YEAR IN REVIEW: Our Favorite Stories of 2012

Published Friday, December 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

 2012 IN REVIEW

Compiled by Paul T. Choate & Jesse Wood

Dec. 28, 2012. Earlier today we published our list of the 50 most read stories of 2012. There is no doubt that within those top 50 are some of our all-time favorites. But sometimes we writers do stories that have a special place in our hearts even if they don’t get read thousands of times. Whether it’s based on our interest in the topic or just on how much time and effort we put into doing the story, there are some outside the top 50 that we want to recognize. Here are the 2012 Year in Review staff picks, chosen by Paul T. Choate and Jesse Wood. 

‘No Equal? No More!’ Silent Protest at Appalachian State After 2011 Sexual Assault Allegations

By Paul T. Choate

March 2, 2012. Appalachian State University students and community members organized today on campus for a silent protest. The protest comes in the wake of two separate events that happened in 2011 regarding women allegedly being sexually assaulted by student athletes and their alleged attackers being let back on campus. Read more…

Exclusive Interview with Erin Johnston and Sarabeth Nordstrom Following ‘Stop the Hate, Show the Love’ Last Friday; Thankful for All the Love and Support

By Paul T. Choate

March 5, 2012. The “Stop the Hate, Show the Love” benefit for Erin Johnston and Sarabeth Nordstrom saw droves of people file into Grandfather Ballroom in Plemmons Student Union to show their love and support for the two women who were victims of a brutal attack on Feb. 11, 2012. People laughed, people cried, people signed the petition and Johnston and Nordstrom told their story. They also took time immediately following the event for a brief interview, where they discussed what the support of the community and the event meant to them. Read more…

Hotel Protester: Marriott Includes a ‘Reprehensible’ View into Wintergreen Homes; Hotel: ‘We Used Town’s Specs’

By Jesse Wood

March 8, 2012. Have you seen this guy protesting on N.C. 105 in Boone with a sign that states “Boycott Marriott?” Well, his name is Allan White. See the video below and article that follows. Read more…

‘Derelict’ Stomping Ground, the Old Bingham Estate in Downtown Boone is Finally Cleared

By Jesse Wood

March 15, 2012. The old Bingham Estate, located on King Street across from Harmon’s Dixie Pride, is the last remaining undeveloped parcel of land on the main strip in downtown Boone. Over the winter, the area was clear cut – at the request of the town – because it was a campground for vagrants. Read more…

OASIS Benefit Fashion Show Coming Up Tonight at Char, Tickets Almost Sold Out, Big Turnout Expected

By Paul T. Choate

March 23, 2012. On Friday, March 23, Haircut 101, Gladiola Girls and Char present the OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) Benefit Fashion Show. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Char in downtown Boone. Read more…

ASU’s LIPS Club Hosts ‘SlutWalk’ to Raise Awareness About Female Sexuality, Sexual Assault and Rape

By Paul T. Choate & Ben Wofford

March 28, 2012. On Wednesday, March 28, at 2:30 p.m., the Appalachian State chapter of LIPS: Expressions of Female Sexuality Club hosted a “SlutWalk” through the streets of Boone. Read more…

From 20-Minute Babble over Copier in Jones House to Wat. Arts Council Finding New Home After 20+ Years

By Jesse Wood

April 14, 2012. In what could be considered a coup by the Boone Town Council, the Watauga Arts Council will move to an undecided location in July after occupying the Jones House Community Center on King Street for more than 20 years. Read more…

Boone Town Council Strong-Arms for Cultural Resources Board’s Involvement in $10M Proposed DB Park Concept

By Jesse Wood

April 20, 2012. After four hours discussing other issues, the Boone Town Council listened to a presentation from organizers of the Daniel Boone Park on Thursday night. Read more…

Seventh Annual P.B. Scott’s Reunion Party, Saturday, May 5; ‘People Said the Best Club They Had Ever Been to Was This Geodesic Dome Up in the Mountains’

By Paul T. Choate

April 25, 2012. The building may be gone but the memory lives on. The annual P.B. Scott’s Reunion Party, now in its seventh year, is a celebration of all that once was at the famous (and infamous) P.B. Scott’s Music Hall in Blowing Rock. Read more…

Cyberstalking: Lurking in the Shadows of Technology; As the High Country Changes, Its Crimes Evolve

By Jesse Wood

April 28, 2012. A couple weeks ago, three cyberstalking cases were on the Watauga Superior Court docket during one day, and in the most recent weekly arrest report from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office another cyberstalking incident occurred. Read more…

