High Country Press

Published Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  • LETTERS / Earth Day and Our Carbon Footprint

    April 21, 2021 Letters to the Editor. By Holden CRINTER / Dear Editor, With Earth Day coming on April 22nd, we have reduced our carbon footprint by curtailing travel and our thermostat. We recycle. But we can do so much more by cutting our consumption of animal meat and milk products. Yes, that. A recent article in The Guardian argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, as well as air and water pollution, depletion of soil and water resources, and destruction of wildlife habitats. Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires massive shift to plant-based eating. The Netflix feature Seaspiracy documents the devastating environmental impacts of the fishing industry.  Read more…



  • Watauga, Avery Obituaries – April 20, 2021

    April 6, 2021. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • Several High Country Events Highlight the Importance of Earth Day


    April 20, 2021 Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22 each year since 1970 and has always been a celebration of what people are doing or can do to save the planet. Now, over a billion people worldwide recognize the day as a day of action to fight for a cleaner world and bring awareness to many of the issues that are facing people from all parts of the globe. First celebrated in the United States, Earth Day went global in 1990 with over 200 million people participating in 141 countries. Earth Day 2020 marked 50 years with global activations that aim to mobilize a billion people worldwide for transformative action for our planet. Here in the High Country, there will be several events going on to bring awareness to the environment at a local level. Appalachian State is leading the way with numerous events that have been ongoing through the month of April and more coming this week and next week. From April 19-23, App Builds a Home will be working two shifts per day in the Peacock Parking Lot to build the interior walls for the home of Sheila Potter, who has been an Appalachian State employee since 2006 and will be the owner of the second home built by App Builds a Home, working in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • School Board Hears Presentation from Architect on Construction of New Valle Crucis School


    April 20, 2021 At their regular monthly meeting on April 12, the Watauga County Board of Education had a chance to view a presentation put together by architects from Clark Nexsen on how the new Valle Crucis School could look. “They brainstormed their vision for the school by submitting ideas of things they’d like to keep, toss and create in the constrictions of a new school in Valle Crucis,” said Garrett Price, the Director of Communications for Watauga County Schools. “The team will now go on to establish more detailed plans and designs and present them to the board in the next few months.” Price said that the faculty and staff at Valle Crucis also got to participate in a similar brainstorming function at the school to get their opinions on what to include and not include at the new site, which has a completion date set for the spring of 2024. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Town of Boone Seeking Input from Public to Participate in Town of Boone Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Survey

    April 20, 2021 On March 18, 2021, the Boone Town Council voted unanimously to amend the Town of Boone Code of Ordinances to affirm the Town’s commitment to non-discrimination. The approval directed staff to ensure that all Town of Boone employment practices, programs and services are provided free of any type of discrimination. In addition, the Town Council requested that the Town Manager solicit community input in the form of a Town of Boone Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Community Survey. All residents, students, visitors, people employed in the Town of Boone and other interested people are invited to participate. Questions involving how you feel about diversity, equity and inclusion in the Town of Boone and what you think the Town Council’s priorities involving potential future actions should be are included. / Read more…



  • Children’s Council of Watauga County Holding a Child and Family Resource Drive Thru on April 24


    April 19, 2021 The Children’s Council of Watauga County will be putting a bunch of community resources around the High Country into once place this Saturday with the Child and Family Resources Drive Thru event from 9-11 a.m. at the Watauga County Social Services parking lot, located at 132 Poplar Grove Connector in Boone. There will be 19 programs will be on hand to share information about summer recreation, parent support from birth to adolescence, foster and adoptive parent program, and much more. The event will be held rain or shine and all families are welcome to attend. The first 100 families to register will get a free kit or book from The Children’s Playhouse. To ensure as much safety as possible, all staff will be wearing masks and adhering to proper social distancing measures. The Children’s Council of Watauga County is a local nonprofit that works to build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development by strengthening families, the early childhood system, and the wider community.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Temperatures Expected to Drop Midweek with a Chance of Snow Possible on Wednesday

