• Casa Rustica’s Peter Pedroni Memorial Charity Dinner Event Sold Out, Benefiting LIFE Village


    November 22, 2019. On November 15th, the Peter Pedroni Memorial Charity event was held at the Fairway Café & Venue at the Boone Golf Club. The event is presented by Casa Rustica Restaurant and Catering, a local Italian-American restaurant, and benefits this year’s charity: LIFE (Living Innovations For Exceptional) Village. The Memorial Charity event has traditionally been a golf tournament held earlier in the year, near the end of summer, with holes sponsored by individual business. This time around, the golf tournament was dropped, with a dinner held in its stead at the club’s dining venue. The owners of Casa Rustica, Rick Pedroni and his wife Liz, have been working closely with LIFE Village to put the event together. Originally LIFE Village would have sponsored the golf tournament this year, but the change of event hasn’t affected their involvement or overall goal. By Adam Estabrook / Read more…



  • Beech Mountain Resort Set for Big Opening Day on Saturday


    November 22, 2019. Snowmaking is in full swing at Beech Mountain gearing up for Saturday’s opening of the 2019-20 ski season. Skiers and snowboarders may notice a few upgrades that Beech Mountain made over the summer, including 34 brand new LED slope lights to make those night skiing trips down the slopes even more fun. In addition to the lighting upgrade, Beech Mountain has made significant strides in increasing its snowmaking capabilities that included a new water pumping system and 6,500 feet of new water and air lines with a diameter anywhere from 12 to 24 inches. “The new pump automatically engages so what the snowmakers say, it has made a really big difference. We can pump 3,000 gallons of water up the hill so it has made for a big improvement,” said Talia Freeman, the Director of Marketing for Beech Mountain Resort. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Mast Farm Inn Lawsuit Against School Board Completely Dismissed in Superior Court

    November 21, 2019. Superior Court Judge Susan E. Bray signed an order Nov. 14 completely dismissing the lawsuit filed by Deschamps Holdings, LLC and others against the Watauga County Board of Education that sought to prevent the school board from purchasing the Hodges Property in Valle Crucis for the construction of a new school. In her order, the judge rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction to stop the school board from completing its purchase of the property. Judge Bray determined the plaintiffs could not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of their case if it went to trial. The Judge also found that the plaintiffs could not show that the use of the Hodges Property for a school would cause irreparable harm to the Mast Farm Inn and could not show how the inn’s legal rights were in jeopardy. In addition, the judge found that the plaintiffs’ did not have legal standing through any of their claims to permanently prevent the Watauga County Board of Education from purchasing the Hodges Property. The signing of the order follows an earlier hearing before Judge Bray on Oct. 29 in Boone. / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Giving Thanks on One of America’s Favorite Holidays


    November 20, 2019. The calendar pages have rapidly turned this year and within sight now is one of America’s favorite holidays. Thanksgiving Day is just around the next corner, evidenced in large part by this week’s supermarket circulars. Turkeys (at a very attractive price, I might add), celery, stuffing mix, sweet potatoes, etc., are all a part of the plan. A good cook knows that one cannot wait until the day before the big day to begin preparations. I hope that for at least this one day we all might enjoy a peaceful time with family and friends as we pay tribute to the occasion for what it was designed – to give thanks for our many blessings. Perhaps these side dishes will add to the flavor of your family table. Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx Announces Plans to Run for Re-Election for N.C. 5th District

    November 19, 2019. U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) announced on November 15th that she plans to run for re-election to the United States House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District in 2020. Foxx made the following statement: “After yet another case of uncertainty and confusion created by the court’s meddling in North Carolina’s congressional district boundaries, the people of western North Carolina deserve certainty and clarity about who is running to represent them in Congress,” Foxx said.  “So I am making my intentions very clear today: I plan to run for re-election in 2020 in the 5th District.”  / 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



  • Smoking: Largely Hidden but Still a Major Killer / The 44th Great American Smokeout Focuses on Populations Still Smoking

