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Published Thursday, December 27, 2018 at 11:05 am

Grandfather Mountain and Elk Knob State Parks to Ring in New Year with First Day Hikes 

North Carolina’s New Year tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnection with nature continues in 2019 with First Day Hikes throughout the state parks system on Jan. 1.

More than 40 guided hikes are scheduled for New Year’s Day, ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to multi-mile rambles, most featuring educational programs led by rangers along the way. All state parks will be open on the holiday.

In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago. Eno River’s first day hike alone draws more than 800 visitors.

“First Day Hikes are a time for the whole family or a group of friends to enjoy our state’s outstanding natural resources together,” said Dwayne Patterson, state parks director. “This is a great opportunity to introduce your children or a friend to hiking and start your year off right with fresh air and exercise.”

Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on First Day Hikes. Follow up a hike at Dismal Swamp State Park with hot chocolate and cookies or brave the ice and snow for a hike at Elk Knob for spectacular views. Learn about some of our Piedmont’s flora and fauna at Haw River or discover the fire-dependent ecology of longleaf pine forests at Carvers Creek. Explore Goose Creek’s Spanish moss-draped live oaks or explore Medoc Mountain in the heart of the state.

As an added bonus, visitors involved with the North Carolina State Parks 100-Mile Challenge – to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks – can add First Day Hikes mileage to their totals. First Day Hikes are also a great time to get started on your own New Year’s resolutions with the 100-mile challenge. Details about the 100-Mile Challenge can be found at www.nc100miles.org

Nationally, First Day Hikes is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country. 

A complete list of First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found at https://www.ncparks.gov/first-day-hikes

About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 234,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 19 million visitors annually.

2019 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards Seek Nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2019 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards. High Country United Way staff and volunteers have been assigned the collection of the nominations and judging the entries to submit to Governor Roy Cooper’s Office of Volunteer Service.

The awards program, created by the Office of the Governor in 1979, recognizes North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers. Through the years, the award has been bestowed on thousands of North Carolinians who have shown concern and compassion for their neighbors by volunteering in their community.

Each county selects up to ten individuals, businesses, groups/teams and one paid Director of Volunteers to be recognized for their outstanding contributions to their communities. Nominees may be in the following categories: Family, Group/Team, Youth, Senior, Perseverance in Voluntarism, Faith Based Entity, Corporate/Business, National Service and Director of Volunteers.

Awards will be given in the following service categories; Veteran/Military, Serving Youth, Disaster, Animals, Cultural, Environment, Health and Human and Human Services and Other. One of the nominees will be eligible for the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service, which is awarded to the top 20 volunteers in the state. A local committee will evaluate the nominations.

Nominations forms are available online at volunteernc.org or acquire a hard copy of the application at the High Country United Way office at 1675 Blowing Rock Road, Suite 400 ( Lifestore Bank Building), Boone, NC   28607. Nominations must be typed and delivered to High Country United Way or submitted online to volunteernc.org no later than 5pm on January 15, 2019. No nominations will be received after that time. Local winners will be notified and announced in late January.

For more information, contact Marti Phillips at [email protected] or call 828-264-2111.

Watauga High School Hosting Annual Parent Night Open House

Watauga High School is set to hold it’s annual parent night open house Jan. 15 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. for Blowing Rock, Hardin Park, and Valle Crucis students, and Jan. 29 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. for Bethel, Cove Creek, Green Valley, Mabel, Parkway, and Two Rivers students.

Students and parents will get general information about Watauga High School and have the opportunity to explore the school and talk to teachers about specific classes or programs that interest them.

For more information contact Watauga High School at 828-264-2407.

Next Watauga County Board of Commissioners Meeting Will Be January 15

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners’ regular meeting scheduled on Tuesday, January 1 has been cancelled. Therefore, the next regularly scheduled meeting of the board of commissioners will be held on Tuesday, January 15 at 5:30 p.m.

The meeting will be in the commissioners’ boardroom on the first floor of the Watauga County Administration Building located at 814 W. King Street.

For more information, please call the county manager’s office at 828-265-8000.

Rep. Foxx Releases Statement on Partial Government Shutdown

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released the following statement after the U.S. Senate failed to consider the House-passed continuing resolution funding the federal government by the December 21 deadline.  The House passed its continuing resolution on Thursday, December 20, which included $5.7 billion for a border wall and fully funded the federal government through February 8, 2019.

“This shutdown was preventable, and it is a shame that a strong border securing our nation is no longer the bipartisan priority it once was.  Under President Bush, the Secure Fence Act passed handily in the House and Senate, 283-138 and 80-19 respectively.  Congress should not be divided on keeping the government open while fulfilling our duty to protect our nation.  Nor should we allow politics to disrupt the services owed to American taxpayers.  It is my intention to continue working with all parties interested in solutions to end this shutdown and make progress toward a border wall.  I hope that Senate Democrats are willing to cooperate.”

Price to Fill Ashe District Seat on Blue Ridge Board of Directors 

Cindy Price has been appointed to fill the Ashe District seat on the Board of Directors for Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation that was left open when Kenny Greene recently retired from the Board after 30 years of service.

The cooperative’s Bylaws required the Board of Directors to appoint a replacement director for the seat, following all requirements for qualifications for a director as also specified in the cooperative’s Bylaws.

Price lives with her husband, David, in the Clifton community of Ashe County. She has been active in the community as an Ashe representative on the Blue Ridge Electric Nominating Committee; a NC Guardian Ad Litem volunteer; Relay for Life team captain; Habitat for Humanity volunteer;  and as a member of the Pastor Parish Relations Committee at Clifton United Methodist Church.

She recently retired after 34 years as an educator, working for Grayson County Schools in the classroom, as a counselor in Ashe County Schools, an Assistant Principal in Ashe County, as Executive Director of Elementary Education in Alleghany County Schools and as Principal in Wilkes County Schools. She received her Master’s degree in School Administration from Appalachian State University as well as a second Master’s degree in School Counseling and her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She is a graduate of Ashe Central High School.

Price received many career recognitions including 2001 NC Character Educator of the Year awarded by Duke University Kenan Institute of Ethics; 2013 Fellow of the NC Educational Policy Fellowship Program and served on the Board of Directors for the NC Association of Elementary Education.

She and her husband have two adult sons: Sam, an attorney in Cary, NC; and Nate, a pediatric nurse in Asheville, NC.

Price begins her duties with the Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation Board of Directors in December.

Blue Ridge Energy is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving some 76,000 members in Caldwell, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Avery and Wilkes counties. The cooperative’s subsidiary, Blue Ridge Energy propane and fuels, provides residential and commercial services in the cooperative’s service area and beyond. Learn more at BlueRidgeEnergy.com.

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