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editor Sherrie Norris 828-264-3612 ext. 251 MARKETING CONSULTANT Stacey Gibson


Graphic DesignerS Robert Moore, Jennifer Canosa, Robert Hampton, Meleah Petty

Contributing writers Susan Bacot, Maggie Bishop, Danica Goodman, Kevin Holder, Lauren Ohnesorge, Leslie Shavell, Jamie Shell, and Christie Wallin.

Copy CHIEF Roni Toldanes

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Cover photo by Travis Proctor Feature photo by Rob Moore Any reproduction of news articles, photographs or advertising artwork is strictly prohibited without permission from management. ŠCopyright 2011 A Mountain Times Publication

4 APRIL 2011

Brenda Shell Hoss page

A Country Girl Can Succeed


Musician, Composer and Teacher


Rhonda Lorence


First Lady of Blowing Rock


Lynn Lawrence

12 Features

Bringing Joy to The Bistro


Melissa Claude


Blue Ridge Regional.................. 14 Diversity: Music for All............... 17 Worldly Thinking ....................... 18

Reaching Out............................. 24 The Quake................................. 26 OASIS........................................ 45



Heartfelt Healing........................ Young at Heart......................... Justice for All............................ High Country Courtesies.......... The Pet Page............................ All About Authors..................... Moms’ World............................

20 22 36 39 40 42 52

News Bits..................................... 7 Real Estate & Home................... 34 Travel & Leisure.......................... 38 Cents & Sensibility..................... 44 Beauty & Style............................ 48 Health & Fitness......................... 50 Food & Drink............................... 56 APRIL 2011 5

Editor’s Note Inform, Inspire

and Improve Y

Visit to find links and resources for all stories mentioned in this issue.

ou will be hearing these words over and over again in the next three months. Most women need and want to be informed; most of us need inspiration, and many of us are out trying our best to inspire. And, most – if not all – of us, have something in our lives that we would like to improve. Hold on tight, girlfriends. The opportunities will be at our fingertips during the inaugural “All About Women Expo” on Saturday, July 16 at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone. What began as a simple idea shared by two passionate women late last fall is fast becoming a whirlwind adventure that will hopefully impact women from Western North Carolina to the Piedmont, to Southest Virginia, East Tennessee and beyond. We at All About Women magazine are thrilled to be partnering with the fine folks at Appalachian Regional Health Care System to present this upcoming event, one that will hopefully make an impact on women of all ages. Inform, Inspire and Improve: Roll those words over in your mind and get ready to see them in action. Mark your calendars now and plan to spend the day with us as we open up a world of possibilities for the woman in all of us. We are planning to offer information and resources that address the issues of personal and professional development, health and wellness. Local and regional vendors, exhibitors, artisans and musicians will be invited to showcase their goods, services and talents. Also, during the event, a High Country Woman of the Year will be announced and she will become the first to be entered into the High Country Women’s Hall of Fame. Start thinking of that special someone who given of herself to make the area a better place in which to live and be prepared to make your nomination in the coming weeks. We are planning for this to be a spectacular event that will require the support of the entire High Country. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from this event will be used to support projects that will improve the lives of women in the High Country. Watch out for more information.

Sherrie Norris, Editor

6 APRIL 2011

NEWS BITS & Clips Diversity Lecture Series

at Appalachian State University Presents: Religion and Women: Don’t Leave Your Faith at the Door

When: 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 13 Where: Blue Ridge Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union, ASU campus.


aith communities of all types have a longstanding commitment to helping those in need. Wayne Barnes will address ways members of faith communities can assist victims of violence, as well as encourage change to prevent violence. He will detail approaches these groups can implement

to make positive changes to end violence against women. Wayne Barnes is a community educator and victims advocate for a local domestic violence shelter in New Orleans. Barnes worked in the area of juvenile delinquency prevention, in the juvenile court system as a court administrator, and in detention facilities as a counselor before embracing the ending violence against women movement. As community educator for the shelter, Barnes presents prevention lectures to schools, social service agencies, police departments,

medical professionals and churches on domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and human trafficking. Barnes serves on the board of directors of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. Sponsored by the OASIS Sexual Violence Prevention Committee and the ASU Sociology Club and the Office of Multicultural Student Development, The annual Diversity Lecture Series at Appalachian State University about getting involved in the movement to end sexual and dating violence. This year, the series is targeted toward men and women. For more information, contact OASIS at (828) 264-1532, E-mail: prevention@ or on Facebook: “Red Flag Campaign (AppState).

Governor’s Volunteer Service Award Presented

Marcye Isaacs Ollis, left, recieves the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award from Olivia Steele who nominated her for the award. Photo by Kevin Holder


arcye Isaacs Ollis of Newland received the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service in the Lifetime Achievement category. She has served on the board of directors for Avery Citizens Against Domestic Abuse and Hospice and has been a driving force behind the fundraising events for these organizations. She has also been involved with Avery Relay For Life since its beginning, has co-chaired a team and has helped raise a significant amount of money for the event. She was also involved in the establishment of the Avery County Cancer Resource Center.

APRIL 2011 7

NEWS BITS & Clips White Named Manager at CommunityOne Bank


ommunityOne Bank has named Amanda White as community office manager in Boone. She previously served as branch manager for Wachovia Bank in Boone. “We are excited to welcome Amanda to the CommunityOne team,” says Jackie Hunnicutt, Market Manager for CommunityOne. “She is a great addition to our local team and her enthusiasm

and experience will help CommunityOne better serve our customers and community in Boone.” Amanda has more than 19 years of banking experience and received a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University. White resides in Boone with her husband, Steve, and their sons Jack and Benjamin.

Local Healthcare System Announces Affiliation with UNC Cancer Resource Network


ppalachian Regional Healthcare System has entered into an affiliate agreement with University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s UNC Cancer Resource Network. The agreement allows the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center to participate as a study site for clinical research trials, which may afford cancer patients in the High Country more treatment options. One of the advantages of the affiliation 8 APRIL 2011

is the use of UNC-CH’s Institutional Review Board (IRB), which provides the essential elements of experienced research support staff, technology and principal investigators, as well as a variety of potential clinical research studies based on specific patient population and cancer types. In the past, patients who have been interested in pursuing treatment options offered via clinical trials needed to travel “off the mountain” to participate in such alternatives.

The system’s Cancer Center staff includes medical oncologists, T. Flint Gray, III M.D; and Anna Sobol, M.D.; as well as radiation oncologist Yvonne Mack, M.D. For more information, contact Teresa Callahan, RN, research nurse at (828) 268-5526. To learn more about Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, visit www.

Watauga Teachers of the Year


ine Watauga County Schools educators have been recognized as Teachers of the Year. Kim Bentley of Green Valley, Amber Cooper of Valle Crucis, Darcy Grimes of Bethel, Ron Hopper of Watauga High School, Jennifer Lacy of Parkway, Allyson McFalls of Blowing Rock, Tonya McKinney of Mabel, Kelly Roten of Hardin Park and Laura Young of Cove Creek will receive $350 from the school system and will be considered for Watauga County Schools Teacher of the Year. The county recipient will get an additional $350. “I believe that our teachers in the Watauga County Schools are the best in the state,” Superintendent Marty Hemric said. “In such an exceptional workforce, any teacher chosen as the Teacher of the Year at their school is truly a remarkable educator. Our students benefit greatly from their knowledge, their skills

From left, Laura Young, Kim Bentley, Amber Cooper, Ron Hopper, Jennifer Lacy, Tonya McKinney, Allyson McFalls, Kelly Roten and Darcy Grimes. Photo submitted.

and their exceptional commitment to maximizing the potential of every child in their classroom.” The 2011-12 county Teacher of the Year will be announced in May after a selection process that includes interviews, unannounced teacher observations in classrooms and a review of a written teaching philosophy statement from each candidate.

The current Teacher of the Year is Mary Kent Whitaker of Watauga High School. Teachers in Watauga County Schools have more experience and more graduate degrees than teachers across the state, and the proportion of National Board Certified-teachers is third highest among the 115 school districts in North Carolina, according to the school system.

APRIL 2011 9

Rhonda Lorence Musician, Composer and Teacher – With A Passion By Corrinne Loucks Assad


hen a friend in Florida invited musician Rhonda Lorence to vacation in Boone, accepted and found the area to be, “So beautiful, I just knew I had to live here.” Rhonda moved here in 2005, and soon found a job teaching music. “Everything just fell into place and I knew it was meant to be,” she says. Prior to relocating to Boone, however, as a professional performer always looking to hone her skills, decided to study the Suzuki method, which strives to create a student’s enhanced ability within a nurturing environment, and is applied to a variety of instruments, most notably the stringed instruments, piano and flute. In a short time, Rhonda was teaching the Suzuki method privately and in elementary schools in The High Country. As her reputation grew, she met with professors of the Community Music School at Appalachian State University and was invited to get involved. The school, started by Elizabeth Rose, ASU’s education director, offers noncredited music instruction to children and adults in the community, as well as in surrounding Western North Carolina counties. Its instructors teach on a vast number of instruments including guitar, piano, violin, cello and drums. Combining university expertise and area teaching artists, the program offers 10 APRIL 2011

Rhonda Lorence pours her heart and soul into her music. Photo by Lynne Townsend Photography

a great training ground for younger students who aspire to enter ASU’s reputable music school in the future. Students with polished pieces perform in an honors recital each year, Rhonda says, and the school’s vision includes that of a youth string orchestra as well as offering scholarships to students. The school, composed of eight to 12 professional teachers and a varied number of students, is currently looking for a permanent

building. While Rhonda’s Suzuki music literature lends to a more classical style, she is now expanding to include Mark O’Connor’s fiddle method, which incorporates fiddle, Celtic, jazz and other styles into her teaching repertoire. “It’s a lot of fun for my students to play traditional songs that they’ve heard before,” Rhonda says. “I created an online survey asking students to rate the different methods and the results showed that they like both

methods.” In addition to ASU’s Community Music School, Rhonda also teaches at the Harper School of Performing Arts in Lenoir and offers private lessons. Both schools offer scholarships and are funded by donations from community businesses and patrons, as well as from student tuition. The scholarships are a great way to get kids involved who couldn’t otherwise afford lessons, Rhonda says. She hopes to one day get involved with more fundraising for ASU’s music school. But for now, she stays busy teaching and composing her own music and CDs or playing in her Celtic band, the Mountain Laurels. The Mountain Laurels originated through Rhonda’s association with Connie Woodlard, dulcimer-player extraordinaire, with whom she first worked as a duet. They have since added flute, guitar and upright bass and harp to their mix, performing mostly Celtic and folk styles as an all-girl band. A very busy woman, indeed, Rhonda builds on her classical, symphonic background and her own music composition, mostly with viola and violin, and recording in her home studio in Deep Gap. She has produced two CDs and is quite successful marketing the projects online and at her live performances. “I really pour my soul and my heart into my compositions and people seem to really appreciate that,” Rhonda says. First inspired by John Williams’ Star Wars sound tracks, Rhonda imagined making her own music years ago and has now made her dream come alive. Rhonda first became interested in music when a teacher in middle school demonstrated various instruments to the students. Rhonda took up the viola as the violins were all taken and her history progressed from there. Having attended the University of South Florida on a full music scholarship, Rhonda sings the praises of her classical teachers while describing her own passion for teaching. “What makes my teaching style different is that I really emphasize relaxing and inwardly mastering the game of mind and body in playing an instrument,” she says. “Once they learn how to relax in holding the instrument and to really enjoy themselves, students can take off. I want them to have a great time.” By all accounts, they do, as this teacher, composer and performer makes a name for herself in the mountains of North Carolina, impacting one student at a time, one string at a time, with her love for music.

APRIL 2011 11

Lynn Lawrence, right, has recruited the services of her close friend, Jan Karon, left, author of The Mitford Series, who will return to Blowing Rock in June, to help raise funds to revitalize the Hayes Center for Performing Arts. Photo submitted.