    November 19, 2019. For the 44th Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Thursday, November 21, 2019, the American Cancer Society is highlighting the hidden epidemic of smoking in some populations.  Smoking is still prominent among different groups of people, including those in lower education and/or socioeconomic groups; individuals in certain racial/ethnic groups; people living with substance abuse issues or mental illness; and those in the military. Smoking rates have dropped so dramatically in the U.S. that many people can go days, weeks, or even months without being exposed to tobacco smoke. Adult smoking rates dropped from 42% in 1965 to 14% in 2017. However, in a recent report from the American Cancer Society, tobacco use, and its disease impact are increasingly concentrated among at-risk and frequently overlapping populations.  / Read more…



  • Hickory Ridge Living Museum Brings History Alive


    November 18, 2019. While summer’s long-running outdoor drama, Horn in the West, sleeps off its tale of Dr. Jeffrey Stuart and early settlers’ journey at the time of America’s Revolution, its sister attraction, Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, is basking in the afterglow of a fast and furious Fall Season. As leaves fell on age-old paths, local enthusiasts, museum interpreters and history majors from Appalachian State University commemorated the Battle of Kings Mountain. Reenactors in British red coats and pioneers in scruffy homespun laid siege to the wooded hills. With fire, fury and Instagramed selfies, they sought to prove once again the Patriots’ hard-won victory. When the reenactors’ rebel yells had faded away, they were quickly replaced by the excited shrieks of young visitors who time-travelled back to the 18th century haunts of their forefathers. Eschewing their smart phones and video games, school children of all ages raced through the crackling leaves to explore wonders of times gone by. By Phyllis MacBryde / Read more…



  • Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition Announces Jurors for 17th Annual Competition


    November 18, 2019. The 17th Annual Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition (AMPC) is still accepting submissions for the competition. “The deadline is fast approaching, and closes at 5:00pm on Friday Nov. 22” states AMPC organizer Rich Campbell. “We have a lot of submissions coming in, and once the competition closes, jurors will begin the process of going through every image, and narrowing the exhibition to approximately 50 images which will be selected for the AMPC exhibition this year which runs from March 6 – June 1, 2020 in the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts.” The Appalachian Mountain Photography Competition will showcase images in numerous categories and over $4,000 in cash and prizes for the prize winning photographs. / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock Tour of Homes Distributes $85,620 to 24 Local Nonprofits from Summer Fundraiser

    November 18, 2019. The Outreach Committee of Blowing Rock’s St. Mary of the Hills Tour of Homes recently announced that 24 local nonprofit agencies and organizations have been named recipients of this year’s event proceeds. According to the 2019 Tour of Homes chairperson, Radie Armstrong, this year’s fundraising event, which marked the 61st of its kind, was an overwhelming success and allowed the funding to be spread well across the area. Known as one of Blowing Rock’s premiere events, the annual Tour of Homes, held each July, has helped support hundreds of worthy causes within the High Country region for decades. Funds from this year’s tour, in addition to the patron’s party, which always precedes the main event, and known this year as the Gala at the Car Barn, brought in $85,620. “We of the St. Mary’s tour committee are most appreciative of the response from church members and the public for their generosity and concern for High Country neighbors in need,” said Armstrong. “We are delighted to be able to award these grants to such deserving organizations.”  By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Hawksnest Snow Tubing Opening On Earliest Date in History this Saturday


    November 15, 2019. Snow tubers will be able to hit the tubing lanes on Saturday at Hawksnest as they will open at their earliest date in the 28-year history of Hawksnest. Owner Lenny Cottom is more than ready to get the season off to a big start this early in November. “We’re excited. This is the earliest opening in our history. We’ve been here 28 years now and this is the earliest opening we’ve ever done by at least two weeks,” said Cottom. “We will have all parks open, we won’t be up to our 30 lanes right away but we will be mid-teens probably. It will still make for a fun time this time of year and the weather will still be nice this weekend so it will be good.” Hawksnest has three conveyors to take tubers to the top of the lanes. When the park is at full capabilities, there are 30 different lanes open for tubing. Lane sizes range from 400 feet to 1,000 feet long. Hawksnest is also the largest snow tubing park on the east coast. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Schools Prepare for Winter Weather


