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Foxx Statement on Passing of Justice Scalia

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., today released the following statement regarding the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: “The United States has suffered a tremendous loss with the passing of Antonin Scalia. A passionate defender of the Constitution, Justice Scalia was a patriot who brought great intellect, character and wit to our highest court for nearly three decades. My prayers are with his family. His service to God and country will not be forgotten.”

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SBOE Mandates Watauga BOE To Include Early Voting Site for Primary at App State

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The State Board of Elections unanimously voted to include an early voting site at Plemmons Student Union on the campus of Appalachian State University for the March primary. The Wednesday ruling was 4-0 with one of the three Republicans – Chair Grant Whitney – abstaining from the vote. The State Board of Elections was tasked with choosing a one-stop plan for Watauga County because the local county board of elections didn’t unanimously select a one-stop plan in January. By Jesse Wood – Photo by Lonnie Webster

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N.C. Sen. Dan Soucek To Retire From Senate At End of Term in 2016

Sen. Dan Soucek (R-Watauga) announced Thursday he will retire from the North Carolina Senate at the end of his term to spend more time with his wife and three children. “As Christmas approaches and I reflect on the past year, I realize there were more than 180 nights this year when I was not home to kiss my wonderful wife and three children goodnight,” said Soucek.

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Sue Counts for NC Statehouse Campaign Kickoff

The “Sue Counts for NC Statehouse Campaign” is official. Supporters gathered this morning to learn more about Counts, and why she is seeking to represent the 93rd District. “The people of Ashe and Watauga County know they deserve better from Raleigh,” Count’s said.

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Avery Commissioners Spend Two Hours, 41 Votes Deciding on Chair of Board for 2016

In what is certainly unprecedented for Avery County, the Board of Commissioners spent more than two hours on Monday afternoon and voted 41 times to decide who will be the chair of the commission for the next year, according to meeting minutes. After the gridlock, Martha Hicks was eventually voted on as chair and Maxine Laws was quickly voted as the vice chair with just one vote. By Jesse Wood

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Foxx Praises Passage of Legislation to Improve Schooling, Restore Local Control

Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., today praised passage of legislation to improve K-12 education by replacing No Child Left Behind with new policies to help every child access a high-quality education. “As a grandmother, educator and former school board member, I know students are best served when teachers, parents and administrators are the driving force behind improving education,” said Foxx.

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Candidate Filing for 2016 Elections Opened at Noon, Who Filed First in Watauga?

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When the clock struck noon, four candidates were lined up outside the Watauga County Board of Elections office to file their candidacy in the 2016 general election. Steve Combs was the first one to file. Combs is running for a seat on the Watauga County Board of Education. If Combs is elected, this would be his fourth term on the board after a four-year hiatus. By Jesse Wood

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Brantz Thumps Opponent To Be Boone’s Next Mayor, Clawson & Mason Re-Elected

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Current Mayor Pro-Tem Rennie Brantz will be the new mayor, according to unofficial results in the 2015 municipal elections held on Tuesday, and Councilwomen Loretta Clawson and Lynne Mason retained their seats. Brantz, who has served on the Boone Town Council for about 10 years and is a professor of history at Appalachian State University, thumped his conservative opponent, Ryan Hollingsworth. By Jesse Wood

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Newland Residents Vote To Keep Buying Beer, Wine; Anti-Alcohol Campaigner Arrested

Beer and wine are here to stay in Newland restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and other establishments. Although the sale of beer and wine was initially approved in the 2009 election, citizen Steve Nelson persuaded the Newland Town Council to place an alcohol referendum on the ballot in the hopes that voters would ban the sale of wine and beer. By Jesse Wood

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Unofficial Results for 2015 Municipal Elections in Watauga and Avery Counties

The unofficial results for the 2015 municipal elections in Watauga and Avery counties are in.

Losing Incumbents: Cindy Keller (Beech Mountain Town Council); Dan Phillips (Blowing Rock Town Council); Dale Henson (Crossnore Alderman); Susie Potter (Newland Town Council)

Newland’s referendum on the sale of alcohol: 72 percent of voters approved the sale of wine and beer in Newland town limits. This compares to 54 percent that favored alcohol sales when it first appeared on the ballot in 2006. For more background on this controversial issue, click

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Nearly 17,000 Registered Voters in Boone, Small Percentage Voting in Election So Far

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Boone has nearly 17,000 registered voters (those active and in-active for last two general elections). During early voting, 544 Boone citizens voted for the municipal elections. During the first hour of early voting, only a handful made it to the polls between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. “It’s been pretty quiet,” Watauga County Elections Director Matthew Snyder said earlier this morning. By Jesse Wood

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Candidate Statements for Boone Elections

Instead of framing the response and sending all of the candidates a list of questions, High Country Press let the candidates set the tone by asking for a statement on whatever the candidates wanted voters to know. Here are their responses. Compiled by Jesse Wood

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Outgoing Councilman Quint David Questions Boone Candidates on Sustainability Issues

Outgoing Boone Town Councilman Quint David, who decided not to run for re-election this cycle, said he was concerned about the lack of questions, and subsequently discussions, regarding sustainability at recent candidate forums. So he took the matter into his own hands and asked several questions of mayoral and council candidates in the Boone municipal election. Posted by Jesse Wood

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