Lynn Lawrence First Lady of Blowing Rock


ynn Lawrence is known to many as “The first lady of Blowing Rock.” To others, she’s simply, “Mother Mayor.” But to all, she is one of the most energetic and genuine women you could ever hope to meet. She is the epitome of the old saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person,” because she’s always busy – and usually doing something for someone else. Her list of routine activities and accomplishments is extensive - and includes everything from helping J.B. with his official mayor duties, to helping clean up the city, to a multitude of other volunteer projects involved with Community Service Day or fundraising projects, such as the annual fashion show for Blowing Rock

12 APRIL 2011

By Leslie Shavell

Hospital, or singing in the choir at First Baptist. There’s plenty about Lynn to fill a few pages, but she prefers to talk about all the good in others and especially those who are special to her. It means a lot to her that she has been named Volunteer of the Year and Woman of the Year and that she’s been recognized many times over for her community service. But, it’s not for recognition that she gives of herself, day in and day out. As a native of Blowing Rock, just like her father, Lynn has much pride in her family heritage. Her mother, Betty Pitts, was born in Seven Devils and the cost of her birth was two chickens, as Lynn tells it. Betty Pitts came to Blowing Rock at 16

when she married Hayden Pitts. Lynn recalls growing up in the shadow of her very generous parents and how her father, who owned the Blowing Rock Market, was always willing to help anyone in need. They were never sure who would be at the dinner table. She inherited that giving spirit that has made her the nurturer she is today. The devotion to her mother and to her brother Mikey, who is autistic, is heartwarming. Nothing interferes with the time she has allocated for Mikey; her dedication and loyalty to him is refreshing. As in all things, however, she says, “If it ain’t fun, I ain’t gonna do it.” And everyone knows, she tries to make everything she does fun. Her work as an advocate for human rights, and the handicapped, stems from her love for her brother and others like

him. “I am a speaker for those who cannot speak for themselves whether they have two feet or four feet,” she says, when asked to describe herself. It’s no secret that her life is focused on her family and the town of Blowing Rock. She cherishes her two sons and five grandchildren, and has taught her sons what she learned from her parents: “If you trust in the Lord and work, whether for yourself or others, everything will work out.” Lynn is a Christian woman, with a deep insight and sensitivity to people of other faiths. From a donation given in her name during the annual Blowing Rock Hospital fashion show fundraiser, Lynn was able to refurbish the hospital chapel. And, because she wanted people of all faiths to be able to come to the chapel for comfort, she put a dove on the stained glass window - instead of a cross - and a sign on the door that reads, “Peace to all that enter.” Admittedly not a cook, Lynn sets her dining room table for every season whether for Valentine’s Day or simply to pay tribute, in black and gold, to ASU. Lynn says she is sure J.B. married her 40 years ago, is because she loves football as much as he does. Together, they attend

The “first lady of Blowing Rock,” Lynn Lawrence, is pictured here with Mayor J.B. Lawrence, her husband of 40 years. Photo submitted

every ASU game and home games of the Panthers. Music and drama are among her other passions in life. She fondly recalls many winter days as a child, when having to stay inside, her mother read to all the children, and they would “act out” the scenes; thus, her love for drama. Lynn attributes her lifetime love of music to her childhood music teacher. “Most everyone in town was poor and

could not afford to go to Charlotte to see the ‘Sound of Music,’ but Mrs. Snyder taught us all the songs,” she says. Lynn sings and is part of the drama team at church. Few will ever forget her performance in the “Groovy Nights” production, during which she sang “I Will Survive.” It troubles Lynn to see the Hayes Center for the Performing Arts dark and basically idle these days. Miriam Hayes wanted the children of the mountains to enjoy the arts, as does Lynn. So who better to take on a fundraising project to revive the theater? Lynn’s close friend, Jan Karon, author of the Mitford series, has agreed to come to Blowing Rock, June 2-5, to lead seminars and luncheons at Chetola to raise money for the theater - and to celebrate Mitford Days, once again. Lynn is determined to bring back to life Miriam Hayes’s dream of the arts in the mountains. “As First Lady, I am so proud to be an ambassador for Blowing Rock; serving our town is truly an honor. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and companion with whom to share this passion of our town,” she says. Lynn Lawrence embraces life with a big hug and radiant smile. For those who know her, it’s one of life’s treasures.

APRIL 2011 13

Tonya Styles is one of only four certified breast examiners in the state of North Carolina. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital.

Blue Ridge

Regional Hospital

14 APRIL 2011

Paving the Way for Women’s Health


onya Styles, mammography technologist in the Women’s Imaging Center at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, received her certification from the National Consortium of Breast Centers as a Clinical Breast Examiner. This designation places her as one of only four certified professionals in the state of North Carolina skilled to perform a clinical breast exam, including the detection of any dominant breast mass in the early detection of breast cancer. “I am so pleased to be able to provide clinical breast exams to the women we serve,” says Tonya. “Through our Women’s Imaging Center we can really impact the health and well-being of women in our region.” The Women’s Imaging Center at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital opened in August 2010 and is located within the

hospital’s radiology department. “This advanced center features digital mammography, a private ‘women’s only’ waiting area, private changing rooms and an education resource room in a relaxing, healing environment,” says Allison Grindstaff, hospital spokeswoman. “Our education resource room includes DVDs and educational materials in

multiple languages as well as models and breast forms that allow women to feel what breast masses and lumps of different sizes might feel like,” she says. Funding for the certification, as well as resources for the Women’s Imaging Center educational resource room, was made possible by Susan G. Komen for The Cure. “Our goal is to provide a relaxing educational experience to the women in our region to help promote breast cancer awareness as well as breast cancer prevention,” says Robin Nichols,

director of imaging services at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. “Early detection is the best protection and we hope to educate all women in our area on the importance of self breast exams, as well as regular mammograms. Having a certified clinical breast examiner in the department will help us provide education and state-ofthe-art care to the women in our region.” For more information or to schedule an appointment in the Women’s Imaging Center at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital, call (828) 766-1630.

APRIL 2011 15

16 APRIL 2011

Diversity: Something for All By Sherrie Norris


ocal musician and vocalist Susan Pepper will represent the area as one of numerous entertainers who will be showcased during the upcoming Diversity Celebration at Appalachian State University in Boone.

This event, free and open to the public, will take place in the Plemmons Student Union from 3-9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6. In conjunction, the 5th Annual People of the Planet Soccer Tournament will be held from 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2 at Watauga High School. The celebration is sponsored by Appalachian faculty, staff, students, Staff Council and proud Appalachian parents. Pepper, who sings ballads and folks songs, plays the dulcimer, fretless mountain banjo and guitar, and composes songs inspired by older styles of folk music, will also be participating in a singing workshop during the event. “I like having the opportunity to present local folk music traditions amid the festivities, which include traditions from across the country and world,” she says. “I think it’s important to remember (and celebrate) the diverse and complex cultural traditions from the area in which we live as we also explore traditions from elsewhere. This will be Susan’s second year presenting an interactive workshop about mountain music traditions at the celebration. “I will lead a workshop on Appalachian singing traditions with a focus on singing ballads, as well as folk songs and hymns. I hope a lot of folks will show up who are eager to sing no matter how little or how Susan Pepper (left) will be among several local entertainers showcased at this year’s Diversity Celebration at A.S.U. Photo submitted.

much experience they’ve had in singing and this particular genre,” she says. Pepper earned a master’s degree in Appalachian Studies with a music concentration from Appalachian State University. She received a folklife grant from the N.C. Arts Council to produce a CD of her field recordings of traditional women singers. Her CD “On the Threshold of a Dream” was released on July 28, 2010. Pepper is the director of the Alleghany Junior Appalachian Musicians program in Sparta and has taught about Appalachian music and culture in the Center for Appalachian Studies at ASU.

Bringing sights and sounds of the world to Boone for one big day, in addition to Pepper: Amantha Mill, Bam-Jazz, Carolina Klezmer Project, Puppetry - Elkland Art Center, ASU Gospel Choir, Walker Calhoun and the Raven Rock Dancers, Dollar Brothers Band, Gregory Guay, Poetry Ambassador Lisa Kwong, Krumping - Kerry Dunlap, Bhangra, Hindi, and Persian Dancers, Davidson River Taiko, The Butterpats, Grandfather Mountain Highlanders Pipe Band, American Tribal Bellydance - Ancient Moon, H2O Hip Hop Oasis, Capoeira, Brasilian Martial Art - Gabrielle MottaPassajou, The Lost Jewels of the Ghawazee Bellydance and Middle Eastern Dance Troupe, Mariachi Mexico 2000, West African Dance Ensemble, Free

Grass featuring Meade Richter, Boone Scottish Country Dancers, Kike, Miguel y Janiah, Orville Hicks & Jack Tales, Three Graces Dance Company, duo Kotonoha and Let’s Hold Hands Project with Susan L. Roth.

Diversity Celebration Lessons and Workshops: Appalachian Group Ballad Singing Workshop, West African Dance.

Unity Festival Activities: Aboriginal face painting, African Masks, Appalachian Butter Making, Chinese New Year, Chopsticks, French Language Games, Hindi Language and Music, Knotted Bedspreads, Listen to the Wind, Mehendi Hand Painting, Mountain Toy Making, Pakistani Pennies for Peace, Spanish Games, Spinning, Try on Indian Clothing, Unity Weave, Vision Arrows, Words of Peace.

Diversity Celebration Foods of the World (by ASU Food Services): Piri Piri Chicken Wings - Portuguese/ African, Pao de Oueijo - Brazilian Cheese Bread, Kabak Mucveri - Turkish Zucchini Fritters, Fresco de Pina y ArrozNicaraguan Pineapple Beverage with Rice, and Mexican Wedding Cookies. APRIL 2011 17




d l l y r

ink i


Ashe County Girl Scouts from troops 10063 and 10401 joined millions of girls around the globe for World Thinking Day (WTD) events.

Girl Scouts Celebrate World Thinking Day By Vicki Randolph


she County Girl Scouts from troops 10063 and 10401 joined millions of girls around the globe for World Thinking Day events on Feb. 22. WTD is one of the major Girl Scout “holidays” and has been celebrated since 1926. It is a day for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from nearly 150 countries to remember that they are part of an international movement. The World Thinking Day theme for 2011 was “Empowering Girls Will Change our World.” The five focus countries the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts chose for WTD 2011 were Bolivia, 18 APRIL 2011

Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal and Yemen. The local Brownies met to learn about the five focus countries and how women and girls live in each of those places. Every girl had her passport filled out as she “traveled around the world” to exciting and exotic locations. While in Bolivia, the Girl Scouts played Tirar Frijoles, a game in which they tested their skills at throwing dried beans. While visiting the island of Cyprus, they tried their hands at the ancient art of mosaics. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, each girl created her own African mask. High in the mountains of Nepal each Brownie received a third eye and colored her own mandalas. While in Yemen,

everyone ate some Yemenite salad made with eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and spices. They also sampled Fu Fu from the Congo and washed it all down with tea from the Himalayans. Each Girl Scout level (Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors) also had a specific issue to focus on this year. So, in addition to visiting the five focus countries, the Brownies visited the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, too, and learned about what some young Californian Girl Scouts are doing about it. But the WTD event wasn’t all just fun and games. Without even realizing it, the girls learned much about each country’s history, geography, demographics and

politics. There were flags, maps, photos, and lessons to go along with each area. As citizens of the United States, it’s easy to get used to our standard way of living at home and not think about how others may live abroad. The facts are that girls are two times more likely to be illiterate than boys; seven out of 10 people living in poverty in the world are women and girls; only 2 percent of the world’s land is owned by women; and although women do two-thirds of the work in the world they earn only 10 percent of the income. The discussion in Yemen was particularly important in light of recent political upsets in the Middle East. The Brownies also saw a picture of and talked about a girl in Yemen who was brave enough to request a divorce at eight-years-of age — the same as theirs. Using appropriate language and stories, the oppression of women and girls around the world was discussed to draw awareness to real and difficult issues. World Thinking Day 2011 not only gave Ashe County Girl Scouts a chance to celebrate international friendships, but it also served as a reminder that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a much larger global community. It also gave the Brownies the opportunity to discuss ways they can take action to help empower girls around the world.

Girl Scouts Brownies wear two different shoes as a pledge to honor their own heritage, as well as honor and appreciate the cultures of others around the world.

APRIL 2011 19


W oman Quest Finding The Power Within By Teri Wiggans


his month, Teri interviews Pam Noble, co-founder of WomanQuest and retired psychotherapist, who now focuses on creating healing experiences in the natural world for women.

Teri Wiggins: How did it all begin?

WomanQuest co-guides Pam Noble left, and Judy Flavell. 20 APRIL 2011

Pam Noble: In the early 1990s I went on my first vision quest. Out of that experience, I was led to create, with five other women, Numina, a program to deepen women’s awareness of the divine feminine that would be supported

within a community of other women who had the same focus. That program has continued and has empowered many women to honor who they are and what gifts they have to offer others. In 2002, I attended a vision quest in Baja, Calif. and knew immediately that I was called to create a nature-based experience for women. I had personally experienced the healing power of nature. My next adventure led me on a kayak trip guided by Ann Linnea of PeerSpirit in Washington state. I invited Ann to co- create an introductory vision quest experience for women. The seed for

for earth-based experiences because it grounds for the participant the insights received by being seen, heard and supported.

