s Request for Disaster Declaration to Support Small Businesses

    March 19, 2020  The U.S. Small Business Administration granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration for small businesses that are suffering economic losses due to the new Coronavirus, COVID-19. “Many small businesses are desperate right now and this SBA approval will help,” said Governor Cooper. “Even more is needed and we will continue to push for additional assistance while we work to protect the health of North Carolinians.”  At the Governor’s request, the SBA granted a disaster declaration to small businesses across the state, allowing affected businesses to apply for low interest SBA disaster loans   / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell’s March 18th Newsletter on Coronavirus Updates, Announcements and Info

    March 19, 2020 As of Wednesday afternoon, March 18, North Carolina has 73 cases of coronavirus. Thankfully, no one in North Carolina has died from coronavirus. Officials believe more people have the virus, and that as more testing is available, more cases will be discovered. Watauga County reported its second positive test for coronavirus today. Our prayers are with both individuals. Both people are in quarantine and recovering. The first individual contracted the virus during foreign travel. The second individual was exposed to a known positive case. It is important to note that the source of both cases can be traced to a specific known source, not from unattributable, general community contact. Ashe has no reported cases of coronavirus. As of 10 AM, 1,850 tests for coronavirus have been completed in North Carolina and many more are in process. / Read more…



  • Second Watauga County Resident Tests Positive for COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus


    March 18, 2020 A second Watauga County resident has tested positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). This case was exposed to a known positive case. They have been in quarantine and are recovering. The local public health staff has identified close contacts, who are in quarantine. “We have been preparing to see more positive cases of COVID-19 in our community and our staff and other agencies have been working to protect the public’s health. We want to encourage the public to practice social distancing and take prevention measures like frequent handwashing, staying home when you’re sick, and keeping distance from others who are sick. Keeping our community healthy is our top priority, and we will work to keep the community informed,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare. AppHealthCare is working closely with local partners and agencies to ensure the public’s health is protected and precautions are being taken to protect all residents of Watauga County. / Read more…



  • New Testing Program Announced – ARHS Offers New Way to Get COVID-19 Screening

    March 18, 2020. On Wednesday morning, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System announced it will begin a new process for detecting potential COVID-19 coronavirus infections in the High Country. According to Rob Hudspeth, Sr. Vice President for System Advancement at Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, patients who are sick and believe they might have COVID-19 symptoms can begin the process for getting tested by an initial online screening provided by RelyMD. RelyMD features board-certified physician visits through your computer, laptop or cell phone. ARHS employees have been using RelyMD for telehealth services for the last two years and have found it to be a unique alternative for people that cannot visit a doctor’s office. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, March 9 – March 15

    March 18, 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



  • Gas Prices Drop as Travel Slows and Oil Demand Decreases Around the World; Regular Gasoline Drops Below $2 Per Gallon in Boone


    March 18, 2020 Gas prices in the High Country and the rest of the United States have dropped steadily over the past few weeks after government officials have recommended social distancing and limiting unnecessary travel. According to the GasBuddy traveling app, the lowest price reported in Boone was $1.96 at Gastown located on Hardin Street. Several places in Boone including both Speedway locations on Highway 421 and the Speedway location on Blowing Rock Road, Circle K on Blowing Rock Road and the Carolina Petro on Blowing Rock Road all reported a price of $2.01 per gallon. In neighboring West Jefferson, gas prices haven’t quite fallen down to $2 just yet but are getting closer. Ingles reported a gas price of $2.03 per gallon while BP was $2.06, Murphy USA was $2.07 and Quality Plus was $2.09. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Shooting Stars 2020 Canceled Due to Ongoing Public Health Concerns


    March 18, 2020 In alignment with and guidance from federal and state agencies–and in consultation with the  Watauga County School system–the Watauga Education Foundation Board of Directors has decided to cancel this year’s Shooting Stars 2020 talent showcase. While this was a difficult decision to make, our nonprofit organization wants to make every effort possible to keep our students, educators, staff and community members as safe and healthy as possible. We join in responsibility and solidarity the global and community response. The performing arts auditions and visual arts videotaped interviews that were scheduled to take place at the Schaefer Center on March 28 have been canceled, and the artists reception scheduled for April 3 is also canceled; the Jones House is currently closed until further notice.  / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Keeping The Kids Content With Healthy Snacks


    March 18, 2020. During this unexpected break from school, and life as we knew it just a week ago, we’re all trying to adjust to a “new normal.” While we try not to cave into the chaos and fear that surrounds us in these uncertain times, it is especially important that we try to keep the younger kids, especially, from sensing our unrest. Hopefully, our families with kids at home now are coming up with innovative ways to keep boredom at bay and keep everyone well fed. Providing nutritious foods and snacks might be a challenge for many, but thankfully, our community and school system have come together to make sure kids are being fed daily, our food pantries are trying to meet additional needs and neighbors are helping neighbors. Yes, our routines are knocked out of balance, right now, but hopefully with a few handy tips, we can keep the kids happy and healthy by preparing food and snacks that are fun and nutritious. We also hope that we will have ongoing access to things like fresh veggies and fruit, handi-snack packs, Jell-O, cheese and yogurt. Even with just the basics right now, we can make food fun. Cut the PBJs with various cookie cutters and, if available, use other bread-like products such as pitas, bagels, English muffins, buns and tortilla wraps for hand-held choices. It might take a little experimenting to see what works for your family, but try to make the best of what you have on hand.. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Avery County Manager Updates Closures Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

