• Republican Representatives Cast Blame on Governor Cooper, NCDHHS for COVID-19 Vaccination Strategies and Shortages

    January 27, 2021 North Carolina Republicans, two of which serve Watauga and Ashe County, are unhappy with current COVID-19 vaccination totals and are blaming state leaders for these problems. United States Representative Virginia Foxx and North Carolina Representative Ray Pickett, as well as N.C. House Speaker Roy Moore all issued statements on Wednesday with their concerns for the vaccination rollout and shortages. “For weeks, I’ve spoken with county health officials, constituents, and members of Operation Warp Speed regarding North Carolina’s progress on vaccine distribution. I’ve been present within countless conversations, and I’m troubled by the Cooper Administration’s previous actions. If Governor Cooper and his health advisors are to lead the state in vaccination efforts, their volatile strategy of distribution can’t be prolonged any further. Public health and transparency are true bedfellows, but when clear and concise directives from state officials and health authorities are not acted upon and made clear to the public, the floodgates are opened to numerous inequities and mismanagement. Hardworking citizens in Western North Carolina fear being left behind by their own government, and they’re beyond outraged at the efforts to date to protect them,” said Foxx.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • North Carolina Extends Modified Stay At Home Order as Numbers Begin to Stabilize in an Effort to Continue to Slow the Spread

    January 27, 2021 Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen today announced that North Carolina’s Modified Stay At Home Order, requiring people to be at home from 10 pm – 5 am, will be extended. Face covering requirements and restrictions on individuals gathering in both indoor and outdoor settings are still in place. Executive Order No. 189 will be in effect through at least Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. The extension of Executive Order No. 190 allowing for the sale of “to-go” or delivery of mixed beverages will continue to help businesses that are struggling right now. The extension of Executive Order No. 191 will help families have the ability to stay in their homes, a critical component of slowing the spread of the virus.  / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Survey Parent Interest for New Virtual Academy for K-8 Students for 2021-22

    January 27, 2021 Watauga County Schools has launched a survey to gauge community interest in participation in an online virtual public school for K-8 students in the 2021-22 school year. You can take the survey at http://bit.ly/WVAinterest or on the homepage of the district website www.wataugaschools.org. Currently, the district operates an online school called the Watauga Virtual Academy for students who are unable to attend school in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The district is now seeking feedback from parents across the community to determine interest in establishing the WVA as an ongoing institution in the coming school year. Next year, Watauga County Schools plans to operate the Watauga Virtual Academy as its own school as an opportunity for families who wish to participate in virtual education on an ongoing basis. Families will be able to apply for the new online school and acceptance would be limited to those who demonstrate that they can be successful in the highly digital/virtual setting. / Read more…



  • Snow Expected to Arrive Wednesday; National Weather Service Issues Winter Storm Warning


    January 27, 2021 The next round of snow to hit the High Country will arrive later this evening and continue overnight and Thursday morning with 2-6 inches of snow expected, according to the latest forecast from Ray’s Weather Center. Precipitation will begin as rain but quickly make the change over to snow as temperatures drop throughout the evening and overnight. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning that will go into effect at 6 p.m. this evening and continue through noon on Thursday. The NWS says that heavy snow will fall at times with most places in the High Country receiving 2-6 inches with locally higher amounts and larger snow totals at higher elevations. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • New Labor Data: North Carolina Ended 2020 with More Than 200,000 Jobs to Recover

    January 27, 2021 Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, economists started talking about the potential for a “K-shaped” recovery, with highly-paid workers bouncing back rapidly while many of the worst-paid workers experience long periods of unemployment. Data through the end of 2020 now show those fears to have been well-founded. One-third of the jobs lost at the outset of COVID-19 have not been recovered, and low-income workers are far more likely to have experienced prolonged periods of unemployment. / Read more…



  • Toe River Health District’s Coronavirus Vaccine Supply Depleted: Eagerly Awaits Second Allotment

    January 27, 2021 There have been 6,675 individuals inoculated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Moderna vaccine first dose combined in the Toe River Health District and North Carolina High Country counties of Avery, Mitchell and Yancey during the past two weeks. Those include persons ages 75 and up as well as medical professionals, law enforcement and other essential workers during the first week and then last week of ages 65 and up. There was to be three-day inoculation clinics in each of those counties for those in the latter age group again this week. However, those clinics were cancelled due to supplies running out in each county. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Beyond the Box With Girl Scout Cookies


