Weekly gas price update…
Average retail gasoline prices in North Carolina decreased by two cents last week to $3.29 as of Monday, Oct. 3. This compares with the national average, which increased by 10 cents last week to $3.75 per gallon, according to www.northcarolinagasprices.com.
National, state debt update…
As of Monday, Oct. 3, the United States’ national debt was $30,927,955,567,955 according to www.usdebtclock.org. That debt figure breaks down to $92,826 in debt per person and $245,822 in debt per taxpayer. Also as of Monday, Oct. 3, North Carolina’s state debt was $52,007,474,469, which breaks down to $5,011 in debt per citizen.
As of Monday, Oct. 3, 188,990 state residents were registered as unemployed, according to www.usdebtclock.org, and 1,812,988 North Carolinians were registered as food stamp recipients out of a total state population of 10,341,782.
We want to hear from you…
The AJT prides itself in investment in our community. We make an effort to cover everything we possibly can, and want the help of our readers to continue to represent what is happening in Avery County. We want your submissions, but they need to meet a few criteria to be considered for publication:
- Submissions may include a photograph with everyone in the photo identified.
- All submissions must include contact information, including an active phone number.
- All submissions must include basic information.
Submissions are not free advertising. No submission that directly benefits a private individual or for-profit organization, either monetarily or for political gain, will be printed. Some good examples of acceptable submissions are philanthropic events, religious events, community events and any events or occurrences of special interest.
The AJT reserves the right to edit submissions to fit publication guidelines and reserves the right to not publish any submission for any reason.
Come join the fun at the Crossnore Jam! Bring your instrument, sing, dance, or just enjoy a good visit. It’s this Friday, Oct. 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Tudor Vance Meeting House in Crossnore. The Jam is held every first Friday of each month, year round. Hope you can be there!
Avery County Historical Museum open, free to public …
The Avery County Museum has recently received a needed facelift to the exterior of the old Avery County Jail where historical artifacts from Avery County are housed. It has received a fresh coat of paint and looks outstanding.
The Avery County Museum displays medical, military, and music memorabilia from dedicated local doctors, soldiers and musicians. It has received many compliments from our visitors. They are amazed at how much history is housed in this space.
The Avery County Museum, Old Linville Depot and Tweetsie 505 Caboose are open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
The museum is still looking for volunteers. If you are interested, please call (828) 733-7111. Our address is PO Box 266, Newland, NC 28657. Check us out on Facebook on The Avery County Genealogy Society page.
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation webinar on fall color October 6…
ASHEVILLE — The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation will host a free 30-minute webinar at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 6, with photographer J. Scott Graham, who will discuss the best ways to enjoy fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Graham will share tips for finding and photographing fall color and discuss his experiences exploring the Parkway for 33 years and 33 autumns. He recently released the book, “Blue Ridge Parkway, A Magnificent Journey.” Though most well-known for his legendary images of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Graham has an impressive portfolio that he utilizes to create brands for many state parks, national historic sites, and picturesque destinations throughout the United States and in the Caribbean.
The webinar is the latest installment of the Insider’s Report series, which highlights the nonprofit’s projects and programs, ways to enjoy the national park unit, Parkway history, and more. To register, visit BRPFoundation.org/events.
Newland Fall Festival this Saturday…
Due to inclement weather last weekend, the Town of Newland rescheduled its Fall Festival to this Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Riverwalk, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Handmade crafts, delectable food and food trucks, fall-themed retail, and early Christmas shopping opportunities will be available, with music and entertainment throughout the day. The event will take place at 288 Calvary Street in Newland. Visit Town of Newland’s social media page for more info.
Norris Family Reunion scheduled for October 15…
Descendants, relatives and friends of William Berry Norris and wife, Martisha Ann Trivett Norris, early settlers of Old Beech Mountain, will gather on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Old Cranberry High School for their annual reunion. Doors will open by 10:30 a.m. for those who would like to arrive early for visiting and sharing of genealogy information. A covered-dish lunch will be served at noon. Bring your favorite dish, family memorabilia to share, and your camera, but most of all, just come and join in the fellowship.
Along the way we’ve made new friends, discovered cousins, cried together over the loss of family members, and rejoiced at the birth of new generations. Plan to attend this year and help continue this family celebration.
The Cranberry High School complex is located at the intersection of Highways 19E and 194 in Elk Park. For more information contact Naomi Houston (828) 765-7693, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Harvey Norris (423) 542-5262.
Woolly Worm Festival returns Oct. 15 and 16, grant application process open…
The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and the Avery Chamber of Commerce, along with the efforts of numerous volunteers would like to announce the 45th Annual Woolly Worm Festival that will be held October 15-16, 2022, at the Historic Banner Elk Elementary School, located at 185 Azalea Circle in Banner Elk. All proceeds from the Woolly Worm festival go to support Avery County Schools grants and local community nonprofit organization projects that benefit our children. For more information on the festival, please go to the Wooly Worm Festival website at www.woollyworm.com.
Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk is proud to accept grants from the schools and nonprofit organizations that benefit the youth of Avery County. The grant application can be found on the Kiwanis of Banner Elk website at bannerelkkiwanis.org.
Avery County Economic Development Committee Workshop coming on October 11 in Newland…
Finding creative solutions to both attracting and training new employees can be challenging. Since this is the case, you may be interested in learning about the apprenticeship training programs that are currently available to you as an employer and the incredible financial incentives associated with these programs. That’s where we would like to help.