    November 15, 2019. With another high country winter well underway, Watauga County Schools would like to remind families how the district makes and communicates decisions about the operation of school during inclement weather. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott said during severe weather, he considers every possibility to keep school open and on a regular schedule, but certain conditions often force delays and cancellations. “Changes in the school schedule have a real impact on our families, so I don’t make the decision to delay or cancel school without serious consideration,” Elliott said. “But when it is necessary for us to make a change to the schedule, I want to be sure we do the best possible job to communicate those changes.” When bad weather begins overnight, the process for making decisions about the operation of school kicks off at 3 a.m. when Elliott and Transportation Director Jeff Lyons begin the process of gathering information about road conditions and the most current weather forecast. / Read more…



  • Grandfather Mountain Officials Discuss Environmental Changes and Climate Threats in WNC with National Audubon Society


    November 14, 2019. Dozens of nature lovers and bird advocates braved the wintry weather Wednesday to hear officials from Audubon North Carolina and Grandfather Mountain talk with N.C. Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael S. Regan about the climate challenges facing wildlife and plant communities in the North Carolina mountains. For a variety of bird species, the high-elevation western part of the state holds critical habitat, but these species also face unique climate threats, the speakers said. A new climate report by Audubon, called Survival by Degrees, found that more than 200 bird species in North Carolina are threatened with extinction because of rising temperatures and more extreme weather, and the majority of breeding species at risk are native to western North Carolina.  The list includes iconic and beloved birds like the Wood Thrush, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Ruffed Grouse, Canada Warbler and 20 other warbler species. Native plants face similar threats, including distinctive and important plant communities like beech and hemlock cove forests. / Read more…



  • Appalachian Ski Mtn. Will Have Its Earliest Opening in 25 Years This Friday, Nov. 15


    November 11, 2019. Friday will mark a new date in history for Appalachian Ski Mtn. This will be the earliest opening day since the early 1990s. “It will be a historic day, it will be the earliest we’ve opened in a quarter-century so that’s pretty cool. Conditions are going to be amazing, November cold fronts aren’t usually quite this perfect for snowmaking so we’re doing as much as we can and we should have several slopes, if not the majority of the slopes open at peak season conditions,” said Drew Stanley, the Marketing Director at Appalachian Ski Mtn. There will be at least one and possibly two of the terrain parks open on Friday as well. Stanley said he would know more for sure about the terrain parks on Thursday. As has become a tradition at Appalachian Ski Mtn., the first 100 guests on opening day to purchase their ticket at the cashier window will receive a free ticket for use at a later date. The timing could not have been much better, especially with the first holiday weekend of the ski season quickly approaching. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, November 4 – November 10

    November 13, 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



  • Boone Breaks Low Temperature Record that Stood for Nearly 70 Years

    November 13, 2019. The brutally cold temperatures on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning led to a new record low temperature for this date in history. The overnight low was recorded at 14 degrees in Boone, breaking the previous record set in 1950 of 15 degrees, according to data provided by Ray’s Weather Center. Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain and Snake Mountain had the lowest recorded temperatures as each weather station recorded low temperatures of 5 degrees. Schools in Watauga, Avery and Ashe all opened today but were on delays, thanks to some frozen patches of ice on some roadways and the cold temperatures that everyone woke up to across the High Country. For the rest of the week, high temperatures will stay in the mid-40s for the most part with lows hovering in the upper 20s and lower 30s, which might feel like a heatwave compared to the single-digit and below zero wind chills that were felt overnight Tuesday and Wednesday morning.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Creatures Of Habit We Are – All the Way to Pumpkin Pie


    November 13, 2019. Isn’t it amazing how we become such creatures of habit? I mean, how many of us really do eat pumpkin pie in the summer? I’m sure it’s just as good in July as it is in November. Do we enjoy pickled eggs and potato salad at any other time of year as much as we do at Easter? What about red velvet cakes, fudge and peppermint candy — does it really taste the same in August as it does at Christmas? How many of us plan a picnic for New Year’s Eve — even if it just means spreading a blanket in the living room floor by the fireplace? You get my drift, because we do have those long-standing traditions that are not easily broken. So, now, as we do every November, we’ve got to get those pumpkin pies rolling! Enjoy the season and make every moment count — regardless of what you do, when or how By Sherrie Norris / 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



  • High Country Community Health Prepared to Help You Navigate the Health Insurance Marketplace