(left image) 2010 WomanQuest participants, left to right: Jessica Wilkins, Anne Harrington, base-camp cook, Teri Wiggans, apprentice, Pam Noble, co-guide and Carol Wilburn. Photos provided by Teri Wiggans.

TW: What is an earth-based ritual? PN: Earth-based rituals have been used by native people groups across the globe for centuries. They include council, sitting in a circle and sharing, using a talking piece that honors the person speaking, purifying and cleansing with sage, and creating a fire ceremony for letting go of thought and feeling patterns that are no longer needed.

WomanQuest had been planted. In 2005, we began to vision for this quest for women in the mountains of North Carolina. The first one was held at Abundance Summit in West Jefferson in 2005. Sixteen women from all over the country participated. Out of this seed group, Ann and I began an apprenticeship program, which gave one woman a year an opportunity to serve and to learn more about guiding vision quests. When Ann chose to create a similar quest in Washington, I decided to ask our first apprentice, Judy Flavell of Berea, Ky., to be my co-guide. We also established a base camp program in which questers could give back to their questing experience by volunteering to prepare and serve food to the participants.

TW: How does a participant prepare for the quest? PN: Participants are invited to take a nature walk sometime before the quest. They ask for guidance for an intention they formulate for their quest. I have discovered that formulating the intention helps one to open to her deepest insights. Out of that intention, comes power from within to make changes in a person’s life. Then the support of council assists each person in taking action when she returns to her life in the world.

TW: What is a vision quest? PN: A vision quest is a spiritual experience. It is a time of fasting from the normal comforts of life, praying and seeking guidance about the purpose of one’s life. Something happens when we sit alone in nature, cradled by the earth and open to the play of sun and shadow, goings and comings of the wind, the presence of insects and animals, trees and plants. We fall into the mystery of the creation and realize at a deeper level our unique part in it. We also experience a primal connection to the rhythms of the earth that our modern lifestyles have, if not eradicated, certainly diminished. Once I discovered the richness and presence of spirit in earth-based experiences, and the value of this inward turning journey, I realized it was an important practice to deepen my spiritual life.

TW: Who might benefit from participating in this vision quest? PN: Any woman who is seeking more clarity about her life, who desires to deepen her spiritual life and ground her awareness through the discovery of her connection to the whole of creation may benefit. No prior camping experiences are needed, simply a desire to know more about herself and her purpose in life. This year’s WomanQuest is June 8-12.

TW: What other programs does WomanQuest, a Numina Women of Wisdom offering, provide?

TW: What are some of the practices of a vision quest? PN: Questing is an opportunity to connect with the ancient spirits of the ancestors who have lived on and honored the land. They can teach us how to recapture that respect that will save our earth from destruction. I believe it is important to teach these ancient practices to everyone who is willing and seeking to restore the connection to the earth that we are missing in our souls. When I guide a quest or any other

Roses Creek lends itself to a healing atmosphere.

earth-based experience, I never cease to be amazed at the depth of insight, healing and understanding that participants experience. The power of that experience is then reflected back to the participants in a council of mirroring. The practice of council is a cornerstone

PN: In addition to the yearly vision quest, we have created several additional experiences in nature, including Medicine Walks, the Four Shields, and a Spirit Quest for Elders. Our programs that involve camping occur at Roses Creek Wilderness near Little Switzerland. Some of our experiences occur at retreat centers. The Medicine Walks are local to the Boone area.

TW: What is the best way someone can contact you? Phone: (828) 242-8514 E-Mail: Web: APRIL 2011 21

YOUNG at Heart

To Hoard or Not to Hoard,

That is the Question By Heather Brandon


pring is in the air – a time of renewal and change, and hopefully, sunshine and warmth. Windows are open, toes are exposed and it is once again time to banish the snow boots to the depths of the closet. Speaking of “the depths of the closet,” do you really know what’s back there? Are there items that linger on a hanger, never worn, never celebrated, but forgotten amongst a sea of ill-fitting or outdated clothing? Or, do you love, cherish and wear each carefully selected item in your wardrobe? If the first description sounds like you, know that you are not alone. I recently read that the average American woman wears only a very small percentage of the clothing she owns. We cling to the remainder for sentimental reasons – or out of guilt. I am just as guilty of hanging onto items that I no longer love to wear. It is difficult to part with something for which you paid hard-earned money. I used to have, “out with the old, in with the new, mentality.” I was happy to remove an item that no longer elicited any sort of emotional response, if I could replace it with something new and shiny. Then I realized that I was not replacing so much as adding; I was suddenly in danger of having a collection to rival a museum. Rather than curate my wardrobe – the items on hangers, the folded sweaters, boxes of shoes, scarves, jewelry and the seasonal items packed away in storage bins, I decided to take a hard look at what I had and ask myself, “Do I love this blouse, skirt or dress?” When I began considering my propensity to collect a larger wardrobe than I really need, as so often happens, I began to notice articles popping up everywhere discussing similar topics. It appeared that the current economic state had influenced journalists across the country to take up their pens and write about how to downsize. The articles were not restricted to clothing; real estate, furniture, entertainment, groceries and more came under attack. As I perused the articles, I was asked to ponder what I would take if I moved to Europe, how I could make 150 outfits from 10 articles of clothing and

22 APRIL 2011

whether going to the grocery store each day would help cut down on food waste. Purging my unloved clothing articles led me to examine the rest of the house. I questioned why I had held out on organizing my collection of CDs (which were essentially dust collectors after the iPod came on the scene) into books. Doing so freed up several shelves on the bookcases, where I now display my favorite books, pottery and photos. I examined my collection of wine glasses from vineyards I had visited. Did I really need two glasses from each winery if I was only keeping them as mementos? I decided one would be sufficient. You may not be ready to forsake all your worldly goods and move into a Spartan cell, but a good spring-cleaning can be, well, cleansing. To that end, I offer the following suggestions: The Closet • Have a wardrobe swap. Your unloved blouse may be your friend’s new favorite. • If you have lots of business attire that you never wear, donate it to a thrift store that has a program to help dress underprivileged women for interviews. • Even if you love that sweater, T-shirt, dress, etc. or it has holes, stains or constricts your airflow in any way, it’s time to let go. • Tailor the items you like but that do not fit quite right. The Bathroom • When was the last time you cleaned out your makeup case? Enough said. • If you find that you are hoarding toiletry samples or toothbrushes, gather them up and take them to a shelter. The Kitchen • Clean out your refrigerator and get rid of anything that is out-of-date or resembles a science experiment. • Take stock of what is in your cabinets and use those items before purchasing more dry goods. • Plan your grocery list around a menu and everything you buy will have a purpose. You will always know the answer to, “What’s for dinner?” The House • Love each and every display item enough to willingly dust it weekly. The same goes for books and pictures. • Rotate photos of family and friends to keep things fresh. Spring cleaning is never easy, so grab a friend and go for it. By tackling some of these chores, you may discover that you have lightened your burden, or at least that of your closet rod.

APRIL 2011 23


Photo by Kevin Holden

Melissa Bands By Kevin Holden

Tammy Beach told Parker that she could wear a hat or a scarf if it made her more hen Melissa Parker was comfortable. diagnosed with cancer last Faculty and staff have joined in fall, she was worried about with a program they call “Wear it on how it would affect her work Wednesday,” during which they wear and her relationship with her students a designated color each Wednesday in and co-workers at Newland Elementary support of Parker. Many wear matching School. bandanas. Photos of the color-coordinated As it turned out, that worry went away staff adorn the board outside the library. almost as soon as it appeared. “The school and the community have Faculty, staff and students at Newland just been amazing,” says Parker in an have embraced Parker during this difficult interview. “The love and support I have time and are supporting her emotionally, been given gives me strength.” spiritually, monetarily and professionally. It is Parker who gives strength to Co-worker Darla others, according to Turbyfill came up Beach. “Melissa Parker The school and with the idea of is an inspiration to the community have us all,” says Beach. selling wristbands as a fundraiser for “She comes in with a just been amazing. mounting medical attitude and The love and support positive bills. During a visit to she wants to be in that the school, the bright I have been given classroom.” pink “Melissa Bands” “You can fake a smile gives me strength. with her name on them with your mouth, but are visible on nearly you can’t fake a smile every employee. with your eyes,” says Turbyfill. “When you Hats are against policy at the school look at Melissa, you can see that smile in and Parker was initially nervous about her eyes.” pending hair loss. Again, it turned out “Her positive outlook is contagious,” not to be a problem at all. Principal agreed Beach.


24 APRIL 2011

Newland Elementary Sells bands to Support Teacher Parker’s husband, Brad, and children Ayden, 6, and Evan, 4, help shave her head when it becomes necessary. “Instead of me disappearing into the bathroom and coming out bald, we made it into a family thing and it helps them understand,” says Parker. Parker, who has gone to the University of North Carolina Hospital in Chapel Hill every Tuesday for the past 14 weeks for treatments, also took her children there. “I wanted them to see the process and make it less of a mystery,” says Parker. “Imagination can make it scarier than the real thing.” Parker feels fortunate to be able to stay at work most of the week. “I want to thank the school for working with me during these treatments,” says Parker. “Especially my assistant, Shane Guichard, who has kept the class going and on track when I am not here.” Parker has been responding well to treatment. “I am certain that the power of prayer and the support I have been given here has helped,” says Parker. “The tumor is shrinking and I will beat this.” Melissa Bands are available for a $5 donation at Newland Elementary School and all proceeds benefit the Parker family.


Joy Cook Defies Life-Threatening Odds

Avery County native Joy Cook survived a double-lung transplant and now works with the biostatistics department at the University of North Carolina. (submitted photo) By Jamie Shell


ne look at Joy Cook and you would think that there is nothing different about her. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate and is successful young adult, working with the UNC Biostatistics Department. She recently purchased her own home in nearby Durham and has her brother D.J. and one of her best friends Meredith as roommates. She even has Zoe and Meaty, a pair of very large and hyperactive canines that always bring excitement to the home. Upon further investigation, Joy, a native of the Heaton community and 2003 graduate of Avery County High School, is quite unique. Joy was diagnosed at the age of seven with Cystic Fibrosis, a debilitating and incurable disease of the respiratory system. The disease forces those who have the illness to take extraordinary measures to maintain enough lung function to simply breathe and conduct day-to-day activities that are commonplace for healthy people. During her childhood, Joy missed days and at times weeks due to complications from CF and hospitalization. Nevertheless she persevered and graduated from ACHS with her class and was accepted into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In December 2007 she earned a bachelor’s degree in public policy with a second major in communications studies. The road to graduation was a long and arduous one, however. In the summer and fall of 2006, Joy became ill due

to complications from CF and was in need of a transplant. On Dec. 29, 2006, after spending close to four weeks in UNC Hospitals, Joy endured a 12-hour operation to replace her failing lungs with donated ones. “I can never put into words the misery of lung failure, and when I first woke up I felt awesome, no longer struggling for breath,” Joy says. “My heart rate was finally at normal speed since my heart now had oxygen to pump out to the rest of my body.” Joy endured months of physical therapy and medication combinations, and must take immunosuppressant medicine to prevent her body from rejecting the new lungs. “Being immuno-compromised, I can get sick much easier. My doctors and I have to monitor my lungs to make sure I don’t go into chronic rejection, or that some of my old bacteria that still lives in my sinus doesn’t make its way into these lungs,” Joy explained. “Immunosuppressants are kidney toxins as well, so we have to watch my kidneys function carefully.” Joy missed the entire spring semester of her senior year, but returned to school in summer 2007 to make up the incomplete courses from the previous fall when she fell ill. She completed her final semester of studies in the fall of that year. Along with the love of her parents Keith and Judy, Joy has always been extremely grateful for friends and families across Avery County who shared concern over her condition, donated funds when she had financial need and have to this day continued to express their love and support. “The support given to me and my family during the whole process of my transplant, followed by the continual concern for my wellbeing is a wonderful statement to the open and caring hearts of the people in and around Avery County,” Joy said. Today, in addition to her normal dayto-day activities, Joy is active in helping to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis in helping to assist others suffering from the disease and in an effort to find a cure. Joy is active with multiple organizations, including the Sweet Melissa Fund (www.sweetmelissafund. org) which was founded in January 2005 in memory of Melissa Alexander, who lost her battle with cystic fibrosis during her lung transplant surgery. She also works with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) (www.cff.