The Avery County Economic Development Committee will host a “Win–Win” Program for Employers and Potential Employees Workshop” on Oct. 11, 2022, at the Avery County Community Center building located on the Avery County Cooperative Extension campus at 661 Vale Road in Newland. The workshop presentation will begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by a box lunch provided by your Avery County EDC and catered by the Little Deer Café in Linville. Our keynote speakers will be Charlie Milling, Western Region Youth Apprenticeship Coordinator and Ellis Ayers, Director of Secondary Education and CTE Avery County Schools. There will be a question and answer session following their presentations. Workshop attendees will also be able to spend time networking with both presenters and fellow employers. It is our hope that by presenting this apprenticeship information in such a forum will help you and your business continue to flourish in today’s changing and challenging business climate.
If you would like to register for this workshop or for more information, please contact Dawn Carpenter, Administrative Assistant County of Avery, at (828) 733-8201.
MANNA FoodBank Community Market October 13…
NEWLAND — MANNA FoodBank will be hosting its annual Community Market from 11:30 a.m. until the food runs out on Oct. 13 at the Avery Parks and Recreation Department Rock Gym (185 Shady Street). The event is touch-free, drive-thru pickup, with free groceries, staples and other perishable food products.
For more information, contact Tammy Woodie at (828) 733-6006 or email email@example.com, Robbie Willis at (828) 733-8266 or Dick Larson at (828) 260-5389.
GriefShare support group seminar October 22…
Grieving? Know someone who is? When you are grieving a loved one’s death, the holiday season can be especially painful. Our “Surviving the Holidays” seminar will help participants discover how to deal with emotions, what to do about traditions, helpful tips for surviving social events and how to find hope for the future.
Join us for this encouraging seminar on Saturday, Oct. 22, sponsored by Newland Presbyterian Church. Reservations are required by October 17. For more information, click to www.griefshare.org/holidays, email Peggy at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or call Terri at (386) 316-8355.
Silver Anniversary Celebration of Mountain Piecemakers Quilt Guild…
In 1997, 13 local quilters met at First Presbyterian Church and formed the Mountain Piecemakers Quilt Guild. The Thursday, Oct. 13, meeting of the Mountain Piecemakers will be a Silver Anniversary Celebration. We will be bringing covered dishes for the meal, and mini quilts made to honor the occasion. There will be historical photos and we hope that everyone who has been part of the guild during the twenty five years will join us. We are returning to the First Presbyterian Church on Church Street in Burnsville for the celebration, gathering at 6 p.m. with a meal at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are still available for our fundraising project, our opportunity quilt. Our 2022 opportunity quilt is from the pattern “Common Bride” designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. This beautiful queen size quilt — 88 inches square — is a combination of machine applique and traditionally pieced blocks. The entire quilt is custom quilted on a long arm machine by a member of the Guild. Additional photos can be viewed on our website.
Proceeds from our opportunity quilt ticket sale go to purchase fabric and batting to make Hero Quilts for local veterans and to create Project Linus quilts for children in need. Each year we award 50 to 60 quilts to local veterans from Yancey, Mitchell and Madison counties. This year’s Hero Quilt ceremony will be at 11 a.m. on November 12, at the Town Square in Burnsville. The 2022 opportunity quilt drawing will be held at the end of the Veteran’s Day celebration. The quilt will be shipped if needed to the winner. Mountain Piecemakers is a nonprofit quilt guild and offers educational opportunities for those interested in quilting as well as community service projects.
Toe River Chamber Ensemble to perform Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria in D Minor,’ seeking choral singers…
SPRUCE PINE — Toe River Arts announces the start of rehearsals for the Christmas 2022 performance of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria in D Major.” Residents of Mitchell and Yancey counties who love choral singing are invited to participate in this community-wide experience. “Gloria,” a Baroque era composition, was written around 1715 for the Ospedale della Pietà, a renowned orphanage-conservatory for homeless girls in Venice, Italy, and has become in more recent years, a staple of the oratorio repertoire and a favorite of many high school, college, and church choirs at Christmas. The edition to be performed for our concert is for soprano and alto soloists, chorus for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices, and orchestra. Although there are English translations, our performance will be done in Latin, the language of the original composition. The Toe River Arts orchestra will accompany the choir in the performance.
Rehearsals for the community choir will be held on Tuesday evenings beginning October 11 and running through Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m., at Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church in Burnsville. A dress rehearsal with orchestra will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6, in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church of Burnsville. The performance, which will be open to the public, will be at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13, Toe River Arts is a local organization promoting art in visual, literary, musical, and performance genres.
Grants for family farms in 2023 WNC AgOptions…
ASHEVILLE — WNC Agricultural Options is now accepting grant applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their businesses. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions is distributing a total of $220,000 to western North Carolina farmers in 2023. The application deadline is Nov. 18.
WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures and expanding their farms with $4,000 and $8,000 grants.
The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has supported the mountain region throughout major changes in agriculture, ensuring farmers continue farming. “We are extremely impressed with the innovation and resourcefulness that western North Carolina farmers exhibit as they improve production efficiencies and continually advance their operations through diversifying and enhancing current operations,” said Bill Teague, Chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. “With support from our Board, we continue to build on the long tradition of agricultural excellence in western NC.”
Applicants must contact their Cooperative Extension agents by Oct. 14 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects. Applications are available at www.wncagoptions.org or at local Cooperative Extension centers. Extension agents remain a resource for farmers throughout the year as they complete their projects.