234 Rural Post Offices Staying Open; Downtown Boone Post Office to Remain Open for ‘The Foreseeable Future’

By Paul T. Choate

May 9, 2012. Downtown merchants in Boone can stop worrying about having to drive down to Blowing Rock Road every day for their mail. The Downtown Boone Post Office will be one of 234 rural post offices that the United States Postal Service will allow to remain open. Read more…

Just One of the People: A Doc Watson Retrospective Through the Words of His Musical Friends; Rest in Peace

By Jesse Wood

May 30, 2012. Before Doc Watson became a world-famous musician, he busked on the streets of downtown Boone. He tied a tin can to the neck of his guitar so passersby could drop in some change. Some thought he was panhandling, but Doc didn’t agree. Read more…

Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson, State Sen. Daniel Soucek Comment on Both Sides of Controversial ETJ Bill

By Paul T. Choate

June 8, 2012. In what has become a brewing controversy, the Senate Bill 949 Town of Boone/ETJ was approved on Thursday, June 7, by the State and Local Government Senate Standing Committee to go to a full vote in the state Senate. The bill, proposed by state Sen. Daniel Soucek (R-Boone), has not been received well by Town of Boone officials. Read more…

U.S. 321 Widening: In Addition to the $66M Price Tag, Almost $26M Being Paid Out for Right of Way

By Paul T. Choate

June 18, 2012. The $66.4 million price tag on the widening of U.S. Highway 321 from Blackberry Road in Caldwell County to Shoppes on the Parkway in Blowing Rock does not tell the whole story of how much this project is really costing the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Read more…

‘Why Are We Paying For It Again?’ Three Years Later, Taxpayers Foot Bill for Repairs on Goshen Creek Bridge

By Jesse Wood

June 26, 2012. Less than three years after a similar “rehabilitation” job was completed, repairs to the Goshen Creek Bridge began in May to replace defective railing and the adjoining concrete deck. The bridge is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 286. Read more…

NC Sterilization Victims Denied Compensation; Watauga County Has Dark Past Involving Eugenics Practices

By Greg Hince

July 5, 2012. Victims of involuntary sterilization in North Carolina will not receive compensation after state legislators voted against eugenics compensation program funding as part of the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget adjustment bill, House Bill 947, last month. It is estimated more than 7,600 victims were sterilized in North Carolina between 1929 and 1974, and there is evidence to suggest that a number of Watauga County residents could have been victimized in the early 1940s. Read more…

Multiple Deer Sightings in Downtown – Is an Urban Archery Season Needed for Municipalities in Watauga?

By Jesse Wood

July 6, 2012. Two hours before Blowing Rock’s July 4 parade, a erratic deer ran right down the middle of Main Street for at least 15 seconds before veering off the road, out of sight, and last week a deer darted across downtown King Street, disappearing somewhere behind Ram’s Rack Thrift Store. Read more…

ASU: The ‘Pride and Trepidation’ of Boone; More ‘Anti-Annex Legislation’ Could Imbalance Future Relationship

By Jesse Wood

July 12, 2012. A recent request from ASU to amend a few words in the Town of Boone’s Unified Development Ordinance’s Table of Permissible Uses to allow administrative offices in a B-3 General Business district – once again – has brought to the forefront an issue that has divided ASU and the town for decades. Read more…

Driver Slams Into Dumpster On Corner of Wallace Circle, Sends It Flying Down Stairs Near Onlookers

By Greg Hince

July 16, 2012. A 19-year-old woman was arrested shortly after midnight this morning when she struck a dumpster at 271 Wallace Circle, behind King Street, and sent it flying down a set of stairs, nearly striking a witness. Read more…

Apples and Oranges When Considering Hayes Center’s ‘Pitfalls’ to Predict Appalachian Twin Theater’s Success

By Jesse Wood

July 25, 2012. When the Town of Boone agreed to front the Downtown Boone Development Association (DBDA) $750,000 to purchase the gutted Appalachian Twin Theater last fall, some felt this was a terrible decision – especially in light of the struggles haunting the Hayes Performing Arts Center in Blowing Rock and the costly renovation needed to restore the old theater in downtown Boone. Read more…

Concern Growing Over 2013 – 2014 WCS Calendar Options; Warren: ‘So Unfair … Makes Me Furious’