org), organizing fund raising efforts and participating in the group’s annual Great Strides event, and supports Donate Life North Carolina (www.donatelifenc. org), a collaborative group of members made up of organizations with an interest in eye, organ and tissue donation and transplantation. “CFF is continually doing research to increase the life expectancy for people with Cystic Fibrosis, and Sweet Melissa gives aid to lung transplant patients so that in spite of medical bills they can still have normal lives and do things such as get a college education. Donate Life raises awareness about organ donation, and there is a very limited supply of organs and many people who need them,” Joy said of the groups and her passion for supporting them. “I feel these are pretty admirable causes, especially since they strike very close to my life like a bull’s eye.” This recent interview came about as a result of a writing Joy posted to her website (www.lifeofbalderdash. titled “Before and Now.” The entirety of the entry can be found by clicking to that address, but a portion of it is included below: “Life before I had a transplant was different in some ways that will never be understood except by those that have also lived with CF and/or been through endstage lung disease. However, there are plenty of little things in day- to-day life that are much different than before.” “Sometimes something as simple as a very cold day or picking up a child could stop me in my tracks. I remember how very different things were when my lungs were on their decline.” “Before cold weather led to shivering, which led to coughing and led to not being able to catch my breath for several minutes. Now cold weather just makes me shiver.” “Before I wondered when my lung infections would land me in the hospital again. Now I wonder when I’ll have to deal with chronic rejection and/or kidney failure.” “Before, I planned my days around two hours of vest treatments, sometimes adding lengthy breathing treatments and/ or IV antibiotics into the mix. Now I plan my day around what I want to do (and work).” “While my life before transplant was difficult, living through it has helped me to appreciate and find happiness in things that so many people take for granted.” APRIL 2011 25

The Quake:

By Lauren K. Ohnesorge

An Eyewitness Account


arch 10 was a typical day for ASU alum Lyndsey Rivera. Go to school. Teach English. Enjoy life. For the past year, she’s been living out a personal dream: teaching English in Japan, specifically Utsunomiya, Tochigi. It’s a dream she has held onto, even after that typical day turned into a nightmare. “We were standing in the teacher’s room and the earthquake started,” she says. “All the teachers looked amused. We just waited for it to calm down.” But instead of calming like quakes she’s accustomed to in Japan, these tremors grew stronger. “The windows started to shake harder,” she says. “Our desks started to shake. We could hear the building moving. Teachers started for the door. Some were jumping under desks. I took after the door on the heels of the volleyball coach and we herded the students to the field in front of our high school.” Eventually, the ground settled. That’s when the aftershocks started. “There was a hard aftershock, and another, and another … and they kept coming,” she says. The quakes caused a massive power outage in the city and outlying areas, knocking out cell phone service and stopping the trains. “Students were sent home, carefully,” she says. “Those who took the train were kept at school.” Rivera, too, went home, and was horrified at what she found. “The doors (were) ajar, everything on the ground and the aftershocks made it too hard to stay in my rickety apartment,” she says. Worse, her cat had disappeared. “I had to go find friends,” she said. “All the lights were down, so there were long lines of cars trying to get somewhere, patiently trying not to hit one another in the dark for miles.” Convenience stores used lights from parked cars to stay open and cashiers

26 APRIL 2011

Supplies, food, etc. being unloaded in Sendai, Japan. Photos submitted

worked with pencils, paper and calculators. “Everything got sold,” Rivera says. And, while the power and phones started working again the next day, a gas shortage prompted more problems. “I was lucky to get a full tank before the 2,000 yen ($20, or about 13 liters) rationing started,” she says. Lines for gas stopped traffic in sections of the city. Stores were sold out of food. “Everyone was very calm about trying to get their supplies,” she says. The aftershocks continued. As of Wednesday there had been 200 level 3 aftershocks. Still, work continued as normal for Rivera. Classes were canceled for students, but she has had to attend teacher workdays. “School lunches are consisting of bread and milk or milk and rice,” she says. “Everyone is trying to conserve where they can, power, food, gas.” Rolling blackout started Monday to

conserve energy, but it’s not the lack of resources that sticks out in Rivera’s mind. It’s the reaction of her co-workers when another quake hits. “Things start shaking and people freeze,” she says, “waiting to see if they need to run.” Through it all, Rivera plans to stay in the country she now calls home, even though she is only 75 miles from the nuclear plants. “The news and media are panicking people and blowing the radiation scares out of proportion,” she says. “I continue to urge my friends here to remain calm and informed, keep reading, look at time stamps and don’t get sucked into the headline hype. The Japanese government has done a great job at dealing with a horrible set of situations and is continuing to do so. As for what happens next? “We will go to work, volunteer, donate supplies, live lean, give aid to those

who need it, rebuild and life will move forward,” she said. People are resilient. It will be all right.”

The High Country Helps Japan


igh Country outreach groups continue to monitor and react to the situation in Japan. A locally led Samaritan’s Purse team is on the ground in Sendai. Officials tell us they are distributing supplies to a junior high school where 700 people are living on the floor. “We had very positive meetings with several local government officials in the Sendai area,” media relations coordinator Karina Petersen says via e-mail. A charter cargo flight was slated to leave Charlotte for Tokyo loaded with 90 tons of emergency supplies Friday. “Additional disaster assistance response team members are being identified for deployment,” she says. “The incident management team is developing radiation and evaluation protocols.” Visit to learn more about the effort and to donate. Watauga County Red Cross is also leading the charge by accepting donations for relief efforts. “When people send us money specifically for Japan we do send it on to a national fund specifically earmarked for Japan,” Watauga Red Cross director of Health and Safety Lynn Norwood says. And there are plenty of ways to give. By texting REDCROSS to 90999, you’re donating $10 to the relief effort in Japan. Additionally, you can donate online at

APRIL 2011 27

Auto Trading Finding The Best Deal


o, you want to buy a new car. It’s exciting and scary and you’ve already got that new car smell swirling around your head so you’re ready to go for it. You’ve been thinking about what vehicle would be best to convey you in the style you deserve, but you’re still a bit overwhelmed with the purchasing process. And the biggest question – will I get a good deal? This is probably the most stressful part of buying a car, followed closely by ensuring you are getting enough for your trade. Then there’s dreading that back and forth between you, the salesperson, and that “Oz-like” manager who is controlling everything from behind the curtain. What can you do to speed up the process and feel more confident that you are in control? Research, research, research. Being prepared makes all the difference when you step on the lot. Here are some tips that will help: Research Model and Price. There are many resources available to help you narrow down which brands you are interested in and the price you should expect to pay. Factory or dealer websites provide excellent information on models,

28 APRIL 2011

By Christie Walin

options, inventory and price. And one of the top industry resources online for pricing is Having an idea what you should pay will help you get to the bottom line a lot faster. Research Trade-In. Two things to know - Dealerships do not give you retail value, and the condition of your vehicle will affect what it is worth. Kelley Blue Book is the industry standard that most dealerships use to determine pre-owned vehicle values. And you can now access this same information online at www.kelleybluebook. com. One key point – be honest about the condition of your car so as not to inflate your expectations. People do not want to be told their baby is ugly, but even if your car got you through high school and college and you think it’s the cutest thing ever, sentimental value does not equal dollar value. Research Dealerships. Not all dealerships are created the same. To

find out which dealerships to consider, get referrals from people whose opinion you trust. Also look for ratings such as the Better Business Bureau, online consumer reviews, and industry awards given by the manufacturers. These awards are based on strict criteria in every aspect of dealership management, including customer service ratings from actual customers. Now that you are prepared and confident, go get the vehicle you want and have fun! The staff at a good dealership will show you that they are there to help and want to make sure you are happy with your purchase for the long term.

Being “ prepared

makes all the differences when you step on a lot.

Christin Wallin is the director of marketing at Modern Automotive Network in Winston-Salem. (336) 7224191, Fax (336) 726-0288.

Cassie Welsh The New Watauga Humane Society Director By Lauren K. Ohnesorge


eet Cassie Welsh, a spunky new member of the Boone community. Well, at least she will be on March 28. That’s Welsh’s first day as the new executive director for the Watauga County Humane Society. “It will certainly take pressure off the board of directors, that’s for sure,” board member Bill Jolly says. And they’ve had a lot of pressures, thanks to the construction of a muchneeded new shelter, set to open in June. The new shelter is just one of the things Welsh, the current executive director at the Humane Society in Cashiers County, is excited about. “I am most excited about getting into that area and meeting that community,” she says. “The staff are wonderful. I am very much a community person. I want to know the staff. I want to know the board. I want to know the volunteers.” And she may have the energy to do it. Through her marketing expertise (over 30 years in marketing and public relations, including stints at both North Carolina Wildlife Magazine and South Carolina Wildlife Magazine), she’s brought her networking skills to good use in Cashiers County. “That’s how you get things done,” she says. “You become a part of the community.” And this community in particular has fascinated Welsh since her first visit several years ago. “I thought, honestly, that there was this spiritual reason for me being in that area,” she says. And she has a lot of places to compare the High Country to. In 1986, Welsh moved to Australia, where she lived for 21 years while showing and training dogs. The real love of her life, however, isn’t on her résumé. It’s in her home: Her three dogs, an 8-year-old champion Weimaraner, a 3-year-old terrier and

a 4-year-old mixed breed. Animals are more than a job to Welsh, they are a passion, which she has demonstrated through years of being involved in animal fostering and animal rescue. “I have, in the last two years, probably fostered about 22 dogs in my house,” she says. And she’s an activist, not only for fostering, but for responsible pet ownership.

“People need to think very long and hard about the amount of time they can give the animal,” she says. Thanks to an agreement with Watauga County, the Humane Society will take over animal control operations when the new shelter is complete, meaning increased responsibility Welsh promises not to take lightly. And, in case you were wondering: “Snow does not bother me,” she says.

APRIL 2011 29

Brenda S

30 APRIL 2011

Shell Hoss A Country Girl Can Succeed By Sherrie Norris


I love living in this area. I love my home being in such a peaceful and quiet. I love rejuvenating at home, spending time to myself and just regenerating.

renda Shell Hoss is a woman of many talents and interests and is the epitome of a country girl with a drive to succeed and enjoy life in the process. As a mother of two sons, grandmother to three, including a foster grandson, Brenda is a breath of fresh air to those she meets and brings life and laughter to every corner of her world. Born on Pearl Harbor Day, Brenda was the first of three children – and only girl – to James and Elaine Shell, both deceased, of Roan Mountain, Tenn. Brenda never missed a day of school in 12 years and graduated from Cloudland High School in 1965. She received her certificate in accounting from Massey Technical Institute in Jacksonville, Fla. Just after high school, Brenda was hired as a ward clerk at Cannon Memorial by Juanita Shomaker, longtime administrator, and soon afterward, became Shomaker’s personal secretary. “She trained me on the job,” Brenda says. Forty-five years later, Brenda is still at Cannon as administrative assistant and has been like glue that helped hold the institution together through many years of change. Brenda remembers “the good old days,” when she learned to type on a manual typewriter in school. “I wasn’t the best typist in the world,” she says. “Not to be deterred, Mrs. Continued On Page 32

APRIL 2011 31


MOTTO: Well-behaved women rarely make history. Continued From Page 31

Shomaker trained me on an electric typewriter, which I had never touched before.” Brenda remembers using carbon paper to make copies. “If you made an error, it had to be erased on the original and all the copies,” she says. “Today, when I type something, I just do spell check and the computer shows me my errors. We’ve come a long way, baby.” Brenda learned shorthand in high school, but she never used it on the job. “Mrs. Shomaker used a dictaphone to dictate her letters,” she says. “She trained me to transcribe her dictation. At that time, dictaphones used blue plastic belts. Once, when I was learning, I put the belt on my transcriber backward. The transcription sounded like a foreign language and I couldn’t figure out what I had done wrong.” “We wore many hats in those days,” Brenda says. “Mrs. Shomaker and I did the office work and served as liaisons with the doctors; we did physician recruiting, fundraising and public relations and served as the personnel department. We produced a monthly employee newsletter and a periodic newsletter for the community and our donors. The work was never-ending,” she says. “Currently, there are separate departments with managers and several employees in each of these departments.” Brenda admits to learning “so much,” during her years with Shomaker. “I also decided that I needed some medical training so I became certified in both North Carolina and Tennessee as a nursing assistant,” she says. “Mrs. Shomaker was the perfect picture of professional leadership, courage, guidance and care. Her goal was to provide quality healthcare for residents of this area. She was my hero.” Brenda has stayed the course through major changes within the hospital system and six administrators, including current leader, Chuck Mantooth. “I’ve had some great bosses and have always loved my job. No two days are alike,” she says. Brenda was named Avery County Secretary of the Year during Shomaker’s administration and has made a huge impact on local healthcare in her 45 years on the job. 32 APRIL 2011

Winemaking is simply a hobby for me. I have always wanted to make wine but didn’t know how to do it or even how to get started.