    April 19, 2021 Warmer spring temperatures will not be in the forecast this week as they have previously for the High Country. Cold weather is forecasted to take over on Tuesday night, bringing a chance of snow at higher elevations on Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday will be the nicest day of the week with a high around 60 and some sunshine. After that, however, a cold, wintery feel is back in the forecast. According to the latest forecast from Ray’s Weather Center, the low will drop to 40 on Tuesday night with some light rain moving into the area overnight. On Wednesday, temperatures will drop throughout the day, as lingering rain showers may turn to snow showers during the afternoon. The low temperature is expected to drop into the 20s for Wednesday and Thursday nights with highs in the mid to upper 40s.  By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Davidson-Davie Partners with Lees-McRae to Offer Seamless Transfer, Scholarship Opportunities


    April 19, 2021 Davidson-Davie Community College is giving its students yet another way to advance their education by transfer to Lees-McRae College, a four-year school located in Banner Elk, North Carolina. The agreement was formalized in a signing ceremony that included both colleges’ presidents on Friday. “We are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Lees-McRae College,” said Darrin Hartness, Davidson-Davie president. “Knowing that we can offer our students another path to an affordable, four-year education, through guaranteed admission to a school with so many program opportunities, is very important to us.” Called a comprehensive articulation agreement, the partnership between Davidson-Davie and Lees-McRae includes guaranteed admission for those who earn their associate degrees at Davidson-Davie. Students who transfer also will receive merit scholarships that discount tuition by up to 60 percent. Other discounts are available for those who choose online programs. / Read more…



  • Area Golf Courses Ready for the 2021 Season; Sugar Mountain Golf Club Opening April 23


    April 19, 2021 In what is definitely a sign that spring is here, golf courses across the High Country have opened or are getting ready to open for what will hopefully be a busy spring, summer and fall. Sugar Mountain Golf Club will open for its first round of players on Friday, April 23. The Par-64 public course was voted as the #2 Short Course in the entire country. The course features nine par threes, eight par fours, and a single par five. The public course will be open every day through October. Both season memberships and local passes are now available. Low season rates run through May 27 with green fees of $21 for 18 holes and $17 for 9 holes. Go to their website for details and to reserve a tee time online, or call the Pro Shop at 828-898-6464.  By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Movement Underway to Reform Avery County Arts Council Since Disbanding in 2012

    April 19, 2021 For the first time since the Avery Arts Council disbanded in 2012, a strong, grass-roots movement is underway and gaining steam in the community in support of starting the organization back to fund community art programs and projects to help improve and promote local culture. Leading the effort to reform Avery County’s arts council is Tim Cummings, one of the founding members of the county’s new Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program. The amount of grant funding that nearby JAM programs receive via their counties’ arts councils spurred Cummings’ interest in having an arts council. “The question about the arts council came up as I was looking for grants for the Avery JAM program. I found that Avery County was not a member of the North Carolina Arts Council (NCAC). If we were, the JAM program, although they don’t guarantee any funding, it’s still almost automatic that we would get a grant for $8,000. There’s 15 counties that participate in the JAM program and each of one of them get a full grant or a partial grant,” Cummings in various newspapers reports.By Tim Gardner / Read more…



  • Watauga County Republican Women’s Club Monthly Meeting is Wednesday, April 28th at Noon

    April 19, 2021 The Watauga County Republican Women’s Club (WCRWC) will have its next monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 28th at the Sagebrush Steakhouse in Boone, NC. The meeting will begin at noon. All interested in furthering the Republican cause in The High Country are welcome to attend and are invited to join. Call 828-832-6864 for more information. The WCRWC meets the last Wednesday of each month. See us on Facebook and learn more. / Read more…



  • AAA: Carolinas Gas Prices Remain Steady Despite Demand Reaching Highest Measurement

    April 19, 2021 Despite demand mostly increasing this month and reaching its highest measurement – 8.9 million b/d for the week ending April 9 – in more than a year, pump prices in the Carolinas have continued to remain steady, not seeing any changes on the week. “With refinery utilization almost back to pre-pandemic levels and the lower crude oil prices, motorists have benefited from the steady gas prices lately,” said Tiffany Wright, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group in the Carolinas. “Crude also started to see some upward movement this week, which could translate to small increases at the pump by the end of the month.” North Carolina’s current gas price average sits at $2.62, the same as last week’s average. This is 7 cents less than a month ago, but 94 cents more expensive than last year. / Read more…



  • Movie Review: ‘Voyagers’ Lacks Entertainment with Slow Action and Predictable Plot, Storyline