    November 12, 2019. If you have ever had questions or concerns about signing up for the right health insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, now is the time to put those concerns to rest. Alex Noriega at High Country Community Health in Boone is here to help. “We don’t pressure people to sign up for anything. We’re not brokers, so we’re not making a commission or anything. We are certified application counselors here to help people,” said Noriega. Each year, uninsured individuals visit the online health insurance marketplace to look at the numerous plans available and choose the one that best fits their needs. However, many times it is much easier and cheaper if you use the free help offered by these certified counselors to make sure you are getting the coverage you want. “It’s through the marketplace where people can sign up for their health insurance and apply for a tax credit based on household income and household size,” said Noriega. “Once we finish the application, it is a real-time process so they are able to immediately see the plans offered to them through the marketplace. I highly recommend people come in and look at all the options being offered, you never know if you might be able to save some money.”  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • High Country Home Sales for the Year Peak in October; Over 2,100 Homes Sold So Far in 2019


    November 12, 2019. The busy summer selling season has yet to end for local Realtors, with sales in October at a 14-month high. It was the third consecutive month of near-record sales for members of the High Country Association of Realtors, which represents real estate professionals in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. They sold more homes in August, September and October than all but one other month since 2005. The median sold price in each of those three months – the price point at which half of all homes sold above or below – was above $240,000. That’s according to the High Country Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Going back to May, local Realtors have sold more than 200 homes each month, peaking in October when they sold 290 residential and multi-family homes worth $86.12 million. Dating back to 2005, only in August 2018 have Realtors sold as many homes in a month (295). / Read more…



  • Reaching The World With A Shoebox Nov. 18-25: National Collection Week For Operation Christmas Child Sponsored by Samaritans Purse


    November 12, 2019. If you ever thought it was impossible to make a difference in the world from the comfort of your home, think again. One of the easiest opportunities to impact the world — and especially, its children — is practically at your fingertips and at your front door. By participating in the annual Operation Christmas Child Shoebox project, sponsored by the Boone-based ministry of Samaritans Purse, you might give a child the first gift he or she has ever received. OCC is considered the world’s largest Christmas outreach of its kind, having delivered more than 168 million gift -filled shoeboxes to millions of children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters and other crisis in more than 160 countries and territories. Last year alone, more than 8.8 million shoeboxes were collected in the United States for distribution, with more than 10.6 worldwide. In 2019, the project hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 11 million children.. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, and More to Perform at MerleFest 2020


    November 12, 2019. MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months. / Read more…



  • Snow and Frigid Temperatures Arrive in the High Country with Low Temps Nearing Single Digits; Watauga, Avery and Ashe Schools Cancel Classes

    November 12, 2019. The High Country saw its first real widespread snowfall on Tuesday morning with Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties all canceling school for students. Some higher elevations saw between three and four inches of snow while areas around Boone, West Jefferson and Banner Elk saw a couple of inches that led to some slushy road conditions throughout the area. Classes at Appalachian State University were not affected by the weather, however, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute’s Watauga Campus will delay its opening until noon today. The wintry precipitation will leave the area this afternoon, but the bone-chilling temperatures are just now arriving. According to the latest weather forecast from Ray’s Weather Center, the low temperature in Boone tonight is expected to drop down to 14 degrees. Higher elevations such as Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and areas around Grandfather Mountain will see low temperatures drop into the single digits.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • SMARL Racing Action Returns for a 13th Year on the Slopes; Registration Now Open


    November 11, 2019. The popular Monday night Sugar Mountain Adult Racing League (SMARL) is back for another wild ride down the mountain for the 13th year of good times, cold beer and friendly competition. Registration just began for a spot in the 2020 racing league which will begin on January 6 and takes place on six consecutive Mondays in January and February. Registration forms can be picked up in person at Ski Country Sports located at 3149 Tynecastle Highway in Banner Elk or give them a call at 828-898-9786 to register. The cost to join the league has remained the same for each of the 13 years at $40 per person. “We will typically fill up by the first of December so if anybody is interested in signing up, now is the time. This is our 13th year and it has filled up every year,” said Bill Leonard, the owner of Ski Country Sports and founder of the racing league. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • High Country Chapter of MOAA Presents Their 13th Annual Veterans Day Event at the Boone Mall


