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Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty Added to An Appalachian Summer Festival Lineup

June 4, 2021 An Appalachian Summer Festival (AASF) is thrilled to announce that Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty have been added to the lineup for An Appalachian Summer Festival., July 2-31, 2021 The Broadway stars will take the outdoor stage at State Farm Road Concert Lot for an evening of Broadway hits and unforgettable music on Saturday, July 17 at 8pm. Seating is configured in pods of 2, 4 and 6. Tickets for the Mitchell-Hilty concert and all other festival events are on sale now at www.appsummer.org or by calling the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts box office at 828-262-4046. Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty replaces the previously scheduled Leslie Odom, Jr. concert, which Mr. Odom had to cancel due to conflicts with his touring schedule. Anyone holding tickets to the Leslie Odom, Jr. concert may call the box office for a straight ticket-for-ticket trade to the Brian Stokes Mitchell & Megan Hilty performance, or to request a full refund.

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Downtown Boone Development Association Receives 2021 National Main Street Accreditation

June 4, 2021 Downtown Boone Development Association has been designated as an accredited Main Street™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards. Each year, Main Street America and its partners announce the list of accredited programs to recognize their exceptional commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach™. “We are proud to recognize this year’s 889 nationally accredited Main Street programs that have worked tirelessly to advance economic vitality and quality of life in their downtowns and commercial districts,” said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of Main Street America. “During an incredibly challenging year, these programs demonstrated the power of the Main Street movement to drive impressive local recovery efforts, champion small businesses, and foster vibrant downtown districts. I am inspired by their hard work and confident that these accredited communities will continue to help their downtowns flourish in the next stages of recovery.”

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President Donald J. Trump Endorses Virginia Foxx for Re-Election in 2022

June 4, 2021 Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States, endorsed Congresswoman Virginia Foxx for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. In his endorsement of Foxx, President Trump said: Congresswoman Virginia Foxx is an America First conservative who helped us win the Great State of North Carolina in 2016 and 2020. She opposed the Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, Impeachment Hoax, and we can always count on her vote to Make America Great Again. Congresswoman Foxx is Pro-Life, Pro-Second Amendment, supports finishing our almost completed Border Wall, and is a fierce advocate for American workers. I am a big fan of Virginia Foxx, and she has my Complete and Total Endorsement for re-election!

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Boone Gets Its First Trash Trout; Collection Device Will Keep Plastics Out of Waterways

June 4, 2021 Boone installed its first Trash Trout on Winkler Creek on Wednesday, June 2. The passive litter collection device was installed by MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper in partnership with the Town of Boone — which provided the initial funding and is sponsoring the costs of monthly maintenance for the device. The device is a large cage with a wide mouth that floats on pontoons. Booms are anchored upstream on each bank to direct floating debris into the mouth of the cage. Large pieces of floating trash and plastic are trapped inside the Trash Trout, while smaller organic matter passes through and fish and other aquatic wildlife pass below the device.

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LETTERS / I’m Amazed

June 4, 2021 Letters to the Editor. From CRAIG DUDLEY / Dear Editor, I’m amazed by what Americans support/ignore. America’s ignorant, chaotic and inconsistent politics has no focus beyond maintaining control. Divide and conquer is working: Americans are fighting each other in the streets as the one percent increases their control. You’re fighting the wrong foes. It seems impossible to discuss anything in this crumbling country, without some virtue signaler making it a racial issue. Whatever the problem, it’s said to especially impact Black people. Any “debate” attempt brings cries of ‘racism’. The only Whites allowed focus on ‘racism’. America’s biased politics centers on “victims”. Our nation is fixated on race, obsessed with Black interests, complaints, and their experience. If it wasn’t for slavery and Jim Crow, little American history would be discussed at all. The racism card, played all too often, is mostly nonsense, ignoring the culture clash involved. Before you jump, I was, in part, raised by a black man from Virginia.