Since 2004, WNC AgOptions has distributed more than $3.5 million to farmers in western North Carolina who are diversifying their operations. Over the years, AgOptions recipients have used their grant awards to strengthen their farm businesses, making them better positioned to face unexpected challenges, such as the pandemic and recent weather-related disasters.
“WNC farms have experienced many challenges in recent years including severe weather events, rising production costs, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions,” said Karen Blaedow, Commercial Vegetable and Small Fruit Agent, N.C. Cooperative Extension and WNC AgOptions Steering Committee Chair. “By financially supporting projects that increase profitability and sustainability, the WNC AgOptions program is building small family farm resilience to better secure our agriculture community for the future.”
WNC AgOptions offers grants to farmers in the following counties/units: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Applicants are encouraged to participate in information sessions October 6 in Newland, October 10 in Shelby and October 11 in Bryson City. Check the WNC AgOptions website for more information on specific times and locations.
The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been improving agriculture in the region since 1949. WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy. “WNC Communities is honored to be the administrator of this annual funding opportunity designed to support farmers in their quest to try new techniques or implement innovative farming practices,” said Jennifer Ferre, Executive Director of WNC Communities. “We are grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and North Carolina legislators for their support for nearly 20 years.”
Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include: representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services–Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and other leaders in agribusiness.
Reaching Avery Ministry receives grant from High Country Charitable Foundation…
Reaching Avery Ministry has received $15,000 from The High Country Charitable Foundation just in time to help with heating assistance for local residents. Reaching Avery Ministry will use the grant for their Emergency Heating Assistance Program to help those in need this winter to stay safe and warm.
Reaching Avery Ministry is so grateful to The High Country Charitable Foundation for the generous donation. As needs continue to increase and heating fuel costs rise, it takes a collaborative effort, and The High Country Charitable Foundation is making a difference to those struggling in our area. We appreciate The High Country Charitable Foundation and their support of RAM’s mission to assist families in crisis in Avery County.
ANOREM welcomes new director of development…
VALDESE – AMOREM welcomes Jake Benfield as its new director of development.
“We are thrilled to have Jake join AMOREM,” said Kerri McFalls, vice president of community engagement for AMOREM. “Jake recently completed his internship with AMOREM as a student with Appalachian State University. We knew right away that we wanted to retain him. He brings energy, enthusiasm and passion for AMOREM’s mission. Jake is a valuable resource not only to AMOREM but to those that we serve.”
Benfield spent the summer of 2022 interning for AMOREM CEO, Cathy Swanson. In the fall, he returned to the High Country to complete his degree in Health Care Management at App State.
In his development role, Benfield will be a part of AMOREM’s Community Engagement Team. He will oversee all aspects of fundraising and grant writing for AMOREM, McFalls said.
“After working alongside the Senior Leadership Team in the summer, I was highly impressed with AMOREM’s Community Engagement Team and its fundraising efforts,” Benfield said. “I accepted this opportunity without hesitation.”
Benfield knew that he wanted to further his professional development with AMOREM where he could provide the same quality, compassion and support to his community that AMOREM provided to his very own grandparents.
“Jake already plays a big role in AMOREM’s fundraising efforts,” McFalls said. “We are currently in the middle of a capital campaign to build a patient care unit in Boone. With Jake’s help, we have raised more than $4.3 million toward our $8 million goal.”
Benfield extends his gratitude to Cathy Swanson, the Community Engagement Team and the families who entrust AMOREM with their loved one’s care.
If you are interested in learning more about AMOREM services, events and news, visit www.amoremsupport.org.
Free dog house program from Avery County Animal Support…
Avery County Animal Support provides free dog houses for those who need an upgrade. The program is judgment-free and is aimed at improving living conditions for animals in Avery County. Avery County Animal Support can also provide collars, as dogs wandering during storms or cold weather are often mistakenly assumed to be lost or strays. There is a brief screening process to ensure that the houses go to those with the most need for an upgrade first.
BBB Scam Alert: That pile of cash might be a money pit! Cryptocurrency investment scams take to TikTok…
Money-flipping cons have long been popular on Instagram and Twitter. But as TikTok’s popularity grows, so do the con artists. Watch out for this TikTok scam, which promises to turn a few hundred dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency into thousands in no time at all. BBB is seeing many new reports in BBB Scam Tracker related to this money-flipping scam. Here’s what you need to know.
You are scrolling through TikTok when you come across a video showing a pile of cash. The creator says they earned the stack of money in just a few days by investing in cryptocurrency. You may not know much about cryptocurrency, but this “investor” can help you get the same kind of return for a modest fee. Better yet, they have a 100% guarantee that they can triple your money in less than a week.
When you contact the supposed investor, likely through WhatsApp, Telegram, or another messaging app, they will be polite and professional. They will ask you to send money – usually, a few hundred dollars to start – through a digital wallet service like PayPal, Zelle or Venmo. They may even ask you to purchase the cryptocurrency yourself and send it to them. Then, they “invest” your money in the stock market, where it allegedly starts multiplying right away.
As always, the scam isn’t what it seems. When you try to get your money back, the scammer will claim you need to pay fees. At first, these amounts may seem harmless. Since your few hundred dollars now turned into a few thousand, what’s the harm in spending a couple hundred in fees, right?
Scammers try to extend this con for as long as possible to get as much money as they can. They may ask for fees several times, always promising you will get much more back than what you are spending. If you question them, they may resort to scare tactics, telling you that if you don’t pay, you’ll miss out on the giant return or that they can take legal action. Unfortunately, any money you send will end up in the scammer’s pockets. You won’t be getting a return on your investment, and you won’t be getting your initial deposit back either.