    March 18, 2020. Like elsewhere across America and around the world, there have been many closures in Avery County due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. has provided an updated list of those in and affecting Avery County. Barrier, Jr. said that the Avery County Government would like to share that Avery County Emergency Management and the Health Department are working with local officials, Cannon Hospital, Avery County School System, 911 Communications, Emergency Management Services (EMS), Ambulance Services and fire and rescue to ensure and protect the health and well-being of Avery County citizens. “Our County Commissioners, the County Manager’s Office and our government and emergency services in general will “continue offering services to our citizens and businesses as well as our visitors, while protecting the welfare of local employees and volunteers.” By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Watauga County Student Feeding Schedule Reminder and Belongings Pickup Schedule This Week

    March 18, 2020 As a reminder, families are able to pick up laptops and belongings over the next two days at their child’s respective school, and ANYONE under 18 is able to come to any of the Watauga County Schools feeding sites for a meal every day that schools are closed. Lunch and a packed breakfast for the next day will be served at Bethel, Mabel and Green Valley schools from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each of the days that schools are closed for students. Dinner and breakfast for the next day will be served at Hardin Park School and Brushy Fork Baptist Church, located at 3915 Highway 421 North in Vilas, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. each of the days school is closed for students. All children under the age of 18 may get free meals at these sites regardless of where they live or attend school in Watauga County. Meals will be similar to what students receive from a normal school lunch/breakfast and will include items like sandwiches, vegetables and salads along with milk fruit and juice. / Read more…



  • Free Parking Announced in Downtown Boone and Other Assistance Info from Boone Town Offices

    March 18, 2020 The Town of Boone along with the Downtown Boone Development Association are working hard to support our downtown businesses.  Our local businesses are all critical pieces of our community infrastructure.  In an effort to make it easier to visit downtown businesses we have made parking free in downtown until April 13, with the potential to extend as needed.  We have also contacted downtown restaurants and given them the option to designate a space in front of their business to use for curbside pick-up.   / Read more…



  • COVID-19 Update from Watauga County Clerk of Court on Necessary Precautions Being Taken

    March 18, 2020 Watauga County Clerk of Court Diane Cornett Deal released the following statement in regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus precautions being taken at the court house. We are all trying to take necessary precautions to protect the public we serve as well as to protect our staff who are on the front lines during this Coronavirus pandemic. The Watauga County Clerk’s office is open as are other offices at the courthouse. We respectfully ask that if you are sick please do not come to the office. If you need to file paperwork in a case, please consider mailing it if possible. Many forms can be found at www.nccourts.gov. If you need assistance to find a particular form, call my office at 828-268-6600. And if you need to send anything by mail our address is: Clerk of Superior Court, 842 W King St., Boone, NC 28607. / Read more…



  • App State’s Information About Paid Administrative Leave, On-Campus Housing, Hours of Operation Guidance and Commencement

    March 18, 2020 Beginning March 23, App State will transition from in-person instruction to a system of alternative course delivery, where possible and practical, and we will return to in-person instruction as soon as reasonably possible. While residence halls and dining halls remain open, we are actively promoting social distancing, and have encouraged students to study and take classes from home.  Please see important updates below about paid administrative leave, hours of operation, on-campus housing, refunds, commencement and other mass gatherings: / Read more…



  • Rep. Ray Russell Announces Daily Newsletter on Coronavirus Updates, Announcements and Info

    March 18, 2020 This is the first installment of what will become a daily newsletter from Representative Ray Russell on coronavirus. Each weekday, I will glean news that I believe has direct impact on Northwest North Carolina. This will be shared by email and on social media.In North Carolina, as of 2 PM Tuesday afternoon, March 17, NC DHHS reported 30 confirmed cases of coronavirus; however, late this afternoon Duke University announced 15 individuals who have been travelling overseas have tested positive for the virus. Thankfully, no one in North Carolina has died from coronavirus. Watauga County has one confirmed case of coronavirus; Ashe has no reported cases. In North Carolina 1,100 people have been tested for coronavirus and thousands more are currently being processed. / Read more…



  • The Latest: AppHealthCare Recommends Ways to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in the Community

    March 17, 2020 With the cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) increasing in the US and NC, there are things each person, agency and organization can do to protect the community’s health and prevent the spread of COVID-19. “We know there are steps we can take now to slow the spread of this virus. We understand this is a difficult situation for everyone but want to reassure the public that supporting the health of our community is our top priority,” stated Jennifer Greene, Health Director, AppHealthCare. We strongly urge you to assess your risk and take action now to reduce your risk of infection, stated Ms. Greene. “We are working collaboratively to help protect the health of individuals and our community as a whole. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to keep themselves and others well and encourage you to remain mindful of the health of everyone in our community, especially those at higher risk of complications from illness. Although this is a difficult time with a lot of uncertainty, it is an opportunity to practice caring for each other and the larger community in new and important ways,” stated Dr. Jessica Ange, Medical Director, AppHealthCare. / Read more…



300 x 260

OUR PRINTED PUBLICATIONS

High Country Visitor GuideHigh Country Magazine

OUR NEW HOME MAGAZINE


Home-2018-Cover

Find Previous Articles

Privacy Policy | Rights & Permissions | Discussion Guidelines

Website Management by Outer Banks Media