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    April 12, 2021 Before I get into trashing 6th place weekend box office finisher “Voyagers,” I want to take some time to say some nice things about 8th place finisher “In the Earth.” The latter film played on less than a third as many screens as “Voyagers,” yet it made nearly two-thirds as much money. The underpromoted horror movie is one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve seen in a long time. And by “pleasant,” I mean in terms of quality, not subject matter, because there are some brutal scenes in that film. But if the film is playing in your area, if you can handle an R-rated horror film, and if you can withstand a barrage of strobe and other potentially-nauseating lighting effects, then I recommend seeing it. I would have given it a grade of B if I weren’t stuck reviewing “Voyagers,” a bomb that is playing on nearly 2,000 screens, but in its second weekend couldn’t beat “Tom & Jerry” in its eighth. I’d say to stay away from “Voyagers,” but since the movie hasn’t risen above fifth place at the box office since it opened, it doesn’t seem people need to be told that. The actors are putting their backs into what must have seemed like a juicy script about sexual awakening in space, but between page and screen this movie just became blah. I’m hoping that “In the Earth” builds up enough of a cult following among adult viewers (and it does need to be adults, and ones who can handle an assault on the senses at that) that I’ll wind up regretting the choice to review this lousy movie. By Bob Garver / Read more…



  • App State to Hold Community COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic April 22 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm


    April 19, 2021 App State will hold a community COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Thursday, April 22 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The clinic will administer the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is approved for adults ages 18 and older. App State’s Community Vaccine Clinics are held at the Holmes Convocation Center and are open to anyone in North Carolina ages 18 and over. There is no charge for the vaccine, nor do you need to provide any insurance information. / Read more…



  • Ramps, an Appalachian Spring Delicacy in Danger; Here’s What You Need to Know About this Plant


    April 19, 2021 Ramps, Allium tricoccum, are species of wild onion. They are delicious and nutritious and have a very important place in the cultural and culinary history of the southern Appalachians. Native Americans such as the Cherokee ate the plant and used it medicinally for a variety of purposes including as a spring tonic. Early European settlers continued to eat and use ramps medicinally. Ramps provide many nutrients and minerals and historically helped people revitalize themselves after a long winter without many greens or vegetables. Many people still await the early spring arrival of ramps. Nowadays restaurants include ramps on their menus and there are a variety of ramp festivals and events that celebrate ramps. This is particularly true in the southern Appalachian Mountains where there are multiple large ramp festivals in locations such as Haywood Co. NC, and Polk Co. TN, that even include events such as ramp eating competitions.  By Felix Stith / Read more…



  • The Next Chapter: George Santucci Reflects on his Time as the Director of the New River Conservancy


    April 16, 2021 George Santucci has dedicated much of his adult life to conservation and the environment. From his early days working with the 4-H program in Ashe County through his 15-year tenure as the Director of the New River Conservancy, appreciating the nature that surrounds us all has always been important to George. Santucci arrived in the High Country 25 years ago and has found a true passion for protecting the New River and being involved with as much environmental conservation as possible. “I was working for Ashe County Cooperative Extension’s Outdoor Education program, and as part of that, I ran a program called the 4-H Blue Ridge Conservation Corps,” Santucci said. “We did trail building projects with New River State Park, river cleanups and planting trees and shrubs on river banks with New River Conservancy.” It was during this time that he applied for the New River Conservancy’s Director position when Jeffery Scoot decided to leave. Santucci applied and was hired, giving him an even more hands-on approach to conservation. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga High School to Offer Student, Parent Vaccine Clinic on Wednesday, April 21


    April 16, 2021 Watauga High School will hold a vaccine clinic for students and parents from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21 in the high school gym. The clinic will offer vaccinations to all Watauga High School students ages 16 and older and their parents. Held in partnership with AppHealthCare and Boone Drug, the clinic will offer doses of the Pfizer vaccine — currently the only shot approved for people ages 16-17. Parents and students who are interested in receiving a vaccine may sign up through the Boone Drug website at www.boonedrug.com/covid-vaccine. Eligible Watauga High School families will receive further instructions on how to sign up for the vaccine from the school. Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott encouraged students and parents to sign up for the vaccine at the high school. / Read more…



  • Revisioning Recovery Film Screening and Discussion Event to Take Place April 22