How to avoid money flipping scams
- Use good judgment. Get-rich-quick schemes and investments that are guaranteed to give you a huge return are nearly always scams. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Do your research. Before you contact someone through TikTok or another social media platform, look up their name, phone number, and company name (if they have one) online. If they have conned others, you’ll likely find complaints online about it.
- Don’t give into scare tactics. If an “investor” contacts you, they may try to convince you the investment will only work if you act right now. Or, if you’ve already sent them funds, they may threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay their fees. In any case, don’t give in to scare tactics. Recognize them as the hallmarks of a scam.
- Understand how digital wallet services work. Treat any money you send through a digital wallet service like cash. Once you send the money, there will be little you can do to get it back if it turns out you were scammed. It’s best to use these apps only with people you know and trust.
Public surveys will begin on the Croatan, Uwharrie, Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests …
ASHEVILLE – The National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) surveys, which take place every five years, will be conducted on the National Forests in North Carolina starting Oct. 1, and will run through Sept. 30, 2023. These surveys will be conducted by a team from the University of Tennessee.
The information gathered provides National Forest managers with an estimate of how many visitors recreate on the National Forests, what activities they engage in, how satisfied they were with their visit, and the economic impact of recreation visitation to local communities. This information will help forest managers determine where to focus their efforts and how recreation facilities can be improved to ensure all forest visitors have a clean, safe, and high-quality experience.
These voluntary surveys will be conducted in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads. The surveyors will be out in all types of weather conditions, wearing bright vests and be near a sign that says, “Traffic Survey Ahead.” They gather basic visitor information, and all responses are confidential; no names are captured in the surveys. Interviews last about 10 minutes and include questions such as where visitors recreated on the Forest, how far they traveled, their party size, and their satisfaction with the recreation facilities and services provided. About a third of the visitors will be asked to complete a confidential survey on recreation spending during their trip.
“Although the survey is entirely voluntary, participation is extremely important so we can assess visitor experiences on the Forest and strive to make it a better place to visit.” said Logan Free, Developed Recreation Program Manager on the National Forests in North Carolina. Information about the National Visitor Use Monitoring program can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/about-agency/nvum.
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with food, fun, and community at Lees-McRae College…
BANNER ELK ─ In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is recognized annually in the United States from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the Office of Inclusive Excellence is throwing a celebration of Hispanic Americans’ history, culture, and achievements on Saturday, Oct. 22.
The celebration will be held at 7 p.m. in Evans Auditorium. Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are invited to gather and enjoy a screening of the movie “Selena”─a biopic that chronicles the life of American Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Pérez─along with authentic Latin American cuisine from Banner Elk business Las Nubes Latin Store and Taqueria.
“I have a personal connection to this observance as my mother is Chicana,” Chief Diversity Officer Charles Gibson III, who is organizing the celebration, said. “I know what it is to have chorizo y huevos made by your abuelita before attending Catholic mass on Sunday morning. I also know the dissonance acutely felt by those of us with Latin American roots who are not fluent in Spanish. This observance is special because it unites all Hispanic and Latin American people, regardless of their experiences, in celebration of life, liberty, and culture.”
This celebration is an opportunity for everyone, regardless of whether they have Hispanic heritage, to come together and celebrate this community. There is no cost to attend the event, and all ages are welcome to gather in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.
2022 BBQ and Bluegrass Festival postponed to October 8 …
SPRUCE PINE — Spruce Pine Rotary Club announced the postponement of last week’s scheduled BBQ and Bluegrass Festival to this Saturday, Oct. 8, due to inclement weather.
Come chill with the tastiest BBQ in the southeast and the hottest bluegrass, country, folk, and Americana music! There will be lots of fun kid activities. Join us in the cool Blue Ridge Mountains for the 11th Spruce Pine BBQ and Bluegrass Festival in Spruce Pine from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on October 8.
A single-day general admission charge is only $5 per person, with children 12 and younger admitted for free. All festival activities, including entertainment, food and craft vendors will be located at 305 Tappan Street in Riverside Park, across the river from downtown Spruce Pine. Tickets may be bought at the festival. Bring your appetite for ribs, BBQ and other great food.
The event features the best in local and regional musicians. The Spruce Pine BBQ and Bluegrass Festival is hosted by the Rotary Club of Spruce Pine, and all the profits from the festival go to charitable efforts and local scholarships through the Spruce Pine Rotary Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit charitable organization. Rotary built the playground in Riverside Park, provided the storage shed for the Giving Gardens and provided a freezer for our local food bank.
The Rotary Club of Spruce Pine has supported American Cancer Society Relay for Life, Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust, Seventh grade Four Way Essay Contest in Mitchell County schools, Imagination Library, Mitchell County SafePlace Kennel project, Mitchell High School seniors of the month, RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership camp) for rising MHS seniors, Shepherd’s Staff food pantry, Rise Against Hunger project, construction of the kids playground in Riverside Park,
Beacon Center of Spruce Pine opening as warming station this winter, seeks volunteers…
SPRUCE PINE — Spruce Pine United Methodist Church is opening a warming station, The Beacon Center of Spruce Pine, in its fellowship hall this winter.
There are those in our community for whom warmth in the winter months is a real problem. It may be a family that has had their electricity cut off or can’t afford enough home heating oil or gas. It may be an isolated elderly person whose house lacks sufficient insulation to keep warm.