    January 27, 2021. We know that Girl Scout Cookies stand alone as one of America’s favorite wintertime delights. It’s nearly impossible to say “No” when passing one of the familiar stands as you enter your local grocery store or see your young neighbor smiling at your door or from her corner booth this time of year. For just a short time, we’re able to savor these tasty treats, while at the same time knowing we are helping young girls raise funds for special events and learn skills to last a lifetime. There’s really no good excuse for most of us, barring a diabetic or related diagnoses, to turn down a box or three of these delectable cookies. Not only do they freeze well, but they also can be stretched into a mouthwatering dessert for the whole family to enjoy together. We’ve come across several ideas to put them to good use, beyond the normal indulgence, and hope you will try these recipes or come up with your own cookie creation. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Watauga High School Athletes for Good Donates Over 800 Pounds of Food to Casting Bread


    January 26, 2021 While many students returned to school after the holidays with goals of wiping the sleep out of their eyes and sharing TikTok videos, the students involved with Watauga High School’s Athletes for Good (AFG) held a food drive to increase food security in the High Country. From January 18-22, students, teachers, staff, and administrators responded by contributing food and personal care items. When the dust settled after collection week, Donna Wellborn, the AFG faculty sponsor, could hardly walk through her classroom without stepping over donations. The drive collected over 800 pounds of food and personal care items for Casting Bread’s food pantry. / Read more…



  • NFIB SURVEY: COVID-19 Tax Relief, Health Insurance Penalty and Minimum Wage Hike Are Among Top Concerns of NC Small Businesses

    January 26, 2021 Small business owners in the Tar Hill State say they should be allowed to deduct forgiven expenses paid for with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans on their state income taxes. That’s according to the 2021 NFIB North Carolina member ballot, released today. This year’s state ballot found that 87.5% of those responding believe the General Assembly should conform North Carolina’s tax code with federal law allow allowing the deduction of forgiven expenses.  / Read more…



  • Race Results & Team Standings from Third Week of SMARL’s 2021 Season – January 25th

    January 26, 2021 The rain parted and cleared out of the way Monday night just in time for the third week of races for the 2021 Sugar Mountain Adult Racing League season. Despite the good weather, the course conditions weren’t as decent. Matt Leonard of Ski Country Sports said last night’s race had some challenging conditions, as the snow was a little soft and got rutted out pretty quickly. However, there was still a good turnout for the race that took place on Oma’s Meadow, and racer’s gave it their best efforts.  By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • AARP-NC Mountain Region Offers Upcoming Online Events


    January 26, 2021 The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to address the needs and interests of middle-aged and elderly people. Due to COVID-19, all in-person activities have been canceled until further notice. However, the local AARP-NC Mountain Region has some upcoming online events. Check below for the offerings: / Read more…



  • N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein: Duke Energy Customers to Save Over $1.1 Billion Under New Coal Ash Settlement

    January 26, 2021 Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Monday that he, along with the Public Staff of the North Carolina Utilities Commission and the Sierra Club, has entered into a settlement with Duke Energy about paying for coal ash cleanup that will save North Carolina electricity customers more than $1 billion on their utility bills over the next 10 years. This settlement comes as the result of a 2017 challenge the Attorney General, the Public Staff, and the Sierra Club made to a Utilities Commission order that granted Duke Energy’s request that Duke Energy’s customers bear all the cost of cleaning up coal ash beyond a one-time $100 million environmental penalty the Utilities Commission assessed on Duke Energy. Attorney General Stein, the Public Staff, and the Sierra Club appealed that decision to the North Carolina Supreme Court, which issued its decision in December. Today’s settlement applies to cleanup costs incurred from 2015 through 2030.  / Read more…



  • A 2020 Look-Back for Feeding Avery Families – The Nonprofit Food Bank in Newland


    January 26, 2021 What a year it was for Feeding Avery Families, a non-profit organization fighting hunger in Avery County, North Carolina! The first couple of months of 2020 were “business as usual” as they worked on several new initiatives. Then COVID-19 hit in March. They immediately pivoted their distribution on Fridays from client-choice shopping inside to drive-through pick-up outside. The hard-working volunteers didn’t blink as they adjusted routines and came up with many “out of the box” ideas to get food to a growing number of hungry families. / Read more…



  • Junaluska Community Project Awarded $20,000 By Central Appalachia Arts & Cultural Growth Fund


    January 25, 2021  Located on a hill overlooking downtown Boone and being walking distance away from Appalachian State University, lies Junaluska,a historic African American neighborhood. The community began as a segregated neighborhood in the 19th century set apart from the larger community below it. Junaluska is one of the oldest African American communities in western North Carolina and one of the few surviving today. A project aimed to honor the Junaluska community has recently been awarded $20,000 from the Central Appalachia Arts & Cultural Growth fund, which derived from Artplace America.  By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • How New River Got its Flow Back: App State’s NRLP Completes Payne Branch Environmental Restoration Project with Removal of Dam