In addition to her loyalty to the local hospital, Brenda served on the board of trustees of Rural Health Services Consortium in Tennessee for six years. “During that time, we built a new rural health clinic in Bluff City, Chuckey, Erwin, Roan Mountain, Rogersville, Kingsport, and remodeled the old hospital in Sneedsville into a clinic,” she says. Brenda has many interests and hobbies though she enjoys nothing more than spending quality time with her family. She loves wildflowers “mainly identification and discovery;” she walks, hikes bikes, kayaks. She enjoys photography, music (especially bluegrass and beach), dancing (shag and ballroom) and reading (Nicholas Sparks and Janet Evanovich.) Brenda is also in the winemaking business - her label is She Shell Winery, a name that proudly represents her role as a woman – and her family name. “Winemaking is simply a hobby for me,” she says. “I have always wanted to make wine but didn’t know how to do it or even how to get started.” After meeting, “wonderful friends who live in Jacksonville, Fla. and who make delicious wines like Cranberry Chianti,” Brenda learned their process and decided she could do it, too. “I make six gallons at a time, using a concentrate which I usually buy from Thistle Meadow Winery in Laurel Springs, or through their online store (www. Tom Burgiss, a retired pharmacist, is the owner and operator,” Brenda says. “It usually takes about six weeks to make a six-gallon batch of sweet wine, which is my preference.” Brenda actually makes the wine in her kitchen. “Six gallons of wine is very heavy,” she says. “With everything in the kitchen, I can do a lot of siphoning back and forth between containers, to avoid as much lifting as possible. I named my ‘winery’ She Shell Winery because ‘she’ means female and Shell is my maiden name. My home in Land Harbor is She Shell Shateau with Shell also reflecting on the harbor, water, etc.” She makes the wine for her personal use. “I do not sell it,” she says. “In 1978, the U. S. Government passed a law allowing the making of wine at home, provided you stick to certain legal regulations such as “a single adult can make no more than 100 gallons of wine annually.” Another hobby for Brenda is social networking.

Brenda shows off her wines. Photos by Marilyn Ball

“Thanks to Facebook, I can communicate with, and keep up with, so many friends and vice versa,” she says. Her interest in photography goes beyond the routine point-and-click method, especially her close-up flora and scenic shots that have captured regional, as well as national, attention. Several of her breath-taking nature shots have found their place among winners in Ray’s Weather photography contests, thus ending up in Ray’s annual calendar. See October 2011 for her latest winner. Brenda also does photography work for a website called www.findagrave. com, where friends and relatives of the deceased ask that a photo of the gravestone be posted online at this website. “I love finding the Avery County cemeteries, taking the gravestone pictures and posting them for the families. So many times those making a request

live far away and might never have the opportunity to visit the grave. I live nearby so I can help them by taking the photo and posting for their viewing at any time,” she says. As an accomplished seamstress, Brenda once made many of her family’s clothing items. “ When my two sons were little, I made lots of their shorts, shirts, pants,” she says. “During those polyester leisure suit days, I actually made my husband a navy suit. I was meticulous with my work – adding all the foundation materials required in a suit, including a nice lining. I was so proud of myself. I turned on the iron for a final pressing so my husband could wear the suit to church on Sunday. The iron was too hot and on the first swipe, I melted the shoulder of the jacket. I cried and cried and cried.” When her granddaughters came along, Brenda made several outfits for them, too. “I loved making the little dresses, short sets, and overalls that matched. Now that they are 14 and 19, they just need me to make their alterations or repairs,” she says. Her love for nature led Brenda to take the master gardener course offered through the Avery Extension office. “I love to grow. I call my yard a postage stamp – it’s only big enough for a house and a little dirt around it. However, on that postage stamp, I grow tons of flowers and shrubs and have lots of perennials,” she says. Among many that she grows, her favorite indoor plant has become the Phalaenopsis orchid. “My favorite wildflowers are the native orchids,” she says. Brenda’s home in Linville Land Harbor, is in close proximity to work, family and to many of her favorite nature spots. “I love living in this area,” she says. “I love my home being in such a peaceful and quiet place. I love rejuvenating at home, spending time to myself and just regenerating.” “Some day, I will retire,” she says. “When I get old enough. I would like to do some traveling and I might learn to play guitar and start a rock ‘n’ roll band. Who knows? In the meantime, I’m just having fun.” When asked to share her motto, Brenda answers, “That’s easy. Well-behaved women rarely make history. However, if the things I do, or have done, will help some woman come out of her shell, help her to kick up her heels a little and learn to enjoy life, then I will have been a success.” APRIL 2011 33




for Every Budget

By Corrinne Loucks Assad


ot motivated for the gym? The drive takes too long. The classes don’t fit in with your work schedule. You can’t fit the monthly fee into your budget. Maybe you just don’t want everyone at the gym to see what type of shape you’re really in. Don’t worry about it. For the same money, or less, you can be getting an effective workout in your own workout space at home. Before spending too much money and filling your basement with useless equipment, it’s wise to ask yourself a few questions. What are your fitness goals? How often do you think you will really use the equipment you are considering purchasing? What fitness shape do you expect to be in three, six or nine months? Will this equipment offer enough variety? Will you tire of the exercises or will they keep you stimulated to continue? How much can you afford to spend? The last question will, of course, determine your budget for a home workout plan. Here are some recommended fitness equipment purchases for different budgets:

$35 If you can afford just one piece of equipment to start with, consider purchasing a fitness ball. It provides options for stretching, toning and strengthening. With the ball, you can get an upper body workout, a lower body workout and an intense abdominal/ stretching/flexibility workout.

$100 For a total body home gym under $100, consider adding resistance bands, a jump rope and dumb bells (usually about $1 34 APRIL 2011

per pound) in three different weights. A jump rope offers intense cardiovascular training at the cheapest price. That is, unless you go outside for a run without spending any money for extra equipment. Resistance bands come in varying resistance levels and provide a great option for strength training and muscle building. Alternate resistance band training with dumbbells in order to “trick” your muscles and prevent plateaus. Dumb bells or free weights, in lighter poundage, are great for toning and strength training. Heavier weights are great for moderate strength training and muscle building. They also provide more flexibility and variety of workouts than specific machines at the gym, for a fraction of the cost.

$1,000 For a home gym that will provide a total body workout, (strength, flexibility and cardio), consider adding a treadmill. Useful for running, walking or even some leg strength training, workouts can continually vary based on speed, incline,

time spent and direction. A treadmill can be adjusted to higher levels as your fitness level improves. Add a few heavier dumbbell sets, up to 50 pounds each, for additional muscle building. Also, adding a step bench will increase your variety for cardio and strength training workouts. Most of the home-based equipment will come with instructions and some even with workout videos or you might choose to buy extras like those specifically for yoga, Zumba, kickboxing, etc. Check the web for ratings on various workout DVDs, (Insanity, P90X, FIRM Body Sculpting System or 30-Day Shred with Jillian Michaels.) Consider buying used sporting equipment or even borrowing from friends before you buy your own. If you start with a plan and stay within your budget, your equipment should never fall into that “barely used” category. Corrinne Loucks Assad is a licensed real estate agent and winner of Boone’s Biggest Winner (health and fitness) contest.

APRIL 2011 35

Justice for ALL

n e m o W W

in the Workplace

omen who work outside of the home often have questions about what the law really says about things like taking leave for family, whether they can return to work in the same position after having a child and what happens if they are fired.

Applying for a Job Employers cannot discriminate in assessing applicants for positions. For example, gender, marital status, race, ethnicity or religious affiliations are not typically appropriate considerations when selecting an applicant. While a position may have certain requirements, those requirements cannot have the appearance of being prejudicial or designed to eliminate a class of applicants based on such protected categories. In addition, persons who are disabled or are perceived to be disabled may not be discriminated against in hiring determinations so long as a reasonable accommodation by the employer would allow them to fulfill the position’s requirements. An example of this might be having the employee work in an accessible area of the office or providing “speech to text” capability on computers. Only when a work duty is “job related and consistent with business necessity, and when performance cannot be accomplished by reasonable 36 APRIL 2011

as birth or adoption of a child, caring for a sick family member, or for one’s own illness. Family members of injured returning members of the armed services are entitled to take up to 26 weeks of leave. An employee who has taken leave is entitled to reinstatement in the same or an equivalent position to the on that he or she had before leaving.

Nursing Mothers

accommodation” may an employer exclude a disabled applicant.

Family Medical Leave If your employer has more than 50 employees in a 75-mile area, it is covered by the Family Medical Leave Act. That means, generally, that an employee must be given a minimum of 12 unpaid weeks of leave for major family changes, such

Nursing mothers have additional protections in the workplace under federal patient privacy laws. Employers generally need to provide breaks and a separate, private location to allow for pumping or breastfeeding, unless doing so creates an “undue hardship” in the workplace. A bathroom does not count as an appropriate location. One good publication for working mothers who wish to continue breastfeeding can be found at the American Academy of Pediatrics weblink: p2201.html.

What About Overtime? Some employees (salaried managers who make at least $455 per week and members of some professions, for example) are exempt from overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards

Act, but most are not. FLSA requires that employees get minimum wage and that they be paid time-and-a-half for every hour worked over 40 hours per workweek. The minimum wage in North Carolina is currently $7.25 per hour. Additionally, an employer may not require that an employee take compensation time instead of being paid. If an employee chooses to take comp time rather than be paid overtime, he or she must use it in the same pay period during which the overtime accrued. See the North Carolina Department of Labor Fact Sheets at overtimepay.htm.

Sexual Harrassment Employees who are harassed based on their status as male or female, including being subjected to unwanted touching, discriminatory language or slurs, a pattern of inappropriate sexualized jokes/ comments, or being pressured to subject to unwanted advances that are linked to job security or assignments, are protected by both Title VII of the United States Civil Rights Act and by state law. If an employee makes a grievance based on such actions, he or she cannot be subject to “retaliation” such as firing or demotion or transfer. Employers are under an obligation to promptly investigate

such allegations of harassment and the employee should be allowed to report them to someone who is not the offending party. If you are a victim of sexual harassment and haven’t had a satisfactory response from your employer, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at nearest EEOC office by calling: (800) 669-4000 (voice) or (800) 669-6820 (TTY).

Losing a Job North Carolina is one of several “at will” employment states. That means, absent a valid contract to the contrary, that the employment relationship can be terminated at any time by the employer or by the employee. Some restrictions are that an employee cannot be terminated for reporting the illegal conduct of the employer nor for making a grievance against another employee for violation of state or federal laws. An employer does not need to show that the employee committed misconduct or was subjected to a progressive disciplinary policy in order to terminate that employee. However, an employee who feels she was terminated for an illegal reason can contact the Department of Labor. Furthermore, an employee who is terminated through no fault of her own should also file for unemployment

compensation with the Employment Security Commission. You can find further information and your local office at jobSearch. If the employee had health insurance provided by the employer, he or she is entitled to continue the coverage under COBRA, (health benefit provisions in the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which provides terminated employees or those who lose coverage because of reduced work hours the opportunity to buy group coverage for themselves and their families for limited periods of time at their own cost.)