    April 16, 2021 On April 22 at 6:30 pm, in partnership with the Watauga County Public Library, Working Films and Appalachian State University’s Sustainable Department, a film screening and discussion event sponsored by North Carolina Humanities and titled “Revisioning Recovery: Uncovering the Roots of Disaster” will take place. The program features a collection of five short films that tell environmental disaster recovery stories and examine historical inequities that worsen when disasters hit. This free event will also include an interactive post-screening discussion. / Read more…



  • Action-Packed Family Weekend Planned for App State’s 2021 Football Home Opener


    April 16, 2021 The home football game that anchors the annual Family Weekend on App State’s campus will be the Mountaineers’ 2021 home opener against Elon on Saturday, Sept. 18. The action-packed day will also serve as a celebration of the App State Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2021, as well as a special tribute to Hall of Fame football coach Jerry Moore and the unveiling of the new Coach Jerry Moore Plaza and statue. Kickoff against Elon is slated for 3:30 p.m., subject to change for national television. Moore won 215 games as the Mountaineers’ head coach from 1989-2012. He led App State to three straight national championships from 2005-07, the historic 34-32 road upset of Michigan in 2007 and 10 conference titles. He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Southern Conference Hall of Fame and the App State Athletics Hall of Fame. To learn more about the Coach Jerry Moore Plaza, visit www.JerryMoorePlaza.com. / Read more…



  • High Country Association of REALTORS® Report: Land, Home Sales Continue Surge


    April 16, 2021 Sales of both homes and land remain on a breakneck pace in the High Country region, according to the latest monthly report by the High Country Association of REALTORS. All four counties in the area recorded double-digit growth in home sales compared to the first quarter of 2020, as recorded in the High Country Multiple Listing Service. It tracks all sales activity by REALTORS active in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. Overall land sales are up almost 150 percent, and even commercial activity is increasing. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Deeds – April 9-14: 43 Deed Transfers With a Total Value of $12,973,500.00

    April 15, 2021. A look at the recent deed transfers in Watauga County. The information comes courtesy of the Watauga County Register of Deeds. / Read more…
    Compiled by Harley Nefe



  • April/May Edition of the High Country Magazine is Now Available


    April 15, 2021 The first High Country Magazine of 2021 is now available for pickup in several locations across the High Country. The lead story features details and personal stories from realtors highlighting some unprecedented times in the High Country real estate market. Homes valued at over $1 million have sold quicker than ever before and many homes have so many offers as soon as they hit the market that oftentimes sellers are getting several thousand dollars over their initial asking price. Realtors from Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, West Jefferson and Sparta all talk about their local markets in a time that they’ve never seen before. The story also includes a historical look back on some of the highs and lows of the real estate market over the last three decades.Just a few real estate numbers to remember from 2020: Total 2020 home sales in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties reached $1.596 billion, the most on record. 163 homes sold for over $1 million. 26 homes sold for over $2 million.  4 homes sold for over $3 million. 1,144 tracts of land sold for $110.3 million in 2020, the most on record. / Read more…



  • High Country Senior Softball League is Preparing and Recruiting Players for 2021 Summer Season


    April 15, 2021. It’s time to dust off bats, balls and gloves, as the High Country Senior Softball League is gearing up for the 2021 summer season. The High Country Senior Softball Team recently resumed play and is recruiting men ages 60 and over and women ages 50 and over to join in on the games. Players get together every Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Avery County High School in Newland and on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. at the Watauga County Parks and Recreation’s Complex Field in Boone from April through September. Interested participants are invited to choose one location to play at each week or play at both spots. Bats, balls and gloves are provided, but players can still bring their own or any other equipment they might need. There is no cost to get started. There are two styles of play for the group: A competitive team that wants to play games against teams from surrounding areas and a casual team that wants to use the sport as a good way to be outside and get exercise. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Weekly Crime Reports: Activity and Arrests in Boone and Watauga County, April 5 – April 11

    April 14, 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



  • App State’s Community COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic on April 15 will Administer Moderna Vaccine Instead of Johnson & Johnson

    April 14, 2021 App State will hold a community COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Thursday, April 15 from 10 a.m. – noon. The clinic will administer the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is approved for adults ages 18 and older. Register for an appointment time at appstate.edu/coronavirus/vaccine/. Call 828-262-6578 or email [email protected] if you have questions or need assistance. App State’s Community Vaccine Clinics are held at the Holmes Convocation Center and are open to students, faculty, staff and community members. There is no charge for the vaccine, nor do you need to provide any insurance information. / Read more…