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High Country Man Involved in Black Lives Matter Incident Has Original Charge Reduced

June 4, 2021. After several months’ delay from a backlog of court cases being heard due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jared Benjamin Lafer, of 147 Rockdale Road, of Bakersville in Mitchell County, appeared in court May 27 for an incident that happened on September 13, 2020. Lafer has been accused of a hit-and-run during a Black Lives Matter protest in Johnson City, TN. He is alleged to have hit Jonathan Bowers with his vehicle causing multiple injuries to Bowers. During this court proceeding Bowers said Lafer could have gone in a different direction instead of hitting him. Lafer reportedly was in the region for a dinner date with relatives when he drove up upon a group of Black Lives Matter protestors. Lafer apparently hit Bowers with his SUV when he turned right toward the highway. By Tim Gardner

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Life Care Center of Banner Elk Nurse Wins Company’s Divisional Customer Service Award

June 3, 2021 Toby Guinn, licensed practical nurse at Life Care Center of Banner Elk, received Life Care Centers of America’s Eastern Division Whatever It Takes And Then Some Award on May 13 for his dedication to customer service. Life Care awarded Guinn a $1,000 cash prize during an awards ceremony at the facility. Facility leadership surprised Guinn, who was told he needed to watch a training video. When the video started, it was actually a video of fellow associates at the facility, as well as residents, talking about what they appreciate about him. “I’ve never been more surprised – I was blown away,” Guinn said. “There are so many deserving people that I can think of. The people you work with make you better, and I work with the best.” Guinn was chosen from among thousands of associates in the Eastern Division and was one of only eight associates from Life Care’s more than 200 facilities nationwide to receive the award.

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Avery County Heritage Festival to be Held June 26 on The County/Town of Newland Square

June 3, 2021. The highly-popular Avery County Heritage Festival will be held this year on Saturday, June 26 on the Avery County and Town of Newland Square, located across from the Avery County Court House in downtown Newland. Admission is free to the event, which will start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. Those attending can visit booths and vendors while tracing their ancestral roots from the county. “Excitement about the Heritage Festival is extremely high and I hope all who can will attend the celebration as it will offer displays, exhibits and many other interesting and fun things about, and related to Avery County and its heritage and history,” said Virginia “Tense” Banks of the Avery Historical Society. Nationally-renowned genealogists, artisans in a variety of media and traditional mountain musicians will gather on the square to collectively help celebrate Avery County’s rich and storied history, which spans 110 years. By Tim Gardner

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Old-Time String Band The Corklickers to Play at Special Reunion Event at Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant on June 6

June 2, 2021. The old-time string band The Corklickers will be making an appearance at Woodlands Barbeque Restaurant in Blowing Rock for a performance from 4-6 p.m. on Sunday, June 6. This performance is part of a special reunion event for former High Country resident Julian Monroe Fisher who will be returning from an exploration in Belize. Fisher is an explorer, Anthropologist, photographer and published author among many other accolades. His segue into his research and travels began in the High Country. The first time Fisher heard of the word Anthropology was during his junior year of college at Appalachian State University when his roommate, Mark Adams, was taking an Anthropology course and suggested the class to Fisher. Mark Adams along with his brother, Gil Adams, are members of the band The Corklickers, who play old-time music from the 1920s-1930s. The band started in early 1976, and Fisher was an original member of the band. By Harley Nefe

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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Say Cheese — It’s National Dairy Month


June 2, 2021.

During the month of June, we are encouraged to celebrate National Dairy Month with our favorite dairy treat. Originally established as a grocery/milk promotion in 1937, National Dairy Month now serves as a reminder of the health benefits that dairy products provide. Containing essential nutrients — including calcium, potassium, vitamin D and protein, dairy products are thought to also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers, while helping us to better manage our weight. According to the National Dairy Association/Council, here are a few fun facts to keep in mind this month as we celebrate. –>. By Sherrie Norris

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Grandfather Mountain’s May Weather Report Shows Near Record-High Temperature for the Month

June 2, 2021 Data recorded at the official National Weather Service reporting station at Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge indicated average May weather at the Linville, N.C., nature park. The lowest temperature observed in April 2021 was 31° Fahrenheit on May 8. The lowest temperature ever observed on Grandfather Mountain in the month of May was 15° on May 6, 1957. The warmest day recorded in May 2021 was 76° on May 25 and 27 — only 2 degrees shy of the mountain’s record May high of 78°, recorded May 19, 1996. The average high temperature for the month was 62.3°, with an average low of 45°, for a May 2021 mean of 53.7°.