    January 25, 2021  After nearly three months of demolition, construction and restoration efforts, New River Light and Power (NRLP) — Appalachian State University’s nonprofit electric utility — has completed its grant-funded project to remove the historic Payne Branch dam, which was located off Highway 321, just south of Boone, on the Middle Fork of the New River. The project has helped rehabilitate an approximately 1,200-linear-foot section of the river corridor. App State Chancellor Sheri Everts said the project “is a win-win-win for our environment and the local recreation economy, which also offers important social benefits.” By Chris Nault and Jessica Stump / Read more…



  • Premier Sotheby’s Shatters the $7B Mark in 2020; Up 52% in the North Carolina Region


    January 25, 2021 Premier Sotheby’s International Realty announced today that it achieved a record $7.1 billion in total company sales volume for 2020, a 37% increase year-over-year. With more than 40 offices from Southwest Florida to the High Country of North Carolina, the brokerage closed 8,925 transactions (up 25%) and recorded an average sales price of $795,079, a 10% increase from 2019. In the North Carolina region, total sales volume was up 52% from 2019. The number of regional transactions increased 37% and the average sales price was up 11% year-over-year. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Parks and Recreation Food For Friends Food Drive Continuing Through Feb. 12

    January 25, 2021 Watauga County Parks and Recreation is teaming up with Hospitality House, Casting Bread and the Hunger & Health Coalition to collect food items for those in need in the community. With cold winter temperatures here and the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, food resources are needed now more than ever. Food items can be dropped off at the Watauga Community Recreation Center between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, through February 12. Food will be delivered to local food pantries on Valentine’s Day, February 14.   / Read more…



  • App State Upward Bound Program Currently Recruiting High School Students to Participate in the College Access Program


    January 25, 2021 The Upward Bound Program at Appalachian State University is currently seeking to enroll new students in a free, federally-funded, college preparatory program for potential first-generation and/or modest-income high school students. The program currently serves 163 students from seven Western North Carolina high schools: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Freedom, McDowell, Watauga, and West Wilkes. Students will participate in services such as cultural enrichment opportunities, a program of advising, tutoring, and weekend academies during the school year, and an academically intensive six-week summer program. Students are expected to remain with the program until graduation from high school.   / Read more…



  • New Project Opens Mountain Biking Possibilities in Western North Carolina with More Trails


    January 25, 2021 A trail restoration plan underway near Boone this winter will add miles of mountain biking and hiking trails to a popular destination in the Pisgah National Forest which makes up large portions of Western North Carolina. The Mortimer Trails Project is one of several forthcoming in the Grandfather Ranger District supported by private organizations to meet the soaring demand for recreation on public land units in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains. By Jack Igelman / Read more…



  • Wolf Records International Releases CD by High Country Residents, “King Bees Featuring The Greatest Blues Stars”


    January 22, 2021 The King Bees is a blues and American roots music band founded in the High Country 34 years ago by Rob “Hound Dog” Baskerville and Penny “Queen Bee” Zamagni. Baskerville plays the guitar and keys while Zamagni plays bass and is a singer and songwriter. Together, the King Bees call the mountains of North Carolina home in Ashe County; however, they often spend their time traveling with their music. The King Bees have performed on festival stages in European capitals including Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Stockholm and London and have taken their internationally-acclaimed music across numerous countries including the U.S. In the mid 1980s, Baskerville and Zamagni began traveling the deep South searching for and mentoring under blues artists of historical, cultural and musical significance. Many blues artists took the King Bees under their wings and guided the band toward the sound of authenticity. Now, the King Bees have a record that has been released which is a culmination of their career’s work.  By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Ski Slopes Reporting Awesome Conditions; Practically Every Trail Open in the High Country


    January 22, 2021 Another great weather weekend is in store for people that want to hit the ski slopes this weekend, and some great snow conditions will be awaiting their arrival. Between the three ski slopes in the High Country, just one trail at Sugar Mountain will not be open to crowds this weekend. “Conditions are fantastic this year. The snow depth is deep, the snow covers from tree line to tree line and the weather has cooperated; it is not frigid but it’s not too warm. It is perfect weather and slope conditions,” said Sugar Mountain Vice-President Kim Jochl. The only trail not open is Sugar Bear, otherwise, the resort will have 20 of 21 trails open this weekend. “These are the best conditions we’ve had for such a long period of time. Temperatures have been ideal at night for snowmaking then warming up slightly during the day,” said Jochl. Sugar Mountain will also have six lanes of snow tubing open and ice skating. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Nordic Skiing Strides to Pandemic Prominence