What is a Warming Station?
A warming station is a temporary facility that operates when extreme cold weather creates dangerously inclement conditions and normal coping mechanisms are ineffective or unavailable. Incidences of extreme temperature conditions are designated “Code Purple.” The purpose of the Beacon Center of Spruce Pine is to meet this critical need in the community thereby preventing death and injury due to exposure to the elements.
Warming stations are not homeless shelters. They are open for a limited number of hours for a limited number of days and provide limited services. Stations are not day care for children, the elderly or others who cannot care for themselves. It is assumed that individuals who use the station can return to their homes when the station is closed.
When the overnight temperature is forecast to be consistently below 30° Fahrenheit, the decision will be made to open the Beacon Center of Spruce Pine. The center will operate overnight from 6 p.m. in the evening to 8 a.m. the following morning. It will inform local law enforcement and emergency management that it will be open, and make announcements on local radio stations, newspapers and social media. The Beacon Center of Spruce Pine will also place a purple banner at its location on Hwy. 226 when it is open.
There will be hosts present at the center to assist our neighbors in need at the warming station. It will provide partitioned sleeping areas in the church Fellowship Hall equipped with cots and single-use bedding for guests’ comfort. Meals will not be served.
The Beacon Center of Spruce Pine is seeking volunteers to serve as hosts to stay at the shelter during emergencies. There will be training that covers everything volunteers need to know in order to serve the needs of guests seeking shelter at the center. All volunteers are subject to a background check. For more information or to volunteer please contact the Beacon Center of Spruce Pine at (828) 675-8511 or email email@example.com.
It doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe, or what you don’t believe – you are welcome. You are among friends, and we want you to feel at home with us.
Wildlife Commission restricts use of attractants for deer hunting in CWD areas …
RALEIGH – The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission voted at its business meeting on August 18 to adopt an emergency amendment to restrict the use of some natural deer attractants/scents in the Primary and Secondary Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Surveillance Areas.
The Wildlife Commission’s emergency rule builds off the General Assembly’s Session Law 2021-176 that took effect on Dec. 1, 2021, which defines the attractants/scents that may be used while hunting statewide. The session law stipulates that possession or use of substances containing a cervid excretion, including feces, urine, blood, gland oil, or other bodily fluid for the purposes of taking or attempting to take, attract or scout wildlife are prohibited. However, the following substances may be used:
- Synthetic products that are labeled as such.
- Products containing natural substances collected by a hunter from a cervid legally harvested in North Carolina.
- Natural deer urine and other substances collected from a facility in North Carolina with a valid Farmed Cervid License from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) and identified/labeled as such.
- Products labeled as participating in the Responsible Hunting Scent Association’s Deer Protection Program.
The emergency amendment, applicable only to the CWD Surveillance Areas, prohibits possession and use of any excretion collected by a hunter from a harvested deer. This is in addition to regulations already established, restricting the transport of deer carcasses and carcass parts from the CWD Surveillance Areas. The intent of these rules is to help the agency determine the extent of CWD and reduce the risk that CWD prions are moved and distributed within and outside of the Surveillance Areas.
What this means for hunters: Statewide, outside of CWD Surveillance Areas, hunters can continue using deer attractants/scents if they are synthetic, collected from a legally harvested deer within North Carolina, contain excretions from North Carolina facilities with a valid Farmed Cervid License from the NCDA&CS and are labeled as such, or are products labeled as participating in the Responsible Hunting Scent Association’s Deer Protection Program. Hunters hunting within the CWD Surveillance Areas may NOT use or possess urine or other substances collected from deer harvested within North Carolina for hunting.
For more information on Chronic Wasting Disease and related regulations, visit the KNOW CWD webpage, ncwildlife.org/CWD.
Town of Elk Park Large Trash Pickup Days…
Large-item trash pickup in the town of Elk Park will be held Monday to Thursday, Oct. 3 to 6 for town residents. Anyone wishing to have large trash items picked up must notify Elk Park Town Hall to be placed on a list. For more information, call Elk Park Town Hall during regular business hours at (828) 733-9573.
Newland Elementary School Fall Festival October 7…
Newland Elementary School will be holding its annual Fall Festival from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7. The event will include food, inflatables, pie-in-face, a haunted hallway, cake walk, carnival games and more! Ticket and wristband sales are as follows: 4 tickets—$1; 20 tickets—$5; 40 tickets—$10; unlimited inflatables wristband—$10
Kiwanis Club accepting grant applications in connection with annual Woolly Worm Festival…
BANNER ELK —The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and the Avery Chamber of Commerce, along with the efforts of numerous volunteers would like to announce the 45th Annual Woolly Worm Festival, which will be held October 15 and 16, 2022, at the Historic Banner Elk Elementary School, located at 185 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, NC 28604. All proceeds from the Woolly Worm festival go to support Avery County Schools grants and local community nonprofit organization projects that benefit area children. For more information on the festival, please go to the Wooly Worm Festival website at www.woollyworm.com.
Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk is proud to accept grants from the schools and non profit organizations that benefit the youth of Avery County. The grant application can be found on the Kiwanis of Banner Elk website by clicking to bannerelkkiwanis.org.
Beech Mountain History Museum open through October 16…
The Beech Mountain History Museum will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday through October 16. The Museum is located at 503 Beech Mountain Parkway, next to Fred’s General Mercantile. Admission is free. For more information, call (828) 387-HIST (4478) or follow Beech Mountain Historical Society on Facebook.