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Watauga Habitat for Humanity’s Crowning of the Big Kahuna is Thursday, June 10 at Booneshine Brewing

June 2, 2021 Community members are asking for donations to support safe and affordable housing for Watauga Habitat for Humanity’s 2021 Big Kahuna Campaign. Local “movers and shakers” have volunteered to participate in a friendly, competition to see who can raise the most money to support Habitat’s affordable housing program. The winning team will be crowned The Big Kahuna on June 10th at Booneshine Brewing Company. With less than two weeks remaining, the 2021 Kahuna Campaign has raised $30,600 so far. Past winners include Linda Robinson of Premier Sotheby’s, Justin Davis of Blowing Rock Town Tavern, Jenny Miller/Community Volunteer, Crystal Smith formerly of Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Ginny Walker of Mountain Times Publications. In 2020, Watauga Habitat’s recruited Kahuna teams replacing individual participants and the winning team was Three Kahunas and a Guy (Jenny Miller, John Dean, Jane Meyers, and Susan Devine) raising close to $12,000. Over the past six years, Habitat’s Big Kahuna Campaign has raised more than $230,000.

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App State Sports Venues to Operate at Full Capacity in 2021-22

June 2, 2021 App State Athletics will operate all venues – including Kidd Brewer Stadium for football – at full capacity for the 2021-22 academic year. “We are excited to welcome the App Nation back to our beautiful campus this fall,” said Director of Athletics Doug Gillin. “We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of everyone at our athletics venues. When our alumni, fans and families are cheering for our teams, it makes a big impact on the experience we provide our student-athletes in our pursuit for competitive excellence.” On May 21, Appalachian State University announced its campus would return to pre-pandemic operations for the fall 2021 semester, with safety precautions in place. That announcement followed North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s lifting of the state’s capacity and gathering limits, social distancing requirements and most face covering mandates.

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Avery County Memorial Day Ceremony Held to Honor and Remember Its Perished Veterans

June 1, 2021 On Monday, May 31, Avery County held its annual Memorial Day celebration to remember and honor its natives who perished while fighting for our nation. The ceremony was held on the Avery County/Newland Town Square which features its veterans’ monument with names of all county natives who served during a military conflict and in which war. The county/town square also highlights Armed Forces flags displays and gardens and the Fallen Officers, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Ten Commandments monuments. Avery County’s Memorial Day Ceremony is organized and conducted every year by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary, Pat Ray Post 4286, in Newland. Approximately 150attended this year’s event. By Tim Gardner

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New River Conservancy Hires New Executive Director, Elizabeth Saxman Underwood, Ph.D


May 31, 2021. The New River Conservancy (NRC) Board of Directors has selected Elizabeth Saxman Underwood, Ph.D to be the next Executive Director of the three state watershed organization. Elizabeth will succeed George Santucci, who officially stepped down from NRC on January 1 to become the Sustainability and Special Projects Manager for the Town of Boone, NC. Santucci remained Interim Executive Director while the Board of Directors searched for NRC’s next leader. Elizabeth will officially step into her new role as Executive Director on June 1, 2021. An avid paddler of both tandem canoes and whitewater kayaking, Elizabeth enjoys being on any river.  She and her husband enjoy multi-day expeditions in their tandem canoe.  Among their favorite adventures, they have paddled all 153 miles of America’s first National River: the Buffalo River.  In her kayaks, she also enjoys surfing on waves and navigating through rivers and creeks.   Elizabeth and Kristian have been active leaders with the Arkansas Canoe Club and often volunteer on river clean-ups.  In western NC, she is involved with the Riverlink Woodfin wave project and volunteered with Riverkeeper.

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The Art Cellar Gallery Continues 2021 Summer Season with a Show for Zoey Brookshire


May 31, 2021. Emotion is a driving force behind both creating art as well as perceiving it. Many artists seek to reflect certain emotions through their work. Some artists choose to leave emotion out of the creative results in order for the audience to foster their own response to a piece. The Art Cellar Gallery is proud to represent artists of various creative styles. Our 2021 Summer Show Schedule gives collectors the opportunity to explore the creative nuances that make each of our artists unique. This week, we will be hosting a solo exhibition for Zoey Brookshire. Zoey has made a name for herself over a thirty-five year exhibition history, which includes 22 solo and 45 group exhibitions. Her honors include a prestigious South Carolina Fellowship in Visual Arts as well as numerous project grants. Zoey’s work stands out with large, provocative-moody pieces that traverse themes of dark and light. Her paintings leave the door open for the viewer to generate their own emotional response to each piece; all are packed with abstract imagery inspired by marked experiences from her past and present.