By Paul T. Choate

July 31, 2012. Watauga County Board of Education Vice Chair Dr. Lee Warren was very vocal in his concerns over the 2013 – 2014 school calendar options at the Monday, July 30 work session. He was not alone, however, as many at the meeting were worried about the “bad scenarios and worse scenarios” presented to them by Dr. Wayne Eberle, executive director of learning development. Read more…

With New Apartment Complexes and ASU Enrollment Growth Slowing, The Rental Market ‘Party is Over’

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 4, 2012. With ASU enrollment growth slowing and new apartment complexes sprouting in every nook and cranny in and around Boone, the apartment rental gravy train may be halting on the tracks for, perhaps, the first time in decades. Read more…

SUV Catches on Fire as Driver Travels Down Howard Street, Leading to Smoky Scene in Downtown Boone

By Greg Hince

Aug. 6, 2012. A 1989 Jeep Cherokee combusted into flames as the driver was traveling down Howard Street in downtown Boone shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday night. Read more…

GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful Pat McCrory Tours Blowing Rock with Mayor J.B. Lawrence; Outlines Plans for NC

By Paul T. Choate

Aug. 9, 2012. The thunder and heavy rain held off just long enough for Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory to take in a tour of downtown Blowing Rock with Mayor J.B. Lawrence on Thursday, Aug. 9. Read more…

Post Gnarnia, Beech Town Council To Look at Amending Charter Exempting Ski Resort From Town Ordinances

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 18, 2012. The Town Charter for Beech Mountain, which exempts Beech Mountain Resort from all of the town’s ordinances and regulations, has been brought into focus for the first time because of Festival of Gnarnia, which took place in infamous fashion last weekend at the resort. Read more…

Boone Town Council Goes Against Planning Commission Recommendation; Denies Student Housing Complex

By Paul T. Choate

Aug. 22, 2012. Despite a 5-3 recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve a rezoning request for the proposed Clawson and Greene Multi-Family Development, the Boone Town Council voted unanimously to deny the request at the regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21. Read more…

‘David vs. Goliath:’ U.S. Rep. Foxx has 135 Times More Cash on Hand than Opponent Elisabeth Motsinger

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 28, 2012. Vying for a seat in the U.S. House in November, Elisabeth Motsinger faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) at a serious disadvantage. Read more…

Who is Deborah Greene? For One, She’s the Only Unaffiliated Candidate for Watauga County School Board

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 3, 2012. A few years ago, Deborah Greene, a diehard conservative, broke away from the Republican Party. Today, she is the only unaffiliated candidate running for one of three seats on the Watauga County Board of Education. Read more…

Sports Blog: My First Time in the Press Box

By Paul T. Choate

Sept. 8, 2012. I remember last season, attending home football games as a senior at App State, I was lucky if I found a place to sit anywhere in the stadium. Tonight, I got one of the best seats in the house for the very first time. Read more…

Denied! Sort of… ASU Gets One of Four Parcels on University Hall Drive Rezoned at Council Meeting

By Paul T. Choate

Sept. 18, 2012. The Boone Town Council met on Tuesday, Sept. 18, to decide, among other things, the fate of a rezoning request by Appalachian State University for four land parcels along University Hall Drive. Read more…

Sunday Feature: Justifying the Lion

By Ethan Woodhouse

Sept. 30, 2012. Just before 7 a.m. on a September morning in Boone, the sun has yet to rise over the mountains eastward. The early morning skyline is streaked orange and grey as it awaits the rising sun. The air has a stinging chill and is eerily still. In the Watauga Village Shopping Center, Walmart’s parking lot is already coming to life, with handfuls of shoppers scattered across the black top. Read more…

What’s Going On with the Old Cannon Hospital? ‘Eyesore’ Abandoned, Vandalized and For Sale

By Paul T. Choate

Oct. 11, 2012. The old Charles A. Cannon, Jr. Memorial Hospital, located just outside downtown Banner Elk, has been sitting vacant since 1999 when Cannon merged with Crossnore Memorial Hospital and moved to the new facility in Linville. Now, having been abandoned for over a decade, the building has badly deteriorated and has been subject to frequent vandalism. Read more…

7 Years Later, Instigator of ASU Student Killed in Foscoe Still Unknown, Sargent’s Retrial To Answer Question?

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 30, 2012. The night before ASU student and small-time coke dealer Stephen Harrington was found dead from asphyxiation, when his mouth and face were wrapped like a mummy with duct tape and his body stuffed inside the trunk of a Subaru that was set ablaze in Foscoe, is still hazy seven years later. Read more…