Suspension of ginseng harvest permits will continue, wild ginseng levels are too low for sustainable harvest…
ASHEVILLE – The Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests will not issue American ginseng harvest permits until further notice due to low population levels observed through monitoring and surveys.
After 250 years of commercial harvest, wild ginseng levels are too low to be sustainably harvested. It may take several years to increase local populations.
“Ginseng harvest has been part of Appalachian culture for generations, and we want to see that continue into the next generation. Suspending ginseng harvest helps ensure wild ginseng on our national forests can rebuild its population. If we keep harvesting, the danger is that they’ll completely disappear from this area,” said Gary Kauffman, botanist for the National Forests in North Carolina.
Ginseng is a long-lived perennial plant native to forests of the Eastern U.S. They have a 60- to 80-year life span and reproduce through seeds. Plants 10 years and older produce the most seeds, but older plants are increasingly rare due to harvesting.
Kauffman has worked with other organizations to reintroduce ginseng into the national forests where the plant has been over-harvested using seeds from local production beds. Monitoring will continue looking at population levels, plant sizes, and seed production.
Anyone removing wild ginseng plants or its parts on national forest lands without a permit may be fined up to $5,000 or a 6-month sentence in federal prison, or both.
SECU Foundation provides $40,000 grant for animal-assisted therapy program in Western North Carolina …
ASHEVILLE – SECU Foundation recently provided a $40,000 grant to TimberKnolls Spirit Cove (TSC), an organization that provides animal-assisted activities and therapy to veterans, military families, first responders, healthcare workers, and people battling illness or trauma. The grant will support TSC’s expansion in Western North Carolina and help develop plans for a new campus. TSC and its therapy teams have helped over 37,000 healthcare workers, first responders, and patients since the start of the pandemic.
“Animal-assisted therapy is a powerful tool in helping children and adults address physical or mental health wellness, everyday life stresses, and crises,” said Kim Hollifield, SECU regional senior vice president. “TSC has an incredible program, and we hope that the Foundation’s grant will create an awareness of their valuable work and encourage others to support their efforts.”
“The heroes of our state are struggling with trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse at record-breaking levels. Veterans, first responders, and healthcare workers have protected our country and kept our communities safe and healthy, yet services to help them are limited. We are grateful to SECU Foundation for awarding us this Mission Development Grant,” shared Lisa Schiller, co-founder and president of TimberKnolls Spirit Cove. “This grant will support strategic planning, marketing, and fundraising to establish a permanent animal-assisted therapy ranch that features giant Newfoundland dogs and Gypsy Vanner horses in the Asheville area, spreading hope and healing to those who need it the most.”
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the state of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for 85 years. SECU is the second largest credit union in the United States with $53 billion in assets and serves more than 2.6 million members through 273 branch offices, more than 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Member Services via phone, www.ncsecu.org and a Mobile App. The SECU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare, and human services. Since 2004, SECU Foundation has made a collective financial commitment of over $235 million for initiatives to benefit North Carolinians statewide.
NCDHHS establishing community access points to provide free at-home COVID tests…
RALEIGH — NCDHHS is establishing Community Access Points in all 100 counties where North Carolinians can find free and easy at-home tests, in an effort to meet people where they are, with the tools they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Community organizations interested in becoming a Community Access Point can register online. Information on where to find at-home tests is available at covid19.ncdhhs.gov/PickUpTests. Information on how and where to find all testing locations in North Carolina is available at: covid19.ncdhhs.gov/FindTests.
Home tests are now widely available, unlike in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and their ease has made them the test of choice. At-home testing access through community distribution sites across the state is key to NCDHHS’ Moving Forward Together strategy.
In addition, NCDHHS remains prepared to support a surge in testing demand in all 100 counties if needed. The department will continue to evaluate and react to feedback and trends in COVID-19 spread and will continue to adapt as needs change.
Staying up to date on vaccination and boosters offers the best protection against COVID-19 for anyone six months of age and older. Find a vaccine location near you at MySpot.nc.gov or by calling (888) 675-4567.
Banner House Museum open for summer tours and more…
BANNER ELK – The Banner House Museum is excited to announce hours, tours, and tickets for Summer 2022!
Experience 19th-century life in Banner Elk and the High Country in the home of Samuel Henry Banner, one of Banner Elk’s early settlers and his wife, Jane Hyder Banner, and their seven children. The circa 1870 house has been furnished with period heirlooms donated and loaned by area residents to tell the story of Banner Elk life from the 1870s to the 1900s. Additionally, an Exhibition Room highlights local history from the nineteenth and twentieth century. This year’s exhibition focuses on Avery County’s Plumtree community and the Tar Heel Mica Company.
The museum is open for summer visitors. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. General admission is $5 per person. The museum is located close to downtown on Hickory Nut Gap Road near the Banner Elk Greenway and next to the Mill Pond. The address is 7990 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Banner Elk, NC 28604.
Daily walking tours of downtown Banner Elk depart the museum at noon Wednesdays through Saturdays. Tour tickets (includes museum admission) are $10 per person.
Moderna COVID-19 booster shots available in Avery County…
COVID-19 Moderna boosters are available for Avery County residents if:
- Your second/final vaccine dose was more than six months ago, and
- You are 65 or older, or
- You live or work in a nursing home or long-term care residential facility, or
- You have a medical condition that puts you at high risk for severe illness (for example, obesity, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes), or
- You work in a high-risk profession, or
- You live or work in a place where many people live together.