General Principles An employee in North Carolina has many protections under both state and federal law regarding the conditions of her employment. Many of these laws, including workplace health and safety, are not covered in this brief article. If you have an employment law concern that cannot be resolved with your employer or prospective employer, it is a good idea to consult the state agencies listed above, and if needed, to consult with, an attorney for further advice or action. Justice For All is a column provided by Legal Aid of North Carolina 171 Grand Blvd. Boone, NC 28607. (828) 264-5640 ext. 1105

APRIL 2011 37


TRAVEL & Leisure

Sue Spirit named her writing shed Nunavut, after the newest province of Canada, about as far north on the planet as you can go – a metaphor for where your writing will take you, if you let it. Photo by Sue Spirit

A Shining Writing Shed By Sue Spirit


once spent a week as a writing resident at a paradise called Norcroft, nestled in the north woods of Minnesota on Lake Superior. My writing shed, called Zora Neale Hurston, a lovely scrubbed pine cabin with the longest desk in the world, set me dreaming of having my own writing shed one day. Home again, I set out to find my own dream shed, scrutinizing abandoned chicken coops, tool sheds, and voting booths, any building vaguely resembling the size and shape of Zora Neale Hurston. I finally bought a tiny red wooden building from Atlee, an Amish friend. He’d hauled it away from the back of a funeral home. One fine day, he drove it over to our retreat center on a farm wagon pulled by a team of horses big as Clydesdales, and nestled it, into a hollow in our woods between lilac bushes and Star of Bethlehem clumps, planted 150 years ago by ghost inhabitants of our land. I can sit at my desk made from a door, look out the window at cardinals flitting by and the green, green of the woods, and scribble. I have my pens, books, writing pads, piles of stuff I’ve written, two squares of very dark chocolate, and a nice cup of peppermint tea. What more could anyone want? My writing shed is called Nunavut, after the newest province of Canada, about as far north on the planet as you can go; “far north,” a metaphor for where your writing will take you if you let it. You follow pathless ways into places where no one has ever been before. I’d actually go to Nunavut, if I thought there was anything vegetarian to eat. But my Nunavut

38 APRIL 2011

cabin is next best. Whale blubber isn’t my cup of tea. Two High Country friends, Evelyn and Diane, also have their own writing cabins. Diane’s is located at The Farm at Mollie’s Branch in Todd, a wonderland of llamas and shitake mushrooms. It is furnished with her father’s desk and lounge chair. Evelyn’s cabin is a woodsy hideaway above the town of Boone, lovingly restored by her mate, Steve. The cabin is lined with books by authors who inspire her. Solitude is her cherished value. “The vaulted ceiling,” she says, “is breathing, listening, welcoming this writer’s thoughts – and dreams.” Our writing sheds invite us to shed something. They’re verbs. We can shed our inhibitions, our editor, our hungers, our goals, our crutches, our dreams and our worries. One thing we cannot shed is the earth. It reverberates outside our windows. Our sheds are also nouns, places where tools are stored: a net to catch the fishes of the brain, a camera of the eye to snap the burnished moment, a finger to write in the dirt, a ball cap to shade out intrusions and mind-games, a shawl to contain the intensity of an idea. I keep whatever I want in there, even a pen. But certainly not a computer. Be brave. Be a Luddite. Write on birch bark. I’m putting pen to paper these days, but I’m not sure it is I who is writing. It seems that things are being written in me, through me. I am learning to be a beginner, be open, be wild, be lone. This Nunavut paradise is surely doing its work in me.


Résumé Strategy How to Gain the Interview

By Sharon Carlton


résumé is a professional calling card, a snapshot of a person’s experiences and qualifications, to use when seeking employment. Many human resource personnel believe a glance at a résumé reveals whether a person can perform a specific job or learn to perform the job easily. When employers spend mere seconds looking at each résumé before deciding to “toss” or “pursue,” a resume must capture the reader’s interest immediately. The keys to holding the attention of the reader – and gaining an interview – are clarity, professionalism, and organization. For starters, applicants should identify themselves and list contact information at the top center of the page, enabling potential employers to set up an interview. Include full name, mailing address, telephone number, and an e-mail address. One local career counselor suggests persons seeking employment establish a Gmail account to use for résumés. Whereas AOL and Yahoo e-mail addresses are well-established (older), Gmail is viewed as more current by some potential employers, potentially reflecting a more contemporary mindset. Each résumé should be easy to read, appear professional, and concisely and accurately represent the applicant’s experiences, skills, and education in regards to the position. By reviewing written descriptions of the job, applicants can use the keyword “job descriptors” in their résumés. At larger companies, resumes are scanned for keywords relating to the position; those lacking keywords are dismissed. Since there is no one formal template, résumés can be customized for each employment opportunity to highlight an individual’s strengths for each job description – and minimize any gaps in education, skills or experience. The most important factors of a person’s qualifications for a position should be immediately identified. For example, when job experience has best equipped a person for a position, job experience should be addressed first on the résumé.

If education or skills are the more outstanding strengths, those should be presented promptly. Younger applicants who may be short on employment experience, should list activities, community service, volunteer work, and/or athletic endeavors that have prepared them for the responsibility of a job. Include details and examples demonstrating ability to do work required for the job. Highlight achievements and accomplishments offering specific examples of duties and successes using dollar figures, percentages, or numbers, when applicable. Identify changes implemented and positive results. Organize vital information using bullet points for key phrases rather than sentences in paragraph form; clearly stated phrases pinpoint facts in an easier to read, accessible format. Utilize the most optimal words that concisely describe responsibilities and tasks of previous work in professional language, avoiding cliché and slang words such as “people person” or “hard worker.” Have a skilled proofreader edit your résumé for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Misspelled words, incorrect grammar or sloppiness can lose the opportunity for an interview. Print résumés on professional quality

résumé paper. Ivory is the preferable shade; avoid “flashy.” Maintain one-inch margins on all four sides of the paper. Use a classic font like Times New Roman or Palatino, no smaller than a size 10 font. One-page résumés are preferable; two is permissible if needed, to represent detailed job experience. Remember, a résumé is a brief window for presenting one’s self as the best candidate for a position and company. Customize résumés for each job opportunity, writing with the expectations of the potential employer in mind. Keep the form orderly and easy to scan with the most pertinent information apparent at a glance. Maximize the opportunity to promote yourself by presenting strengths and experiences with solid examples. Sharon Carlton, High Country Courtesies ©2011. Sharon Carlton conducts High Country Courtesies customer service workshops and is director of High Country Cotillion, a social education program for youth. She writes and speaks on modern etiquette and life skill topics. Contact her at

APRIL 2011 39

PET Page

Turtles can live several years with proper care but the proper care is not common knowledge.

40 APRIL 2011

Turtles By Genevieve Austin


urtles are legendary for being characterized as slow and even uninteresting, to some people. Au contraire. The more you get to know turtles the more you love them. As manager of The Pet Place in Boone, Tina Townsend spends her days surrounded by animals but doesn’t leave that love at work. For three years, Tina has cared for her two red-eared slider turtles; when three more turtles required rescuing, she welcomed the addition to her hardshell clan. Today, Slick, Rick, Dan, Dee and Lion are residents of Townsend Turtleville. Tina has found turtles to be highly entertaining, as evidenced early on with Slick and Rick and their interactions with each other. The turtles are aware of Tina’s presence, especially when she walks toward the food cabinet at home. When Tina walks through her home, the turtles follow, moving in the same direction in their habitat. In fact, when they want food, they

splash around in the water to make her aware. When Tina heads for the food cabinet, they splash with enthusiasm and smoosh their faces and bodies up against the glass and splash harder. Their favorite food: crickets. Tina’s favorite time with her pet turtles is when they bask under the heat lamp. They stay on their stomachs, resting with their bodies in a spreadeagle position to take in the heat. The position, Tina says, reminds her of the Superman pose, the only difference being their arms are stretched backward. It is illegal to sell turtles in North Carolina, as well as in many other states, Tina says, but no laws are broken by owning them. “When tourists buy turtles at the beach, they are often told that they won’t get any larger than a quarter. “The red-eared sliders grow to be at least 5 inches and can grow as large as 10-12 inches and people aren’t prepared to take care of them,” Tina says. “Turtles can live several years with proper care but the proper care is not common knowledge.” Filtration is key to maintaining both

The More You Know, The More You Love

a healthy habitat and one’s joy of owning turtles, Tina says. Referring to the odor that come from poor filtration, she says, “You’ve got to have good filtration or you’ll wish you never had turtles.” As reptiles that carry salmonella bacteria, turtles are not recommended as pets for children or for those who are not diligent about cleaning and properly tending their habitats. Tina recommends proper UVB bulbs for essential production of vitamins E and B3 which help turtles process the calcium in their food. The wrong bulb can be deadly as it can cause the turtle’s shell to soften. Defining turtle gender is not an easy task, Tina says, but feels certain that with five turtles in one habitat, “time will tell.”

Photos by Rob Moore

APRIL 2011 41


42 APRIL 2011

Reflecting with Dottie Isbell By June W. Bare


ottie Isbell is a recognizable name in High Country literary circles. Has she written the great American novel? Is she on The New York Times bestseller list? No. Dottie’s talents transcend such dreams, because she is real and because she writes from the heart. Dottie has been a familiar summer resident in the High Country since 1954. From May to October each year, it’s common to see Dottie in local bookstores, gift shops and anywhere book signings occur. She’s the tiny white-haired lady with the beautiful smile signing her memoir, “Reflections,” a book of vignettes of her life and verses from her heart. “Reflections” presents a lively picture of her 65 years as wife to her late husband, Jason, mother to her two children, educator and her role in her church and community. Recently, Dottie put together another limited edition book of verses, for her family — private verses, and an incredible true story about a black butterfly, titled, “Fly With Me.” “My verses are meant to express my gratitude for the blessings God has granted me through his son, Jesus Christ,” Dottie says. Although her verses are not old-style rhyme and rhythm, a definite cadence flows from the words, portraying images with picturesque language. But this nonagenarian is legally blind. Macular degeneration has become a teacher of sorts for Dottie, since its diagnosis in 2001. With the eye disorder comes damage to the center portion of the retina, called the macula. Fine details are difficult to see and the disease may progress to the point of legal blindness. “First, I had to change my attitude toward frustration,” she says. “I had to admit I can’t see and not worry about whether I butter my thumb rather than the biscuit. One night while driving in rainy weather on Florida Highway 27, I couldn’t see. I was terrified and alone. In 2001, I went into a classroom to supervise a student teacher. She was pointing to the chalkboard and I couldn’t see anything. I moved around the room and still couldn’t see anything.” Since then, her condition has

Scenes from previous Celebrity Serve events. Photo submitted

progressed to the point that she is no longer able to drive. Her eye condition has taught her the importance of seizing each ray of light and each difference and pattern in colors. Light has become a wonder to her. She expresses it well in a portion of one of her verses: With my failing eyesight I hold dear every ray of light. I have come to know the dramatic difference and flexible patterns of color that I see . . . Dottie says that she cannot, “remember when she didn’t want to become a writer.” Initially, she wanted to be a journalist and write for newspapers, and write short stories and verses. She dreamed of being a writer like Catherine Marshall and did publish some children’s stories with Saalfield Press, and some verses and musings in the 1970s. But rather than writing as a career, she was a lifetime educator, beginning as a kindergarten teacher in Michigan, then several years in the classroom in Miami, Fla. It was natural for her to move into her role as a school administrator for a total of 30 years. Currently, she is working on her first novel, “The Walking River.” Based on the life of her great-grandfather Carlisle, it tells of a young boy wanting to break away from the hardships of the Scottish

CLOUDS I’d love to catch a cloud, a little cloud, soft and feathery, I’d hold it gently, bury my face in it until it left without a trace but, for the moment, it was mine. A gift from God’s universe. – By Dottie Isbell

mines to find a life in America. Although the story is pure imagination, it follows those who sought freedom and settled in North Carolina’s High Country. Through the years, many people – including her family and teachers from grade school through college – have inspired and encouraged Dottie to write. The High Country Writers group has proved to another great inspiration. After reading an ad placed by Maggie Bishop in the Watauga Democrat several years ago, she joined the group. However, Dottie credits her parents, particularly her mother, as her initial inspiration. It is the strength of their character and unconditional love that this unique and gifted woman embodies today, and something you will easily recognize when you happen upon one of her local book signings this year. APRIL 2011 43

CENTS & Sensibility

Lower your mortgage, save some money By Corrinne Loucks Assad, Realtor


rior to the current recession and the downward spiral of real estate home prices over the past two years, many people got caught in the rush to get what money they could out of their homes. Soaring home values left plenty of room for them to do so, through either a cashout refinance or a home equity loan or line of credit. Now that home values have plummeted, these homeowners find themselves ‘upside down’ on their mortgages. In other words, they may now owe more on their mortgages than today’s appraised value of their homes. Rather than the bygone ‘cash-out’ mortgage, homeowners are seeing the value in today’s ‘cash-in’ refinance plans. Those refinancing now want to lock in today’s low interest rates. In November 2010, rates hit a low of 4.25 percent for a 30-year mortgage, which currently is about 4.91 percent for a 30-year mortgage. While locking the lower rates, they are also bringing extra cash to closings, above and beyond the actual closing costs. They may be doing this for a number of reasons: • They may be ‘upside-down’ on their mortgages and have to bring cash in order to make up the difference of today’s appraised value versus the value when they last mortgaged their homes; • They may want to fatten up the equity in their homes and avoid paying private mortgage insurance which is required when financing over 80 percent of your home’s value; or • Their goal may be to lower monthly payments by lowering the interest rates on their mortgages. According to Freddie Mac, 22 percent of refinancers, in the second quarter of 2010, put money into their homes. Another trend in refinances and new