  • Watauga County Parks & Recreation Offers Tours of Recreation Center in Preparation of Opening


    April 14, 2021. Watauga County Parks & Recreation is holding tours of the Watauga Community Recreation Center where the public can see what the new facility has to offer.The recreation center is a 100,000 square foot facility featuring a six-lane competition pool with a climbing wall, a leisure pool with a 20-foot slide, four multi-use gym courts, a fitness center with weights and exercise rooms, birthday party rooms, fitness classrooms, event space and an elevated jogging track. Available dates for the tours include April 15, 18 and 20. Each day has two start times for the tours: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The tours are free, but there is a limit of 20 people per group, and masks are required to participate. Interested people can call WCP&R on weekdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to reserve a spot. By Harley Nefe / Read more…



  • Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Ramps Are Here, But Not For Long!


    April 14, 2021. Get ‘em while you can! That’s the word from Susan Preston Owen who knows a thing or two about ramps. As one of the area’s leading authorities on anything that grows, Susan just happened to let folks know — via social media/High Country Food Hub — that she had harvested ramps yesterday, and almost immediately, they disappeared. However, if you are reading this today, Wednesday, April 14, and will be in the area, she will have more available after 12 noon at the Food Hub on West King Street in Boone. But, she knows they will go quickly. Overall, she doesn’t expect them to last much longer than another week, so get them while you can. For those who don’t know, Susan tells us that ramps are a native wild leek that grows in the mountains —and this is the height of the season. Just as I remember an annual Ramp Festival in Crossnore at Jim and Jennie’s Music Barn, Susan also remembers the festival up on White Top mountain, both of which attracted large crowds every year from miles around. “Ramps have a very strong garlic flavor and  a little goes a long way,” she says.  Unfortunately, she adds, they are becoming endangered from poachers and from incorrect harvesting.  “People used to pull the whole plant, bulb and all, to eat, but they won’t grow back. To harvest sustainably is to pick one leaf off of each plant, thereby leaving the remaining leaf to feed the bulb and multiply. Most people think the leaves taste better than the bulb. Susan tells us there are a couple of varieties of ramps, both of which she has available: Allium tricoccum var. tricoccum have wider leaves and red stems. Allium tricoccum var. burdickii is also known as narrow-leaf or white ramps. By Sherrie Norris / Read more…



  • Watauga, Avery Obituaries – April 13, 2021

    April 6, 2021. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland. / Read more…



  • Blowing Rock’s Bass Lake Sidewalk Construction Will Connect Main Street to Blue Ridge Parkway


    April 13, 2021 The much-anticipated sidewalk project to connect Main Street to Bass Lake and the Blue Ridge Parkway is just a few short weeks from being completed, that according to both Mayor Charlie Sellers and Blowing Rock Town Manager Shane Fox. “The sidewalk to Bass Lake has taken many years to reach its fruition. The DOT and the town have collaborated and now it is something that should be completed in early summer, which further enhances the walkability of our town,” said Mayor Sellers. “We have had a lot of great things that have happened in the town in the last few years and more things to come.” According to Fox, the cost of the project was an estimated $1.3 million. An E-FLAP (Eastern Federal Lands Access Program) Grant covered 80 percent of the cost while Blowing Rock had to cover the other 20 percent. “Essentially we got a grant that ties the walkway from town property to federal property, which is the Blue Ridge Parkway,” said Fox. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Watauga County Students Compete in Mathcounts Competition; Six Students Advance to Next Level


    April 13, 2021 Recently, 23 of Watauga’s best math students met virtually to test their mettle against their peers in the annual Mathcounts competition — a contest that tasks young mathematicians to tackle challenging math problems in a timed tournament format. The High Country MathCounts Chapter competition is usually held in person on the campus of Appalachian State University at the Reich College of Education, but was moved to a virtual platform this year because of the pandemic. The competition typically consists of both individual and team events, but because of the online format, no team-level events took place this year. Teams across Watauga practiced for several months leading up to the competition to hone their mathematics skills on multiple types of problems that include algebra, geometry, number sense, probability and statistics. The problems are designed to stretch students’ critical thinking and challenge them to learn advanced mathematics in middle school. Six students from the High Country competition advanced to the next level of the contest.  / Read more…