Appointments may be made 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily by calling the Avery County COVID line (828) 733-8273. Please bring your insurance and vaccine cards if available. Wear appropriate clothing for easy access to the upper arm. Masks are recommended.
Booster vaccinations are also available at the following locations:
- The Baker Center (Moderna) (call (828) 737-7711 for appt.)
- Avery Pharmacy (Moderna) (click to boonedrug.com for appt.)
- Crossnore Drug (Moderna) (click to boonedrug.com for appt.)
- Premier Pharmacy (Moderna) (call (828) 733-0061 for appt.)
- High Country Community Care (Moderna and J&J) (call (828) 737-0221 for appt.)
- CVS (Pfizer) (click to CVS.com for appt.)
- Walgreens (Moderna) (click to walgreens.com for appt.)
COVID at-home testing opportunities…
Avery County and the Avery County Health Department. with recommendations from state officials. announce the use of “home tests” for COVID 19.
The public is encouraged to use home test kits when they have symptoms of COVID 19. The public is encouraged to pick up home tests at local pharmacies and stores. Test kits will be available at several locations as soon as they are received by the county. We will share those locations as soon as the tests are distributed. Please visit www.averycountync.gov or call the COVID line at (828) 733-8273 for a recorded message for more information.
The Baker Clinic at Cannon Hospital still has first-dose COVID vaccines available for anyone age 16 and up. Appointments are necessary. The Health Department (545 Schultz Circle, Newland) will also offer vaccines Monday through Friday. Call (828) 733-8273 to schedule an appointment. The Baker Center at Cannon Hospital (436 Hospital Drive, Suite 230, Linville) will offer vaccines from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays. Call (828) 737-7711 to schedule an appointment.
Girl Scout volunteer, membership opportunities …
Turning off the pressure to be perfect and tuning into what makes each of us shine in our own way? That’s what being a Girl Scout is all about!
Right now, Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) is currently forming troops and recruiting new leaders for the new troop year this fall. All girls in grades K-12 are invited to join. Just imagine it — you and your forever friends. Dreaming up adventures. Making the whole world sparkle with your own magic.
Girls and their families who are interested in learning more about Girl Scouting and troop opportunities in their area can find several Girl Scout Information Events happening throughout western and central North Carolina by visiting the online calendar at www.girlscoutsp2p.org.
“Through the Girl Scout program, we prepare our girls for the future- giving them skills and experiences that will help them as they grow, learn and make decisions,” said Jennifer Wilcox, CEO of GSCP2P. “We want our girls to be resilient, ready and strong for whatever may come their way, and with the opportunities and connections that Girl Scouting offers, we can be positive that will happen.”
Girls can participate in Girl Scouting in a troop setting or register as an individual Girl Scout. Either option allows girls opportunities to participate in council and community partnership programming, community service initiatives, the annual cookie program and so much more.
Interested in being a volunteer? Volunteer opportunities range from being a troop leader for the year to volunteering on an episodic basis, where you can share a special skill or talent with girls as needed. More information about volunteering can be found at www.girlscoutsp2p.org/en/for-volunteers/why-volunteer.html.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings each week at Baker Center…
“If you want to drink, that’s your business. If you want to stop drinking, that’s our business.” Alcoholics Anonymous hosts meetings at 7 p.m. each Tuesday and Friday evening at the Oak Room of the Baker Center, adjacent to Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville.
Banner Elk Book Exchange open, adds books to its library …
Banner Elk Book Exchange is open year round, operating with the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Masks are not required, but you may wear one if you prefer.
Banner Elk Book Exchange is a community-based, volunteer-run book exchange for Banner Elk and Avery County, operating on a “bring a book, take a book” policy. Bring a book, take a book! There is no check-out or return of books. Simply bring a book or books and exchange them for the same number of different books. No books to trade-in? In lieu of a book to exchange, you may make a small donation to take a book home.
The Book Exchange is more than just a library! We offer the following programs to the community:
- Book Discussion Groups
- BE Readers (Children’s book discussion)
- Play & Learn Sessions
- Science/Nature Programs for Children
- Music Jams
Many people have contributed the books in the Book Exchange that fill our shelves, and a year of being sequestered at home will probably produce an abundance of book donations. We are grateful for the donations that allow others to enjoy reading, but please consider these guidelines for book donations:
- We cannot accept textbooks, reference books (dictionaries, thesaurus, etc.), outdated magazines or self-help books, or books that are damaged, mildewed, smelling of smoke, or otherwise unable to be placed on our shelves.
- We accept paperbacks in good condition.
- We keep the larger, high-quality ones on the shelves of the Book Exchange, and share those we cannot use with organizations like the V.A. hospital in Asheville. Some books also are sent to the correctional facility in Spruce Pine.
When in doubt, ask yourself if you would like to take home the books you are donating. Please do not be offended if we cannot accept your books – we are not a repository for everything! Outdated books and magazines, or those in poor condition can be taken to the recycling center on Norwood Hollow Road at the base of Sugar Mountain or on Hwy. 194 at the Three Lane between Elk Park and Newland.
Thanks to the generous funding by High Country Charitable Foundation, the Banner Elk Book Exchange has purchased more than 120 new books for its collection. These were ordered to add to the Exchange’s children and young adult collections, which always need extra books. Our focus was on Caldecott and Newberry Award winners for our young readers — please come and “exchange” some books with us!