44 APRIL 2011

mortgages are 15and 20-year mortgages, as opposed to the popular 30-year. These are especially popular to those getting close to retirement and who want to have their homes paid for in a shorter time frame. In addition, they’ll save a bundle in interest over the life of the loan. For example, if you refinance a $200,000 mortgage for 30 years at 4.3 percent, your principaland-interest payments will be $990 per month, and the interest you’ll pay during the 30 years will be $156,307. If you refinance that same $200,000 mortgage for 15 years at 3.7 percent, your payments will be $1,449 a month -- but you’ll pay only $60,908 in interest – a $95,399 savings. If you look at these cash-in refinances or higher monthly payments for fewer years as an investment, the numbers look pretty good. Consider that you’d be earning at a rate equal to the rate of your loan on those accelerated payments, 3.7 percent (in the example above), which is better than any CDs or money market funds by today’s rates. The rate of return is also guaranteed, unlike the stock or mutual funds markets. In other words, your money works harder today by paying down your mortgage than it will in any type of savings plan. The other side is that a higher payment, or cash-in refinance, means lower cash flow. You have to determine of it is the best place to put your money or if it could be better spent elsewhere, like toward paying of credit card debt or fattening up your retirement plan. Many financial planners agree that younger people, (under age 40), should not be paying more toward their mortgages but would do better funding a retirement plan. Individuals age 50 and above, who are

getting closer to retirement, should be concerned about having their home paid off by the time they retire. If you’re close to retirement and paying off your mortgage would take up too much of your savings, however, this may not be such a good idea. Of course, every situation is different and you would need to consult your financial advisor for the best place to put your money. If you are considering refinancing your home, make sure it will really save you money before moving forward. Some experts say that it is a good idea if the new rate is one percent less than your current rate; others say two percent less. The main idea is to calculate how many months it will take to recoup your refinancing closing costs. For example, if your closing costs are $3,600 and your new mortgage will save you $200 per month on your payment, it will take you 18 months to recoup those closing costs. Will you still be in this house 18 months from now? Also keep in mind that the mortgage interest is tax-deductible. If you’re worried about qualifying for a new mortgage, you can be turned down for a new mortgage with lower payments than you are already paying on your existing mortgage. Consider making extra payments or larger payments to pay your home off sooner and increase your mortgage tax deduction. Will the difference in your deductions still deem the refinance a good idea for you? Again, consult your tax advisor and financial analyst/planner for the right answers for your specific situation.


pril is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and OASIS, Inc. Watauga County’s rape crisis center and domestic violence agency, is inviting the community to become more aware about this all too common crime and its devastating consequences. This year the National Sexual Violence Resource Center is emphasizing primary prevention of sexual violence, focusing on “everyone speaking up to prevent sexual violence in our neighborhoods, communities, workplaces and schools. The 2011 national Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign explores common, everyday behaviors and offers individuals viable, responsible ways to intervene.” ( OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Services, Information, and Shelter) has been educating about primary prevention since 2007, when the agency received a grant for a pilot program through the Centers

Reaching Out With Prevention Resources for Disease Control and Prevention and NC DHHS. Program director Jenny Fairchild and her prevention committee are now rolling out the Red Flag Campaign, an initiative that focuses on bystanders knowing how to identify red flags and how to address the issues. OASIS is also teaming up with the Appalachian and Community Together service learning class taught by Michelle Brown, to create programs at Appalachian State University for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. A group of five students from the class are planning a public demonstration on April 6, and a vigil for survivors and their friends and family members on April 11. They have teamed up with the ASU Women’s Center, the ASU Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the ASU Counseling Center to put on these events. Additionally, they are contributing to the Teal Ribbon Campaign by setting up contact tables on campus and reaching

out to local businesses. The ASU Multicultural Center and the ASU Sociology Club have also partnered with OASIS’s Prevention Committee for a speakers’ series on the burgeoning men’s movement to end violence against women. The last speaker of the series, Wayne Barnes, will be talking about ways communities of faith can address the issue of violence against women, including how to best support survivors. And, OASIS, Inc. is the recipient organization of this year’s Celebrity Serve fundraising efforts. The event is set for Tuesday, April 12. Locally, OASIS provided services to 47 sexual assault survivors in 2010. Keep in mind that most sexual assaults are never reported, so that means the numbers do not always adequately portray the problem. For more information, contact OASIS, Inc. at P.O. Box 1591 Boone, NC, 28607, or call (828) 264-1532.

APRIL 2011 45

Serving it

Up Local “Celebrities” Will Serve For OASIS


hile the term “celebrity” might be used loosely, it works, says Mary Hall, spokesperson for the 6th Annual Celebrity Serve, which will take place on Tuesday, April 12, in Watauga County. A successful fundraiser partnering with local eateries and well known “personalities” that began as a way to help Watauga County Hospice, the event has earned more than $125,000 since its inception to benefit local organizations including Hospice, Make a Wish Foundation, High Country Soccer, the Hospitality House and most recently, Watauga Education Foundation. Before last year’s successful event was over, the Celebrity Serve board began accepting requests from area nonprofit agencies for consideration as the 2011 beneficiary. “It was not an easy decision to make because we had several well-deserving groups that could certainly make good use of the money,” says Jack Pepper, chair of the CS board, “But we chose OASIS as recipient of this year’s proceeds, knowing that many families will benefit from the money we raise.” Founded in 1978, OASIS, Inc. (Opposing Abuse with Services, Information, and Shelter) is dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault in Watauga County, North Carolina. OASIS works toward this mission in three ways: 1. Providing comprehensive emergency services, transitional support, and a safe environment for survivors as they explore options for a violence-free life. 2. Providing education and skill development to encourage families in our community to create and maintain healthy peer and intimate partner relationships that are based on respect and equality. 46 APRIL 2011

3. Helping to create a community that supports survivors through advocacy and education. Pepper, his wife, Lisa and fellow community advocates Tim Baxter, Gwen Dhing, Mary Hall, and Sherrie Norris, established Celebrity Serve as a way to help the local Hospice agency after its annual telethon was discontinued. “The success of our first attempt was astounding,” says Hall, so we decided the next year to spread the funds throughout the community as a way to help others. It just grew from there.” OASIS could not be happier that their turn has arrived, says Jennifer Herman, executive director. “We are truly honored to be chosen as beneficiary. We know that there were other deserving organizations being considered and we do not take for granted the opportunity that has been given to us to not only raise money, but also awareness for what we do,” she says. The Celebrity Serve board encourages the community to come out in force to show its support for OASIS as it continues to serve those in domestic violence situations. Celebrity Serve is a great opportunity for the community to partner with local restaurateurs and make a Tuesday anything but typical. It can be a day that Watauga County raises enough money to put smiles on the faces of hurting parents and children and to help decrease violence in Watauga County. For more information about OASIS, Inc., call (828) 264-1532, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. For those in abusive situations, call the 24-hour crisis line numbers: (800) 268-1488, (within area codes: 828, 336 and 423); (828) 262-5035, (within the Boone area); (828) 264-3761, (page via Sheriff’s Office) Watch for more details of Celebrity Serve 2011 in The Watauga Democrat and The Mountain Times.

Past Celebrity Servers. Photos submitted.

Spring has Sprung Winter is behind us and the new year has sprung into action with the flowers claiming their spot in the sun. Here are some early risers before summer takes control and steals the show. Photos by Rob Moore

APRIL 2011 47

BEAUTY & Style

Healthy Diet Healthy Skin 48 APRIL 2011

What You Eat Affects your Skin By Kelly Penick


healthy diet is key to helping you maintain your body’s sense of well-being. What you eat also affects the health of your skin in a vital way. Some of today’s most popular diets have very important underlying messages that will be reflected in your skin. o The Mediterranean diet is rich in fish, leafy greens, olive oil and fruit. These foods are beneficial to keeping a slim figure and may also protect against melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. The Omega 3 fatty acids in fish help keep skin cell membranes healthy and strong. Antioxidants in the olive oil – and leafy greens – may protect against ultraviolet light and other environmental dangers that can work to break down collagen and elastin. o The high protein, low carbohydrate diets, such as South Beach or Atkins, can prove to be beneficial in that cutting back on “white,” (bread, sugar, etc.) results in lowering the secretion of the stress

hormone cortisol. A reduction of this hormone can minimize skin breakouts and more. With a diet calling for higher meat consumption, be aware that while some cholesterol received from red meats can increase the skin cells’ lipid layer, eating too much animal fat can result in increased production of free radicals, which may interfere with normal cellular processing. This, in turn, could lead to premature cell death and result in sagging skin, for starters. o In following a low-fat diet, keep in mind that your body and skin need some fat, particularly “the good kind” found in nuts and olive oil. Fat helps the body absorb complexion-friendly antioxidants as well as fat-soluble vitamins, which strengthens cell membranes. The result is a healthier epidermis, giving the face a dewier, more supple appearance. A good rule of thumb to remember is that we should get at least 20 percent of our calories from fat, mainly the unsaturated kind mentioned above.

Kelly Penick is an independent licensed esthetician who may be reached at (828) 773-3587.

APRIL 2011 49

HEALTH & Fitness

By Bonnie Church, Certified Wellness Coach

Power in Words They Can Hurt or Heal


ust like the foods we eat, the words we speak can hurt or heal. Words have the power to create peace among people. Healthy relationships are the fruit of healthy conversations. Healthy relationships bring health to a nation. If ever there was a need for civil conversations, it is now. Words can also dramatically affect the

50 APRIL 2011

physical health of the listener. Research shows that there is a powerful radar in our heads that is continually scanning the environment for threats. If that radar perceives a threat through words and/or body language, stress hormones are triggered. Under stress, the heart rate increases, the arteries constrict, the immune system is taxed and the digestive system is upset.

Quite literally – words can make us sick. Neuro-linguistic research (the study of the neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the comprehension, production, and acquisition of language) has identified some of the threatening perceptions created by words and body language: • A demeaning tone

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. • Confusing, conflicting expectations • Feeling unsafe • Feeling disliked • Sensing one is being unfairly treated • Feeling one’s autonomy is threatened These threats can be real or imagined. It doesn’t matter. When threatened, stress hormones are triggered and the listener is tempted to respond in ways that add fuel to the fire. It’s called the fight or flight response: • Raise the voice. • Shut down. • Shift blame: The reason I am like this, is because you (fill in the blank). • Go into the ‘You always do this’ mode. • Magnify the offense and make it bigger than it is. This creates a vicious cycle that compounds misunderstanding and escalates health-eroding stress. The good news is that we can break the cycle. We do not have to be controlled by our emotions. Each of us also has a voice of reason in our head. We can defuse the tension by responding rationally and graciously rather than negatively and punitively to our perceptions. Here are a few helpful hints to make that happen: - When the person you are speaking with says something that raises your ire, instead of reacting immediately, take a deep breath, relax and listen. Make an effort to understand what they are trying to say. Ask questions. - Stay focused on the moment. This is not the time to bring up offenses from the past. This will only cloud the issue and make a peaceful resolution less likely.

- Respond to criticism with an openness to learn. When we take it too personally, we miss the opportunity to gain insight into how our words and actions are affecting others. - Admit you are wrong – when you are. It diffuses the situation, sets a good example, and shows maturity. It also often inspires the other person to respond in kind, leading you both closer to mutual understanding and a solution. - Use “I” statements. “I understand how you feel. I feel frustrated when this happens.” Remember that his radar is looking for threats, too. When you say things like, “You messed up,” this elevates his stress hormones and gets them in fight or flight mode. “I” statements, defuse the threat. - Physically touch the person in a non-threatening, appropriate way. - Change the scene: Sometimes just moving into another room or taking a walk together, can have a calming effecting on raw emotions. - Take time to cool off: If you feel yourself, or the person with whom you are speaking, starting to get too emotionally driven to be constructive, it’s okay to take a break from the discussion until you both cool off. Sometimes good communication means knowing when to take a break. - Caveat: Of course the exception to all of this is in relationships with a history of violence. If you are in such a relationship you need to seek professional help and protection. Mother Teresa spoke well when she said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

APRIL 2011 51

MOMS’ World

By Heather W. Jordan, CNM, MSN

52 APRIL 2011

Looking Into

Mir rors Lately i’ve been looking into mirrors picking myself apart you’d think at my age i’d of thought of something better to do . . .

