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Celebrate Winter in the Mountains at Lees-McRae College with Inspiring Short Films from “Mountainfilm on Tour” this Saturday Feb. 17

February 13, 2024 Mountainfilm on Tour, the annual tour of the most inspiring short films featured at that year’s Mountainfilm Festival in Telluride, Colorado, is coming to Lees-McRae on Saturday, Feb. 17. The tour has been bringing exciting, cutting-edge short films about the great outdoors to cities throughout the country since 1999, and for the first time the tour will be stopping in Banner Elk as part of the college’s High Country Adventure Film and Speaker Series.

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Movie Review: “Lisa Frankenstein” Now Playing at the Regal Boone

February 12, 2024 I had high hopes for “Lisa Frankenstein,” whose trailers promised a lead performance from Kathryn Newton (of the gleefully twisted body-switch horror-comedy “Freaky”) and a sick sense of humor that might actually be jarring in a fun way. Then I learned the truth: the movie still stars Kathryn Newton, but it’s rated PG-13. Ugh, what’s with all these movies going for the wrong ratings lately? The R-rated “Anyone But You” didn’t need all that crudeness, it should have aimed for the PG-13 crowd. The PG-13 “Argylle” celebrates blowing away bad guys way too much for anything other than an R to make sense.

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UPDATE: Arrest Made in Watauga County Sheriff’s Office Investigation into a Homicide

February 9, 2024 The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting an investigation into a shooting incident that occurred earlier today at 5350 NC Hwy 194 North. At approximately 5:48pm, the Watauga County 911 Center received a call reporting that someone had been shot at this address.  Alexander Matthew Jackson, 25 years old and resident of 5350 NC Highway 194 North Boone, NC; was taken into custody following his contact with 911 communications shortly after the incident. Jackson reported to authorities that he had shot Michael Ross, 38, of Elk Park, NC.

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Todd Wright and Friends presents An Evening of Valentines Gems on Wednesday February 14


February 9, 2024 Todd Wright and Friends presents An Evening of Valentines Gems on Wednesday February 14, at the Rosen Concert Hall on the App State campus beginning at 8:00 pm. Todd Wright and Friends have been coming together for this popular event for over three decades. The concert features mainly wonderful classic gems from the American Songbook. The evening also displays the talent of special guests. This season’s guests will feature Appalachian State University’ Mary Gayle Greene McClune on vocals and pianist Chris Rottmayer of University of Wisconsin. Many NC High Country locals keep this annual event on their calendar. The evening will feature Todd Wright on saxophone, Andy Page on guitar, Adam Booker on bass and Rick Dilling on drums. This year’s special guests are Mary Gayle Green McClune on vocals and Chris Rottmayer playing piano and keyboard.

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W.A.M.Y. Community Action Celebrates 60 Years of Fighting Poverty in the High Country

February 9, 2024 W.A.M.Y. Community Action is proud to announce its 60th anniversary of combating poverty and fostering self-sufficiency in the High Country. Over the past six decades, W.A.M.Y. Community Action has dedicated its resources and efforts to uplift individuals and families from poverty, making a significant impact on communities in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey counties.

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High Country Real Estate

February 8, 2024 Hope your first month of 2024 has you off to a good start. That’s certainly the case with Real Estate in the High Country, as we take a look at January’s statistics.All information and statistics were gathered from the High Country Multiple Listing Service.For the month of January for the counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga, there were 124 closed residential properties.The minimum List Price was $89,900, the maximum List Price was $2,529,000, the average List Price was $640,978 and the median List Price was $525,000. The minimum Sold Price was $95,000, the maximum Sold Price was $2,600,000, the average Sold Price was $616,548 and the median Sold Price was $491,500.  By Mark Tyburski REALTOR

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Vicious Biscuit Restaurant Announces Spirit Week with Charitable Twist


February 8, 2024 Vicious Biscuit, the beloved brunch hotspot renowned for its innovative flavors and unique twists on classic dishes, is thrilled to announce its upcoming Spirit Week, taking place from February 12th to February 18th. What makes this week even more special is the restaurant’s commitment to giving back to the community, as they will be donating a portion of all sales during this period to local humane societies. “We’re excited to infuse a burst of energy and positivity into the community with our upcoming Spirit Week,” says Amanda Parker, Director of Marketing at Vicious Biscuit. “It’s not just about serving delicious food; it’s also about fostering a sense of togetherness and contributing to the well-being of our furry friends in need.”