    November 11, 2019. Today, November 11, 2019 is Veterans Day. To celebrate the lives of those who have served and sacrificed in the military, the 13th annual Veterans Day Commemoration was held at the Boone Mall, and sponsored by the High Country Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, the Boone Mall and the Watauga Community Band. The Watauga Community Band also led the event with a prelude of patriotic music, as well as the service branch theme songs, and the closing ceremonies. Veterans from decades of service were in attendance, stretching from WW2 up until more recently, those who fought against the war on terror. By Colby Gable / Read more…



  • Watauga County Register of Deeds Office Extends Veteran’s Day Appreciation with Special Event Wednesday, Nov. 13


    November 11, 2019. For several years, the Watauga County Register of Deeds Office has provided much-needed support and encouragement to our local veterans, and this year is no exception. According to Amy Shook, since November, 2015, her office has provided the “Thank you for your Service” program, in which local businesses agreed to offer special discounts and services to veterans when their “Thank A Vet” card is presented. “Many of our veterans have already obtained their cards and have enjoyed discounts at some of their favorite businesses,” Shook said. “We are very happy and excited to announce that we have been able to add a number of new businesses to the list, including those in Watauga County and some from surrounding counties.” To show their appreciation to Watauga County veterans, Shook and her staff are hosting a special event at their office on Wednesday, Nov.13, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. “We will have updated copies of the list of participating businesses, as well have refreshments and treats for the veterans to enjoy as we try to show our appreciation to them for their service.” By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Melvin Norris, Veteran of Two Wars: “Invited” To World War II And Volunteered For the Korean


    November 11, 2019. Anticipating another Veteran’s Day observance, Melvin Norris was reclining in his chair on Thursday at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living in Boone, reminiscing about his military career and looking forward to local upcoming celebrations. “I like to go to all of them that I can and I like to wear my uniform. That’s not something every veteran (my age) can still do.” But, Melvin Norris is not your typical veteran, either. While most served one stint in the military, he not only was drafted into World War II, (“I received an official invitation from the government,” he said with a chuckle) but later reenlisted during the Korean War and eventually gave 30 years to the Navy Reserve. At 95 years of age, Norris still has a clear recollection of those days — and he loves talking about his service. For any details that may escape him, he has scrapbooks and photographs that help tell the story, in addition to video documentation, depicting his service and a long life well lived. There is also quite a collection of commendations he’s received through the years, from the military, his church and various community organizations. By Sherrrie Norris / Read more…



  • Sugar Mountain Opens for Skiing on Saturday: First Skiers on Lift at 9 a.m. for 2019-2020 Season


    November 9, 2019. Sugar Mountain Resort opened for skiing and snowboarding on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. Skiers and snowboarders were showing up at the resort a little after 8:00 looking to get their first runs in for the season. Lifts opened at 9:00 as the Sugar Mountain crew put the finishing touches on operations to be ready for opening day.  Kim Jochl, Vice President at Sugar reported that for opening day they had six slopes open with three lifts running and from 5 to 20 inches of snow on the slopes. “We like to open as early as possible so we can be in business.” said Kim. “It stirs excitement and gets us rolling for the season.” / Read more…



  • Farm-City Banquet Brings Community Together for 64th Year of Celebrating Agriculture in the High Country


    November 8, 2019. A large crowd filled Boone United Methodist Church on Thursday for the 64th Annual Farm-City Banquet with an evening of music, door prizes, awards and an overall celebration of the impact of farming and agriculture in the High Country. The theme for this year’s banquet was continued over from last year, honoring all of the “High Country Grown” products that impact our lives in these mountains almost every day. “We decided to continue the theme of High Country Grown this year because it fits every single thing about this banquet. From the food to the music to the awards we present, to the entertainment, to the items in those baskets that we’re going to be giving away as door prizes, everything about Farm-City Banquet here in Watauga is High Country Grown,” said Jim Hamilton, the Cooperative Extension Director for Watauga County. “The High Country Grown initiative is helping local farmers while promoting restaurants and businesses that use locally sourced products. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Avery Chamber Annual Celebration Honored Exceptional Organizations and Individuals in Avery County on Thursday


    November 8, 2019. The Avery Chamber Annual Celebration was held at the Best Western Mountain Lodge on November 7 and was sponsored by the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. The Avery Chamber of Commerce honored several organizations and individuals throughout Avery County during the proceedings due to their significant contributions to the community. Guest Speaker Jeff Davis, who honored each of the night’s award recipients with an introduction describing the recipients’ accomplishments, hosted the event. By Joe Johnson / Read more…