  • West Jefferson Volunteer Appointed to AARP North Carolina Executive Council

    April 13, 2021 For his work to help people live the kind of lives they want to live as they age, West Jefferson resident Alan Briggs has been appointed to the Executive Council of AARP North Carolina.  AARP is a volunteer-led organization and Executive Council members work closely with AARP staff and volunteers to provide strategy to guide the advocacy and programs offered to over 1.1  million AARP members in the state. AARP North Carolina Director Mike Olender explains, “AARP works every day to help people get the most out of life as they age. From protecting people’s health and retirement security, to creating fun ways for people to connect with each other and with the communities they call home, AARP volunteers make it possible for us to accomplish our priorities. Alan Briggs clearly understands, supports, and reflects the mission of AARP – to enhance quality of life for all as we age, to lead positive social change and to deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service,” Olender said. / Read more…



  • Blue Ridge Energy Launches Brighter Future Solar Project with Solar Grid in Caldwell County

    April 13, 2021 Blue Ridge Energy, a member-owned electric cooperative serving northwest North Carolina, has selected Oriden LLC to develop a utility-scale solar project as part of its Brighter Future initiative. This project will provide a local generation source and allow Blue Ridge Energy to work towards their low-cost, low-carbon future with two significant carbon reduction targets: to achieve 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Blue Ridge Energy’s CEO, Doug Johnson, said, “To meet our sustainability goals while upholding our commitments to reliability and affordability, we are focusing our efforts on areas that make the electric grid more flexible, efficient, resilient, and capable of supporting new energy solutions and the vitality of our communities. We look forward to implementing Oriden’s custom-designed large-scale solar solution, which we have named Brighter Future Solar, to help meet our goals.” The Brighter Future Solar project will provide substantial additional carbon-free electricity to Blue Ridge Energy. / Read more…



  • Chief Justice Paul Newby Extends COVID-19 Emergency Directives Through May 9


    April 13, 2021 Chief Justice Paul Newby issued an order last Friday that extended emergency directives an additional 30 days in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The dangers posed by COVID-19 remain serious, and Chief Justice Newby’s order encourages local judicial officials to adopt appropriate safety precautions in addition to those mandated by the order. The emergency directives contained in the order are effective April 12, 2021, and expire on May 9, 2021. The orders that are continued include directing people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to remain out of courthouses, continuing remote court case proceedings and requiring face coverings social distancing of at least six feet inside courthouses. Courtrooms will have maximum capacities and will be displayed at the entrance. / Read more…



  • App State Hosting Another Community Vaccine Clinic on April 15; One Quarter of Watauga County Residents are Fully Vaccinated


    April 12, 2021 With a majority of Watauga County’s population still unvaccinated, Appalachian State will be offering another community COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Thursday from 10 a.m. until noon at the Holmes Convocation Center. Students, faculty, staff and all members of the community are eligible to participate in the vaccine clinic. The clinic will be offering the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is approved for adults ages 18 and older. According to data provided by AppHealthCare, 25.7 percent of Watauga County’s population has been fully vaccinated. 27.8 percent of the county population has had their first shot of the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. In Alleghany County, 23.7 percent of the population is fully vaccinated while 31.1 percent has had at least one vaccine shot. In neighboring Ashe County, 27.2 percent of the population is partially vaccinated while 21.7 percent is fully vaccinated. In Avery County, they have seen 24.3 percent of the countywide population become fully vaccinated while 32 percent of the population is at least partially vaccinated according to data from NCDHHS. Only Macon County (32.6 percent) has had a larger percentage of its residents vaccinated in Western NC than Avery County. By Nathan Ham / Read more…



  • Avery Commissioners Agree to Pursue State Legislature to Have A County Occupancy Tax

    April 12, 2021 The Avery County Board of Commissioners will be pursuing an occupancy tax for the county. At their regular monthly meeting in April (5th), the commissioner voted unanimously (5-0) to approve a resolution in support of an occupancy tax. The resolution states support of having the State of North Carolina to authorize the county to levy a room occupancy tax on hotels, motels, lodges and other dwellings that hosts visitors or tourists, of up to six percent.By Tim Gardner / Read more…



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