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Contemporary Dance Company Urban Bush Women Celebrates 40 Years with Powerful Legacy + Lineage + Liberation February 16

February 7, 2024 The Schaefer Center Presents series, presented by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, welcomes contemporary dance company Urban Bush Women, celebrating their 40th anniversary in Legacy + Lineage + Liberation, Friday, Feb. 16 at 7:30pm at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts. UBW’s Legacy + Lineage + Liberation celebrates the power of Women(+) in an evening of classic works that transcend genres and amplify the voices of Women(+) of color. These iconic works portray multiple dimensions of life that resonate in this time of reflection around equity and justice, and lift up Black lives in inspiring ways.

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Avery Board of Commissioners Approve Six-Cents Room Occupancy Tax to Highlight its February Meeting

February 7, 2024 During its regular monthly meeting on February 5, the Avery Board of Commissioners approved levying a Room Occupancy Tax of up to six cents.All commissioners—Chairman Tim Phillips, Vice-Chairman Dennis Aldridge, Martha Hicks, Wood Hall (Woodie) Young, Jr., and Robert Burleson—were present for the meeting. County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr., Assistant County Manager and Clerk to the Board Cindy Turbyfill, County Finance Officer Caleb Hogan, and County Attorney Michaelle Poore were also in attendance.

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Avery Falls to Uwharrie Charter in 2024 North Carolina High School Dual Team Wrestling State Championship; Will Still Compete for Individual, Over-All State Team Title

February 7, 2024 The North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s (NCHSAA) Dual Team Wrestling Playoffs were held January 26 through February 3 at various sites and concluded on Saturday in the Novant Health Field House at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.Uwharrie Charter claimed its second consecutive Dual Team State Championship with a 36-33 win against Avery County.  The schools have met in the last four dual team finals.  Avery won the first two (2020 and 2022) during that span. No tournament was held in 2021 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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Prepping for the Big GameSherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Prepping for the Big Game


February 7, 2024 I’m so happy to be back at this computer and tossing out a few ideas for your Super Bowl gathering. I’ve heard that some of you have been missing Lovin’ Spoonful in its absence and I appreciate that more than you know. This ol’ gal has been recovering from a traumatic injury — and yes, it was food related in a sense, so we can still talk about it here. I just had to make a trip across town for some of that delicious Boar’s Head cheese while it was on sale, and of course, there were a few other items I had to pick up along the way.  By Sherrie Norris

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Sugar Mountain Adult Ski League Monday Night Race Results Are Here for Week Five of SMARL

February 7, 2024 With the next to the last race in the books for SMARL’s fifth week of Monday night racing, team rankings look to be in place for the season with Team Sugar leading the skiing division and The Tavern on top for the snowboarding division. Next week’s final week of racing will now come down to individual standings for skiers and snowboarders. Matt Leonard of Ski Country Sports reports that the February 12th race will still be important for individual standings as the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are still up for grabs for both men and women.

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Local Entertainer Kody Norris and Band Claim Coveted  SPBGMA Awards In Nashville

February 6, 2024  The Kody Norris Show has done it again. The energetic, entertaining four-member country/ bluegrass band with local roots swept away some of the music industry’s most coveted awards during the 2024 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass for America held last week at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville. “I feel like I have woken up in a dream, but thankfully it wasn’t,” Norris shared on Monday morning. “Last night has blown us away. We love bluegrass music and everything it stands for. We send a big thank you out to SPBGMA for keeping this event moving forward, the good Lord above, our team, our families and most definitely, our fans.”

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Conversation with Avery County Business Personal Property Tax Manager Shelia Thomas


February 6, 2024 Those who know Shelia Thomas and others with whom she comes in contact are impressed with her kindness, compassion for others, and easy-going demeanor.  And as one of the Avery County’s longest-tenured public servants in a local government role, Thomas is noted for her dedication, professionalism, and expertise in the various functions in her job without desire for any special recognition or commendation of such. However, with her pending retirement this year, Thomas is featured in the below questions and answers segment, followed by comments from several of her fellow-tax office employees about her. Those personify that among the highest tributes anyone can receive are those given by peers.