    January 22, 2021 Consistent cold and COVID claustrophobia have brought great attendance to local slopes this ski season—and the same thing has happened for cross country skiing. Even without big snows, a short list of local Nordic ski sites has seen a lot of striding and gliding over a season now passing the one-month mark. A lull seems likely in the next week but local enthusiasts hope to get all they can out of this weekend at places like Roan Mountain, west of Banner Elk, and Elk Knob State Park, north of Boone. Best of all, the area’s often snowiest months still lie ahead.By Randy Johnson / Read more…



  • The First 30 Days of Winter Have Felt Like … Well, Winter – with Snow Coverage Still Everywhere


    January 22, 2021 Just one month into the 2020-21 winter season and six weeks into what is considered meteorological winter, the Town of Boone has recorded more snow than the entire winter season in 2019-20. According to the most recent snow data provided by Ray’s Weather Center, Boone has recorded 15.6 inches of snow since December 1, the start of meteorological winter. Since December 21, the start of the winter solstice and the more traditionally defined winter season, Boone has had 13 inches of snow. In the 2019-20 winter season, Boone received just 9.1 inches of snow with only one day of the entire winter (February 20) receiving more than one inch of snow. At higher elevations, Sugar Mountain has recorded 50.5 inches of snow. The highest single-day total was on Christmas Day when nine inches of snow fell. Last year, Sugar Mountain had 66.2 inches of snow. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Mega Millions Jackpot Now $1 Billion for Friday’s Drawing; Odds of Winning 1 in 302.5 Million

    January 22, 2021 North Carolinians playing Mega Millions on Friday night will have their chance at winning a billion-dollar jackpot. Due to strong Mega Millions sales, the estimated jackpot was raised to a $1 billion annuity or $739 million cash. The Mega Millions jackpot has been rolling since September 18, 2020. Tonight’s drawing ranks as the: 2nd largest jackpot in Mega Millions history. 3rd largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.. / Read more…



  • Demolition of the Turner House Began in Downtown Boone Thursday, Continuing Friday


    January 22, 2021 A piece of history in downtown Boone will be no more as demolition work started on Friday morning at the site of the Turner House. D.H. Griffin Wrecking Company, Inc. is in charge of the demolition work and the county will be paying approximately $21,300 for the work. The Turner House is located at 136 North Water Street and was purchased by Watauga County in November of 2018. County commissioners voted just over a month ago to proceed with tearing down the building. The issue of what to do with the property has taken some unexpected turns as of late. In February of 2020, the Boone Town Council and the Watauga County Commissioners had shown interest in working together to build a parking deck on Queen Street that would allow for the Turner House to remain standing. However, the parking deck option appears to no longer be on the table and the county has proceeded with bulldozing the house. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Rep. Foxx Introduces Bill Establishing Transparency in the Paris Climate Agreement


    January 22, 2021 Today, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) issued the following statement on her introduction of the Protecting American Resources, Innovation and Sovereignty (PARIS) Act: “The Paris Climate Agreement (PCA) currently serves as a bad deal for Americans that fails to achieve its intended purpose, and one that puts the livelihoods of countless Americans in jeopardy. Given the historic reductions in U.S. emissions over the last 15 years, America’s innovation, resiliency and adaptation to our climate challenges should serve as bedrocks to build upon – not objects to tear down via the stifling taxes and extreme regulations found in the ‘Biden Climate Plan’.   / Read more…



  • Regional Homeless Point-in-Time Count January 27th; Agency Asks Public for Help


    January 21, 2021 Wednesday, January 27, 2021, marks the annual homeless Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care (CoC), is the annual documentation of the extent of homelessness in the High Country region, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey counties. The information from the PIT Count provides a valuable snapshot of the state and extent of homelessness in our region and informs support service providers on the priorities to prevent and end homelessness. The Point in Time Count is a requirement of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, which currently supports the Northwest CoC member agencies with $337,625 in competitive grant funding. / Read more…



  • Valle Crucis 8th Grader Hadley Carpenter Wins Statewide Essay Contest


    January 21, 2021 Valle Crucis 8th grader Hadley Carpenter recently took home the top prize in the 2020 Middle School NC Forestry Association’s Forest Products Week Essay Contest. Open to students across North Carolina, the contest tasked students to write an essay on an everyday product made from trees in North Carolina and how the item has helped them in their daily life. Carpenter’s winning Essay “The Beauty of Black Walnut” discussed a table created by her father and brother from a slab of wood collected near Mount Mitchell. / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, January 10 – January 17