We have also added to our regional collection – books written by regional authors or about regional subjects. If you have borrowed any of our regional titles with the white “Please return” labels on the front, please return them so others can also enjoy them. These are the only books we ask that you bring back once you’ve finished reading them, as they are in high demand. We have moved most of our regional books to a larger bookcase in the large backroom. Look for some new favorites there.
We appreciate your consideration, cooperation and generosity!
Mayland high school equivalency diploma classes return to campuses…
SPRUCE PINE — Mayland Community College is holding classes in-person and online to help students earn a high school equivalency diploma. Mayland Community College offers preparation classes for the GED and HiSET tests, and also offers Adult High School classes.
Mayland Community College does not charge tuition for the classes. However, a commitment of at least 8 hours a week is necessary to be successful. Although there are no fees associated with attending the classes, there may be a small fee for taking the equivalency tests.
Classes are offered at all three campuses in Mitchell, Avery and Yancey counties. Evening classes are available at the Mitchell Campus, located in Spruce Pine. Online classes require dependable access to the internet and the use of a computer in a quiet setting.
Riverwalk Quilt Guild holds monthly meetings…
Riverwalk Quilt Guild in Newland meets the second Thursday of each month, beginning at 6 p.m. Our meeting location is at Newland Christian Church, located at 2800 Millers Gap Hwy./Hwy. 194 in Newland. For more information call BJ Mickel-Close at (828) 260-3204.
The group’s mission is to preserve our mountain heritage of quilting, to be a source of education and inspiration for quilters, to encourage excellence in quilting and related arts, to be of service to the community, and to provide fellowship to people with a common interest.
Local students invited to join JAM program…
Avery students are invited to join the Avery Junior Appalachian Musicians program. The program accommodates musicians at all levels. If you’re an accomplished player or wishing to learn or improve your skills this program is for you! One of our initial goals is to form a JAM band. We’ll help guide you to reach the playing level you will enjoy. For more information, contact Bobby Willard, Extension Agent with 4-H Youth Development at (828) 733-8270, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caregiver Haven at Avery Senior Center…
Caregiver Haven is a project of the Avery County Senior Center that seeks to give family caregivers of dementia and memory loss loved ones a break by offering respite care every Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Your loved one will be attended by our caring staff and stimulated with a variety of activities, programs and games. Often we take clients on field trips and out to lunch. Lunch and snacks are provided as part of the program.
Currently there is space available for new clients. We would love to help you in your caregiving journey. While we do encourage cost sharing through donation, no one is turned away because of not making cost sharing donations. Also, transportation through Avery County Transportation can be arranged at little to no cost. If this is a program you are interested in please contact the Avery County Senior Center at (828) 733-8220.
This program is currently operating. Let us assist you in your caregiving journey.
Banner Elk Artists Gallery open…
BE Artists Gallery is located in the Historic Banner Elk School in downtown Banner Elk. The Gallery’s summer hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. This cooperative of artists features work from more than 30 local artists and craftspeople, and is a featured gallery on the Blue Ridge Craft Trails (www.blueridgeheritage.com/blue-ridge-craft-trails/). For BE Artists Gallery event listings and updates, click to BEartistsgallery.com.
Get outdoor cats fixed and vaccinated at no cost…
If you have strays in your neighborhood, you can get trap-fix-release them for free through a grant with the Avery Humane Society. Call (828) 733-2333 for more information. Offer is valid for residents of Avery County with a valid photo ID.
Anne Ministries support groups available…
Anne Ministries hosts a pregnancy and infant loss support group, offering a safe place to connect with others who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or an infant, every third Monday of the month at 7 p.m. Anne Ministries also offers a post-abortion support group for those who are suffering and seek hope and healing. Time and date for that meeting varies, so please contact the ministry for more information.
Both groups meet at 305 West Mitchell Street in Newland, and child care is provided for both groups’ weekly meetings. For more information, call (828) 742-1973 or contact Chastity at (919) 499-3083.
Each Monday at 7 p.m., Heaton Christian Church, located at 221 Curtis Creek Road, offers help for anyone struggling with addictions (drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc.), or other undesirable habits or compulsions, to overcome their battles and find their relationship with Jesus Christ.
No one will be judged. This is a ministry of loving, caring people, some who have experienced the same struggles. Family and friends of those needing help are encouraged to participate and support their efforts. For more information, call Butch or Courtney at (828) 528-5476.
Mentors needed for Avery kids and youth…
Western Youth Network, in partnership with Williams YMCA, is accepting applications for mentors for Avery County youth ages six to 17, who are in need of a positive role model in their lives. Mentors serve a unique role in the life of a child that is different from that of a parent, teacher or friend. After spending time with a mentor (an average of two hours per week for one year), young people show improvements in their academic performance, school attendance and behaviors. Most of all, they know someone cares about them.
Mentoring opportunities are also available through the program’s lunch buddy program at local elementary schools. For more information, or to fill out an application, call or email Avery Mentoring Coordinator Sabena Maiden at (828) 264-5174 or email@example.com or Williams YMCA Community Outreach Director Sheila Bauer at (828) 737-5500 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avery County Volunteer Communications Club…
Avery County Volunteer Communications Club (AC4VC) holds meetings on the second Thursday of each month, beginning at 6 p.m., at Linville Land Harbor Mountain View Activity Center (22 Twin Tree Lane, Newland). Any and all who are interested in Amateur Radio are welcome to attend. There will be a general meeting and training. Following training, the group will be conducting testing of all three types of Amateur Radio licenses. For more information, contact Jay Glen, N4HOP and ACVC Club President, at (828) 305-9851, or email AC4VC.Club@gmail.com.