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Blowing Rock’s St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church Sponsors Concert in Honor of Black History Month on February 18th

February 6, 2024  The Friends of Music at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church is sponsoring “Wake and Forget, Dream and Remember: A Concert in Honor of Black History Month” on Sunday, February 18 that 6 pm. The concert showcases a broad spectrum of music by black composers from the familiar spiritual Deep River to traditional settings of the Nunc dimmittis by Samuel Coleridge Taylor and Ave Mariaby Nathaniel Dett, as well as lesser-known music by Florence Price, Moses Hogan, and Harry Burleigh.

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February 9th Voter Registration Deadline Approaching for March 5 Primary Election

February 6, 2024  Eligible North Carolinians who want to cast their ballot in person on Primary Election Day – Tuesday, March 5 – must register to vote by Friday, Feb. 9. Feb. 9 is also the deadline for registered voters to change their party affiliation before the primary. Under state law, the regular voter registration deadline is 25 days before an election. Individuals who miss the deadline may register and vote during the in-person early voting period, which runs from Feb. 15 through March 2, at any early voting site in their county.

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Gina Harwood Appointed as Part-Time Executive Director of Village Foundation of Blowing Rock


February 6, 2024 The Village Foundation of Blowing Rock is thrilled to announce the appointment of Gina Harwood as its new Part-Time Executive Director. In her role, Gina will be pivotal in providing consistent organization and direction to the foundation, steering it towards a bright and impactful future. Gina brings a wealth of experience, having previously served as the Executive Director of Development for the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University. During her impressive 12-year tenure at ASU, Gina demonstrated an unwavering passion for helping students, donors, and alumni achieve their goals and build lasting legacies.

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Blowing Rock Chamber VP Completes First Year at Institute for Organization Management

February 6, 2024  Institute for Organization Management, the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is pleased to announce that Cathy Barker, Vice President of Business Development, of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, has recently completed her first year at Institute for Organization Management, a four-year nonprofit leadership training program at University of Arizona in Tucson. Charles Hardin, President and CEO of the Blowing Rock Chamber commented on this opportunity for Barker as she furthers her Chamber experience and gains the necessary knowledge to move forward in her career with the Chamber.

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Lees-McRae Wins Inaugural Developmental Women’s Basketball Championship

February 6, 2024  The inaugural Conference Carolinas Developmental Women’s Basketball Championship was held on Monday, Feb. 5 in Belmont, North Carolina inside the Wheeler Center on the campus of Belmont Abbey. Lees-McRae went 2-0 on the day to claim the title. The Bobcats began the afternoon with a 54-50 victory over the host Crusaders. Barton then defeated Erskine 96-38 and the Crusaders took third with a consolation game win over Erksine, 53-23.

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Blue Ridge Fiber Guild Exhibits in Wilkes County

February 5, 2024 Ten members of the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild are showing in  an  exhibit at the Northwest North Carolina Visitor Center in North Wilkesboro, NC. The Visitor Center, located at 2121 East Hwy 421, is a state-of-the-art sustainable education site with solar utilities, hiking trails, and butterfly gardens.    The guild exhibit features fiber art in various forms, from wearables to wall art, that range in style from traditional to contemporary. Featuring an array of color and texture harmonies, they are constructed in knitting, crochet, weaving, felting, surface design, and quilting. Many items are for sale, and visitors may contact individual artists to arrange a purchase by calling the phone number on each tag. 

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Movie Review: “Argylle” Now Playing at the Regal Boone

February 5, 2024 As much as I enjoyed the fun, exciting trailers for “Argylle” that made excellent use of the film’s eclectic cast, there was one element that told me the movie was in serious trouble. Amongst shots of the cat belonging to spy novelist Elly Conway (Bryce Dallas Howard), onscreen text insisted that, “Once you know the secret, don’t let the cat out of the bag.” In other words, there’s a big twist in this movie. 

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Banner Elk Presbyterian Church Invites All to Lent & Easter Services

February 5, 2024  Worship services throughout this year’s season of Lent and Easter Sunday at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church will include special community gatherings for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The season of Lent is a time of prayer and self-examination in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord at Easter. “Lent is a time to re-connect with our faith,” says Rev. Whit Malone, Pastor. “Some people give up damaging behaviors to draw closer to God. Others add new practices including service in the community.”

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