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Blanks, McNiel, Roseman, Martin and Hay Apply for Mayor-Elect’s Vacant Boone Town Council Seat

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 11, 2013. The deadline to apply for Mayor-Elect Andy Ball’s soon-to-be vacant seat on the Boone Town Council has passed, ending last Friday at 5 p.m.

Five Boone residents applied, filling out the application and submitting a resume and letter of interest. See below for more information about each applicant: Diane Blanks, Bryan Martin, Virginia Roseman, Jesse McNiel and Fred Hay.

The new Boone Town Council members will be sworn in on Dec. 17 and will then take a vote to decide which applicant will fill the vacant council seat. Because Ball had two years remaining on his term, this council seat will expire on December 2015.

Diane Blanks of Green Street

In her application, Blanks said she was applying for Boone Town Council “to provide a voice for small stakeholders and do my modest part to make my hometown a better place to work and live.” When asked how she would rate the 2006 Comprehensive Plan, Blanks gave a nine out of 10.

Blanks, now retired, is a member of the Junaluska Heritage Association, Watauga County Library Endowment Board and is vice chair of the Boone Historic Preservation Commission. She spent more than 10 years working in the Health Sciences Center’s Office of Development at Emory University. With a journalism degree from UNC-Chapel Hill, Blanks also worked in the journalism and communications fields.

Blanks was born and raised in Boone, however she has been a resident in town for the past three years, according to her application submitted to the town.

Jesse McNiel of Farthing Street

McNiel said he was applying for the Boone Town Council position “to help and assist the people of Boone and Watauga County.” A resident for the past 13 years, McNiel gave the 2006 Comprehensive Plan a rating of eight out of 10.

McNiel currently works for Habitat for Humanity in Watauga County. With a bachelor’s in technical production from Western Carolina University, McNiel worked as a theatre consultant for Cecil DeBoone, the entity in control of the Appalachian Theatre before it went into foreclosure. Along with other theatre work, he also has an employment history in woodworking.

Virginia Roseman of Cherrybrook Lane

In her application, Roseman noted that she wanted to fill Mayor-Elect Andy Ball’s soon-to-be vacant council position to “be a voice for the people of our community, and when the town is faced with difficult and crucial questions, to help make decisions in the best interest of the community.”

She currently serves on the Board of Adjustment and Tourism Development Authority. She also ran for Watauga County Board of Commissioners in the last election but lost to Perry Yates. Her education includes four years in a double major in child development and family relations and social work at Western Carolina University.

Roseman has resided in Boone for the past six years. She rated the 2006 Comprehensive Plan an eight. She currently works at Wahoo’s Adventures as director of communications and marketing.

Bryan Martin of Overlook Drive

Martin stated that he wishes “to be apart of an already strong town council and offer my time and efforts in support of the community.”

A resident of Boone for the past four years, Martin is a partner at Deal, Moseley and Smith, a law firm that he has worked at since 2009. He noted that while he has represented clients who have appeared before the Boone Board of Adjustment and Boone Town Council, he would cease if selected for the position and another lawyer in the firm would handle those cases.

He listed N.C. Legal Aid and the board of Two Rivers Community School has nonprofits he is involved in. He graduated from Indiana School of Law and completed a bachelor’s at DePauw University.

Dr. Fred J. Hay of East View Drive

Hay applied for the vacant council position “to help ensure that the council’s progressive agenda will continue.” He rated the 2006 Comprehensive Plan as a nine.

Hay has lived in Boone for nearly 20 years and has been employed at ASU since 1994, where he is currently an Anne Belk Distinguished Professor, a librarian of the W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection and professor of Appalachian Studies. He has numerous degrees, mostly in Anthropology.

Hay noted that he was on the Howard’s Knob Task Force in the ‘90s and has been on the Board of Adjustment since 1999.