– from “present/infant” by Ani Difranco, American Grammy Award-winning singer, guitarist, and songwriter.


ooking into mirrors as a mother seems to occur periodically, as if suddenly you decide to check in with some outside consultant on how all these trial-and-error years have impacted your children. It seems to me that while often-times we all just coast along the normal flow of our lives with work, school, and family with confidence, the mirror will present itself out of nowhere and certain stark realities glare at you, making you question almost everything that you have ever done as a parent. In my world, this event has seemed to occur with increasing frequency as children get older, because the chance that you will hear or see the words or behaviors that you would prefer not to have repeated from your own life, play out in a new movie starring your kids. Recently, I was taken aback by my eldest son when he, upset that he felt I wasn’t listening to him, stomped up the stairs as I asked him calmly to come back down. When he ignored me, I became wounded and insistent that he return so I could prove how very much I wanted to hear him out. Soon the insistence turned to necessity that he know that I was listening and cared. I perceived so much resignation when he walked away from me, as if his forever patience with his younger brothers’ constant demands on my attention had worn thin. My guilt weighed heavily on me, and my reasoning voice turned to an unequivocal roar for him to stop moving away from me while I was talking to him. Being caught in the moment of his own emotion, but also always my child who has thrived on constant approval, he

paused tearful at the top of the stairs. When he spoke, he said “I just wanted a chance to calm down,” and continued walking. I pursued him without invitation, now crying myself. What had always bothered me most in my own personal conflicts was feeling ignored, not being given a chance to collect myself, and people raising their voices. Here I was doing exactly what I never wished to endure myself. I shrunk in humility and asked my son’s forgiveness, trying to explain why I had followed him. In the aftermath, we hugged, but the whole incident made me ruminate and dwell in that land of my own insecurity. For days, I felt terrible and wondered if I had been so caught up in coasting through our daily life that I was ignoring my most mature and independent son’s need for attention. Thankfully, time together and independent conversations with my son, husband, and some good friends brought me peace and allowed me to realize that these painful moments are the ones that give us pause but also give us momentum. And if periodic looks in the mirror bring us appreciation for what we have, and a desire to secure what we do not, then I suppose it’s possible to get these glimpses without completely tearing ourselves apart. After all, I already have a full-time job and besides, love is all over the place. For comments or questions regarding this column, Heather Jordan, Certified Nurse-Midwife, may be reached at (828) 737-7711 ext. 253, or by e-mail at landh@ APRIL 2011 53




The acerola is a fruit that is native to the southern areas of South America, Mexico and the U.S. It is known for its ability to improve metabolism, boost immune system, repair damaged tissues, improve eyesight and heart health, combat acne, and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases and cancers. This fruit is considered to be one of the richest sources of vitamin C. The bael fruit belongs to the orange family and is found in India. Its medicinal value is very high when it ripens. It is an effective cure for dysentery and cholera. It alleviates asthma. It is administered in cases of malaria and snakebites. It has strong antibiotic and anti-inflammatory benefits. The bael tree is regarded as sacred in Indonesia and Malaysia. Durian is most abundant in Southeast Asian countries. Most people are immediately turned off by its strong, pungent odor. Its smell is so pervasive that public places do not allow them. Most people who have tasted the fruit, however, become lifelong addicts. This fruit is extremely nutritious and rich in vitamins B, C and E, as well as high in iron. Durian lowers cholesterol and cleans the blood. It alleviates anxiety, depression and insomnia, and raises the levels of serotonin in the brain. They are high in protein, as well as a good source of raw fats, and they have a reputation for being a very powerful aphrodisiac. 54 APRIL 2011

The star fruit is local to many places in Southeast Asia. The star fruit has earned its name with its medicinal benefits and stain-removing qualities! Star fruit may lower cholesterol. It helps cure headaches, ringworm and chickenpox. It is also known to cure hangovers by steaming a piece of the fruit in water. Star fruit is often given to nursing mothers, as it stimulates the flow of milk. It is helpful in situations of sunstroke, nausea, indigestion, winter colds and the flu. It is full of antioxidants and flavonoids. The mangosteen fruit is native to Southeast Asia. Most people find mangosteen incredible delicious. The white flesh is relatively low in nutrition but the deep-red rind is an antioxidant powerhouse. It is rich is Xanthones, which fight fatique, obesity, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, gum disease, dizziness, glaucoma, pain, inflammation, fever, allergies, kidney stones, osteoporosis, cancer, cataracts, and more! Canistel fruits are rich in a number of vitamins and minerals, especially carotene and niacin. They effectively fight cancer and lower blood pressure. Often referred to as “eggfruit,” canistel has a texture similar to that of a thoroughly cooked egg and has a sweet taste. It has been a common plant in the Bahamas for as far back as the 1920s.

FOOD & Drink

Planning for Easter With Sherrie Norris


nother Easter season is upon us and what a great time to plan for those special family gatherings. Whether you need ideas for a Sunday brunch, lunch, or an after-thehunt party for the kids, hopefully these ideas will help. Hash Brown Quiche 1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed ¼ cup butter, melted 5 eggs, lightly beaten 1½ cups shredded Swiss cheese 1 cup cooked ham ¼ cup milk Salt and pepper to taste Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Press potatoes into greased pie plate. Brush with melted butter. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. In large bowl, mix remaining ingredients together and pour over potato crust. Bake until center is set, about 20 minutes until lightly brown on top

Bunny Patch Dessert

Candy Easter Eggs

Frozen pound cake loaf, thawed and cut into 10 slices 21 oz. can pie filling, any flavor 8 oz. whipped topping, thawed 1 cup coconut Green food coloring Jelly beans and assorted Easter decorations

2 boxes powdered sugar 2 sticks butter or margarine 1 tsp. salt 1 small can Carnation evaporated milk 1 small pkg. chopped nuts 1 sm. bottle maraschino cherries, drained and chopped 1 cup coconut 1 can crushed pineapple — well drained 1 pkg. (12 oz.) chocolate chips 1/3 block paraffinf

Line bottom of oblong baking dish with cake slices. Layer with pie filling first and then cover with whipped topping. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve. Tint coconut with green food coloring by shaking coconut and food coloring in jar or zip-lock bag until blended. Sprinkle over center of whipped topping. Decorate with Easter candies and decorations. Makes 15 servings.

In large bowl, mix sugar, butter, nuts, cherries, pineapple and coconut. Add salt. Add enough milk to stick together, but not runny. Shape into oval “eggs” and allow to dry for a few minutes. Melt chocolate chips and paraffin in double boiler. Dip “eggs” into melted chocolate and set on waxed paper to dry. When chocolate is set, eggs can then be personalized and decorated as desired.

Southern Breakfast Pie 1 Tbsp. butter ½ onion, chopped 1 (12 oz.) pkg. pork sausage (mild or hot) 4 eggs ½ cup Ranch-style salad dressing ½ cup milk 1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cheddar cheese, shredded 1 dash hot pepper sauce (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Pinch of sugar 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, add sausage, and cook until brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, dressing and milk. Stir in shredded cheese. Season with hot sauce, salt, pepper and sugar. Spread sausage mixture in bottom of crust. Cover with egg mixture, and shake lightly to level out. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees; bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until filling is puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven, prick top with a knife, and let cool 10 minutes before serving.

APRIL 2011 55

FOOD & Drink

Melissa Claude Bringing Joy to The Bistro By Corrinne Loucks Assad


very woman should be as fortunate as Melissa Claude to have spent quality time, as a child, with her grandparents in their Western Pennsylvania restaurant where her love for the art of preparing and cooking food was born. “Dinner was a big deal in my family,” Melissa says. “Grandma cooked six days a week in the restaurant and then made huge Sunday dinners at home – fried chicken or chicken-fried steak with all kinds of side dishes,” she says. Melissa remembers helping prep in the family restaurant as a young child – chopping veggies – and loving every minute of it. Later, while attending the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where she played field hockey, Melissa decided to see if, as an adult, she still enjoyed cooking and being involved in the restaurant business.

56 APRIL 2011

She took a job as a café manager and eventually moved on to Louisville’s popular Come Back Inn, where she started out with kitchen prep work and graduated to preparing pizzas and pasta dishes. Melissa soon realized that her love of cooking and playing with food was more than a passing fancy, and so she continued to climb within the food industry and began cooking in a fine dining restaurant. While in school, Melissa met and married Gary Claude, a jazz musician, who became her husband. She had begun to explore culinary schools to fine-tune her naturally-instinctive cooking skills. The idea of moving to San Francisco proved to be a win-win situation for them both. Melissa attended the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute and Gary became a highly sought-after drummer around town. In 2002, Melissa was attending culinary

classes eight hours a day. From knife skills to perfecting sauces to baking and pastries to Asian cuisine, she learned the full scope of culinary arts and the restaurant business. She also worked at Jardanairre, a rustic French/Italian restaurant in San Francisco across from the opera house. While there, she worked her way up from shucking oysters to the role of sous-chef. Soon after graduating from Cordon Bleu, a friend she had made at the institute called to say that he was opening a brewery in Lake Tahoe, Ca. He wanted Melissa to serve as his head chef. With a love for the mountains and a readiness to live in a smaller town, Melissa and Gary both jumped at the chance. While there, Melissa did everything from creating a menu, ordering supplies, equipping the kitchen, training all of the

staff and running the kitchen for the large 10,000 square foot brewery restaurant. “It was a great experience,” she says and one that prepared her for yet another rung on the culinary ladder. At about the same time that her friend decided to sell the brewery – and Melissa and Gary discovered that their first child was on its way – she received even more interesting news. “My dad called to tell me that there was a restaurant for sale in Boone where he, my mom and my sister lived,” she says. “We came to Boone, looked at The Bistro. It was so quaint and just the perfect size for us. We said, ‘We can do this.’” Their son, Booker, was born in April 2010, and they purchased the Bistro in October, which has become a family affair and where everyone pitches in. Her parents helped paint and decorate and they babysit while Gary runs the front of the restaurant; Melissa works her magic in the kitchen. “The menu was already so good,” Melissa says. “I am just adding some things that I’ve learned and slowly making a few changes.” Long-time patrons of The Bistro will be happy to find many of their favorite dishes still on the menu, as well

as some new and exciting flavors. The daily menu consists of eight entrees and eight pasta dishes with new additions including a vegetable risotto, shrimp and grits with red-eye gravy and cheese tortellini. “We pay attention to what the locals are asking for and we are incorporating those ingredients and dishes into the menu,” she says. “It’s also our goal to use local ingredients when we can, like the Pasta Wench ravioli and Morning Fog mushrooms, that you’ll find on our menu.” Melissa loves French and Italian cuisine and takes great pride when preparing it, never bothered by the extra time and attention that it requires. A couple of examples of the complexity of her style include sauces that call for various ingredients and several steps to prepare, like her Veal Demi Caramel Jou, or the brown butter caper sauce with raisins which, she says, “perfectly blends the acidity of the capers with a touch of sweet from the raisins.” Health-conscious diners will find many options on the French/Italian menu, as well, despite the cuisine’s rich and/or creamy reputation. Lots of veggies, clear pasta sauces and

North Carolina trout will be part of this summer’s fare. Daily specials will feature fish entrees with specialty sauces, quinoa with roasted pine nuts and herbs, and buckwheat soba noodles, and so much more. The Bistro still offers local favorite entrees with a new flair – house-made marinara topped with handmade meatballs over fettucine, or the pan seared duck breast drizzled with white truffle honey and ruby port wine reduction. The menu is as eclectic as the town of Boone, itself. As an added treat, Gary’s jazz trio will provide live music on the first and third Sunday of each month. Patio dining, weather permitting, will add the final touch. Make plans to stop in for a visit with the new owners of The Bistro, soon to be renamed Joy Bistro. Its name will speak for itself as it brings a new level of dining to Boone. The Bistro is located at 115 New Market Center in Boone. Hours: 5:30 p.m. ‘til close. Monday Saturday. Closed on Sunday For reservations or more information, call (828) 265-0500.

A Bistro Favorite: WARM BREAD SALAD Serves 4

½ cup Balsamic vinegar 1 ½ cups olive oil Salt and Pepper to taste

You will need: ½ baguette (day-old is best), cubed into crouton size 8 basil leaves, gently torn into bite size pieces 1 pound fresh Spring mix (salad greens) Crescenza cheese or fresh Mozarella Balsamic Vinaigrette (see below) Olive Oil Salt and pepper Blender Large mixing bowl Balsamic Vinaigrette: 1 garlic clove 1 shallot, roughly chopped 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Place garlic, shallot, Dijon, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper in blender. Puree. Slowly add olive oil to emulsify. Taste. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Salad Place Spring Mix and basil in large mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Heat a saute pan on medium-high heat with 3 Tbsp. of olive oil. Once pan is hot, add bread and saute for about 2 minutes.

You want the bread to be a nice, golden brown with a slight crunch to it. You may need to add more olive oil as the bread soaks it up. Season the bread with salt and pepper. Once bread is golden brown, place on paper towels to soak up any excess oil. While bread is still hot, place it in the bowl with spring mix. Add vinaigrette and toss. On each plate, place three small spoon full of crescenza cheese on the outer rim of plate. Place warm bread salad nestled up against cheese. APRIL 2011 57

Parting Shot “Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.” – Ikkyu Sojun

Photo By Rob Moore 58 APRIL 2011

Profile for Mountain Times Publications

All About Women April 2011  

All about the women of the high country.

All About Women April 2011  

All about the women of the high country.

Profile for mtimes