    January 20, 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



  • Boone Parking Revenues Drop During Summer and Fall Months Compared to 2019; Parking Penalties Increase by Over $25,000


    January 20, 2021 Parking revenue from July 1, 2020, through November 30, 2020, was approximately $32,000 less than it was from the same period in 2019 when the Town of Boone took over its parking enforcement work downtown. However, during this same time, parking violation penalties increased from $87,579.52 in 2019 to $114,504.30 in 2020 from July through November. The cost of a parking ticket in downtown Boone is $12. According to data provided by the town, Boone had a net revenue of $410,470.97 from July 1, 2019, through November 30, 2019. Over the same period in 2020, the town had a net revenue of $378,003.41. The majority of parking revenue comes from the parking meters in the downtown area. In the five-month period in 2019, parking meter revenue was $245,842. In 2020, the number dropped slightly to $198,619. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Boosting The Immune System With Berries, Buttons And More


    January 20, 2021. We are nearing the end of the first month of the New Year and it’s time for a resolution check. Still not smoking? Good. How about those double burgers —still bypassing the drive-through, I hope? Is your treadmill doing its job, instead of serving as a coat rack? It’s not easy, but we can do this together. For several years I’ve been intrigued by folk remedies that have been passed down through the ages regarding foods that serve dual purposes. I have learned through the years that berries, mushrooms and more have been used to help boost our immune systems. It’s usually this time of year when we’re trying to avoid the flu and doing all we can to prevent its spread. My goodness, in the midst of this “unprecedented pandemic,” the efforts of most us are intensified and flu is rarely mentioned. We can use all the help we can get, so I invite you to take a look at some of the more common natural ways to boost our immunity while we’re working to improve our health. The following suggestions are mostly “remedies” that have been passed down, so not all are medically substantiated. I’m definitely no medical professional, just an old country girl who believes that nature has healing powers. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Girls Go Shred Offers Community for Women Involved in Snow Sports to Network and Meet


    January 19, 2021 Around eight years ago after Kristen Gray graduated college, her brother, Jeff Johnson, offered her a job in Banner Elk at the Edge of World Snowboard Shop, where he is the owner. When Gray started working at the shop, she was the only woman employee, and she noticed this on the slopes too. “Whenever I would go ride, I would always go ride with boys, and I never really saw a big group of girls riding together,” Gray said. “And it was really hard to meet other women who snowboarded.” Being relatively new to the area, Gray didn’t know many snowboarders, and she figured it was time for a change. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Race Results and Team Standings from Second Week of SMARL’s 2021 Season


    January 19, 2021 The Sugar Mountain Adult Race League continued their race series Monday night after taking a week off last week due to inadequate conditions. However, after the break and a busy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the racers were back out enjoying a little skiing and snowboarding. Matt Leonard of Ski Country Sports said the second week of racing had fabulous conditions. “Last night was great,” Leonard said. “The course was good as always with tons of snow, and there was a good turnout. Everybody had a busy weekend, so it was fun to get out and ski a little bit.” By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Toe River Health District Has Received 6,000-Plus COVID-19 Vaccine; Has Inoculated 1,817 Citizens

    January 18, 2021 Diane Creek, Director of the Toe River Health District, which encompasses health departments in Avery, Mitchell and Yancey, NC counties said the district has received 6675 doses combined of the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine, as of January 17th. Creek provided the following breakdown of the vaccine that has been administered to citizens of those respective counties age 75 years and older as well as their healthcare workers: Avery County:  759, Mitchell County:  482 and Yancey County:  576. Creek noted that the Toe River Health District has only the Moderna vaccine (not the Pfizer vaccine) available. By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • AppHealthCare Hosts First Mass Vaccination Clinic at Watauga High School Distributing A Total of 1,168 Doses During Saturday’s Event


    January 17, 2021 AppHealthCare hosted its first mass vaccination event at Watauga High School on Jan. 16, where a total of 1,168 eligible people received their first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. To be eligible for the vaccine, AppHealthCare scheduled people who are health care workers, long-term care staff and residents as well as anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation. This is considered Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. AppHealthCare Health Director Jennifer Greene said the event went well, and they had a big team effort, as folks from Watauga Medical Center, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Boone Fire Department, Boone Police Department as well as members of the rotary club and other local partners were present helping. “We’re really excited about all of the volunteer efforts,” Greene said.   By Harley Nefe / Read more…



300 x 260

OUR PRINTED PUBLICATIONS

High Country Visitor GuideHigh Country Magazine

OUR 2020 FAITH MAGAZINE


Home-2018-Cover

Find Previous Articles

Privacy Policy | Rights & Permissions | Discussion Guidelines

Website Management by Outer Banks Media