Some Cry Voter Fraud in Watauga Due to Denial of Extending Early Voting Hours, Eggers Befuddled

By Jesse Wood

Oct. 31, 2012. Stacy “Four” Eggers, the only Republican-appointed member on the three-person board of the Watauga County Board of Elections, caused quite a stir among the liberal political junkies in Watauga after voting against extending the hours of early voting yesterday, and he is befuddled as to why. Read more…

So Long Sandy; A Look Back at the Superstorm’s Impact on the High Country as Snow and Wind Taper Off

By Paul T. Choate

Oct. 31, 2012. The effects of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy are finally just about out of the High Country. Locals awoke this morning to more snow, which had been falling since Sunday evening, but it appears to have finally tapered off this afternoon. Read more…

Gun Portion of Deer Season Starts Soon; Summer/Fall Hemorrhagic Disease Outbreak Hurts NC Deer Population

By Paul T. Choate

Nov. 1, 2012. The gun portion of deer season is getting ready to begin in Watauga County and Avery counties. Due to a devastating hemorrhagic disease that hit the deer population in North Carolina, some questions and concerns linger. Read more…

‘Call That Voter Fraud:’ Rural Wataugans – The Disenfranchised Citizens of the Popular Early Voting

By Jesse Wood

Nov. 4, 2012. Add this to the reasons why High Country conservatives look forward to governor-hopeful Pat McCrory taking the helm in Raleigh come Jan. 1, 2013; Republicans would control the majority on the local elections boards. Read more…

Champions Again: Appalachian State Knocks Off Furman to Clinch Seventh SoCon Championship in Eight Seasons

By Paul T. Choate

Nov. 10, 2012. The App Nation fans got their chance to rush the field on Black Saturday when Appalachian State (8-3, 6-2 SoCon) defeated Furman (3-7, 2-5 SoCon) 33-28 to clinch their 12th Southern Conference Championship and their seventh in eight seasons. Read more…

The Best Record Doesn’t Always Mean Home Field; Stadium Quality, Money Plays Role in FCS Site Selection

By Paul T. Choate

Nov. 20, 2012. The No. 7 Appalachian State Mountaineers ended up with another home game at Kidd Brewer Stadium in the postseason and the local fans rejoiced. But how exactly do the 20 teams get selected and how do those who make the NCAA Division 1 FCS Championship playoffs secure home games? Let’s take a look. Read more…

What’s Going On With the Broyhill? ‘Bittersweet’ Closing of Facility on Friday; Future Still Unknown

By Paul T. Choate

Dec. 12, 2012. This Friday, Dec. 14, the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees meeting will mark the final event at the Broyhill Events Center (formerly the Broyhill Inn and Conference Center) and end the final chapter on the complete closing of the facility even for university use. Read more…

It’s Official: Satterfield Unanimously Chosen as New Mountaineers Head Coach at ASU Trustees Meeting

By Paul T. Choate

Dec. 14, 2012. Following a unanimous vote on Friday around 1:30 p.m. at the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees meeting, Scott Satterfield has been officially named the new head coach of the Mountaineers football team. Read more…

Living Through Lebanese Civil War, Ending Violence in Middle East, Author Talks at Book Signing on Saturday

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 14, 2012. Sam Wazan, author of The Last Moderate Muslim, has many stories from growing up during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war that he will share during “Ending the Violence in the Middle East,” a talk and book signing at The Dancing Moon in downtown Boone on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4 p.m. Read more…

Beech Mountain and Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary Continue Bitter Battle, Court Proceedings Moving Along Slowly

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 18, 2012. Litigation between the Town of Beech Mountain and Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary is proceeding slowly. On March 19, town attorney Stacy “Four” Eggers sent a letter to Leslie Hayhurst, director of the wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release center. Read more…

Mayan Prophecy Legitimacy Aside, ‘Prepper’ Speculates What Future May Hold and How to Prepare

By Ethan Woodhouse

Dec. 20, 2012. Much has been said in recent months regarding the apparent Mayan prediction of the world’s end on Dec. 21. On television and in movie theatres, zombie hordes and worldwide epidemics have captivated audience’s imagination in how our civilization might crumble. Americans can’t get enough of their doomsday scenarios. Read more…

Mental Health: A Continuing Crisis in N.C., the High Country with Psychiatric Bed Shortages and Funding Cuts

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 28, 2012. The National Alliance on Mental Illness published a report in March 2011 titled “State Mental Health Cuts: A National Crisis.” These were the first two sentences in the report: Read more…

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