  • Avery County Rotary Club to Hold Veteran’s Day Celebration Monday at Best Western Mountain Lodge in Banner Elk

    November 8, 2019. In an effort to honor veterans of the Unites States Armed Forces and celebrate their service to our great nation, the Avery County Rotary Club is hosting its fifth annual Veteran’s Day celebration on 2019 Veterans Day–Monday, November 11th. This county-wide event will include a luncheon and special program for the veterans. This celebration will be held at the Best Western Mountain Lodge in Banner Elk, beginning at 11:30 a.m. and lasting until 1:00 p.m. All Avery Countians are invited to attend. Veterans and their family members receive a complimentary, free lunch.   The meal also will be available to other guests for $8 per person  By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Ray Russell Re-Election Campaign Rally for 93rd NC House District in Boone November 12


    November 8, 2019. Ray Russell, Founder and Owner of RaysWeather.Com, will launch his campaign for reelection to the 93rd North Carolina House Seat on November 12th. The Re-Election Rally will be Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at Ransom in Downtown Boone (747 W. King Street). The event starts at 6 PM with the formal program beginning at 6:30 PM. Ray believes North Carolina needs principled leadership that combines RESPECT for people, LISTENing to your voices, and LEADing with skill and honor.” Since January 2019, Ray has sponsored or co-sponsored 125 bills in the NC House and was the first Freshman Democrat to have a bill, for which he was a primary sponsor, signed into law. His legislative work focused on the issues he campaigned about in 2018. / Read more…



  • Veterans to be Honored During Multiple Celebrations Throughout Watauga County


    November 7, 2019. Veterans across the High Country will be honored during numerous Veterans Day celebrations, kicking off Friday morning at Parkway Elementary School. The celebration at 8:30 at the school is open to the public and is always one of the largest Veterans Day events that the Watauga County School System organizes. Appalachian State University will begin its Veterans Day tribute at 9 a.m. at the B.B. Dougherty Administration Building Veterans Memorial. This event, as are all of these events, is free and open to the public. Remarks will be provided by App State alumnus and retired U.S. Army Maj. Ali Donnell Davis ’95 ’01. A reception will follow in the administration building lobby. In case of adverse weather, the ceremony will be moved to the lobby. Maj. Ali Donnell Davis, of Charlotte, joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 1989. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Middle Fork Greenway Holds Grand Opening of Trailhead That Starts in Blowing Rock


    November 7, 2019. Yesterday, Blue Ridge Conservancy with its partners like the town of Blowing Rock, New River Conservancy, Watauga County, and local community businesses, revealed the trailhead for their new Middle Fork Greenway path. While funding for the Greenway path has come through a variety of sources, it has been a main part of the NCDOT Hwy 321 widening project, so all infrastructure used for construction was provided by the NCDOT. Mike Pettyjohn, NCDOT District Engineer, commented a little about the importance of the project from the state’s point of view, saying, “Whenever possible, the NCDOT supports pedestrian infrastructure in our community projects. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to get these capital projects completed.” By Colby Gable / Read more…



  • Superior Court Judge Denies Injunction by Plaintiffs Attempting to Stop Land Purchase for Valle Crucis School

    November 6, 2019. Judge Susan Bray denied a preliminary injunction by the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the Watauga County School Board that would have stopped the land purchase for the property that the county is eying for the construction of a brand new Valle Crucis School. The plaintiffs in the case, listed as the Mast Farm Inn, Deschamps Holdings LLC, Deschamps Enterprises, Henri Deschamps, Marie-Henriette Deschamps and Danielle Deschamps, filed a lawsuit on October 10 against the Watauga County Board of Education, board chairman Ron Henries, vice-chair Brenda Reese, and board members Dr. Gary Childers, Steve Combs and Dr. Jay Fenwick with the hope of forcing the county to abandon its plan of construction a new, much-needed school on a 14.4-acre plot of land known as the Hodges Property. The county has the plot of land under contract, however the plaintiffs feel that the land is not the most suitable place for construction of a new school, citing environmental concerns having the school in a flood-prone area, the purchase price of the property, the appraisal used to define the property’s value and the protection of the Valle Crucis Historical District.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



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