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Southern Appalachian Historical Association to Host Daniel Boone Day Event at Hickory Ridge History Museum on June 5

May 31, 2021 In honor of National Daniel Boone Day (June 7), the Southern Appalachian Historical Association is hosting a special event at its Hickory Ridge History Museum Saturday, June 5. Daniel Boone, the Town of  Boone’s legendary namesake, was a folk hero in his own lifetime (1734-1820). He was also one of America’s first naturalists, cherishing the country he found as he blazed trails from North Carolina into the wilderness of Virginia and Kentucky.  He founded one of the first settlements west of the Appalachians, served as a militia officer in the Revolutionary War, was kidnapped, then adopted, by a Native American tribe, served in the Virginia legislature, supported his family by hunting and surveying, ran a tavern, and fathered ten children with his wife Rebecca. While journeying through the region of present-day Boone, NC, Daniel stayed in a cabin at the foot of Rich Mountain, and members of his extended family eventually settled here.

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Over 400 Class of 2021 High School Graduates Received Diplomas on Friday, May 28

May 31, 2021 Watauga High School seniors had plenty of reasons to celebrate making it through their final school year. To say the whole year was a challenge would be an understatement as students, teachers and staff members had to deal with COVID-19 changing so much of what they were used to. Teachers started the year with vacant classrooms. Students were learning remotely and taking exams online, all while missing those lunchroom conversations with close friends or attending sporting events that were all pushed back and rescheduled. This senior class earned every inch of these diplomas they received on May 28 at App State’s Holmes Convocation Center. By Harley Nefe

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App State Commemorates Memorial Day, Shares Reflections on its Mountaineer Military Community

May 28, 2021 Throughout the year, Appalachian State University’s Veterans Memorial serves as an ever-present reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by those who served in the armed forces. On Memorial Day, commemorated on the last Monday in May, it holds elevated meaning as the Appalachian Community reflects on the importance of the occasion. Memorial Day is an American holiday celebrated on the last Monday of May to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. The first national celebration of Memorial Day took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. By Megan Bruffy

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May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Lees-McRae College to Host Wildlife Presentations in Banner Elk

May 28, 2021 After a year-long hiatus, the Lees-McRae May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will again be offering wildlife presentations to the public. Starting June 4, representatives from the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be holding educational presentations at the Tate-Evans Park amphitheater in Banner Elk. Presentations will take place every Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. throughout the summer and will end August 13. The talks are free to attend and feature a number of animals native to North Carolina. The May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is situated adjacent to the Elk River on the campus of Lees-McRae. The center annually admits more than 1,500 injured and orphaned wildlife patients from the western part of North Carolina. The patients are individually evaluated and treated based on their medical needs, with the goal to release as many animals back to the wild as possible.

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High Country Community Events to Take Place in Honor of Memorial Day Weekend

May 27, 2021 Observed annually on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is a holiday established to honor the lives lost while serving in the U.S. military. During this time, a lot of people pay tribute to those who have fought for the country by visiting cemeteries and memorials. It is also common to spend time with families or loved ones and even participate in community events. Many Memorial Day events had to be cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this year, some are beginning to make a return. Here is a compilation of 2021 Memorial Day Weekend events happening across the High Country. By Harley Nefe

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Dr. Anthony Zeiss to Serve as Guest Speaker at American Legion’s Annual Memorial Day Program in Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park on May 29 at 11 a.m.

May 27, 2021 Dr. Anthony (Tony) Zeiss will be the guest speaker at the American Legion’s annual Memorial Day Program in Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park on Saturday May 29, 2021, at 11 a.m. The community is invited to attend. Dr. Zeiss, one of the nation’s most outstanding educators, was the President of Charlotte’s Central Piedmont Community College for 23 years until his retirement in 2016. During his tenure, Dr. Zeiss built CPCC from one campus to six campuses serving 70,000 students per year. Under his leadership, CPCC became the nation’s most outstanding educational institution for workplace development. This focus on workplace development enabled Charlotte to attract many international and national firms to locate facilities in the area. This was a major boost to Charlotte and North Carolina’s outstanding economic growth during Dr. Zeiss’ Presidency. Dr. Zeiss’ advice is often sought by national leaders on educational issues.

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