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my hometown

A special publication produced by the Adams Publishing Company & Mountain Times Publications

What’s Inside the 2019-20 edition Welcome from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce................................... 6 Welcome to Boone from Mayor Bennie Brantz................................................ 8 Map of Watauga County................................................................................ 10 Boone at a Glance......................................................................................... 12 Boone: It’s Where You Do Business................................................................ 16 A Pinnacle of Quality Education..................................................................... 22 Appalachain State University: An Economic Engine....................................... 31 Boone Really Is a Home for All Seasons ........................................................ 38 A Destination for Medicine............................................................................ 42 Living Long, Healthy Lives: Watauga Offers Various Services for Seniors....... 48 North Carolina’s Playground: Boone is a Prime Destination for Recreation.... 54 A Mountain of Arts and Entertainment........................................................... 57 Local Leaders Highlighted by Boone Area Chamber...................................... 59 Boone and Watauga Clubs and Organizations............................................... 64 Local Agencies and Important Phone Numbers............................................. 66

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Mountain Times Publications 474 Industrial Park Dr. Boone, NC 28607 Phone: 828-264-6397

ON THE COVER Cover Photo by Lonnie Webster www.lonniewebster.com

Watauga Democrat Blowing Rocket Mountain Times Avery Journal Ashe Post & Times wataugademocrat.com wataugademocrat.com/ mountaintimes

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Boone IS on the map! “The Best Places to Live and Play” – National Geographic Adventure magazine

“100 Best Small Towns in America” – Norman Crampton

“50 Best Small Southern Towns” – Sweitzer and Fields

“10 Best Places to Retire in the U.S.” – U.S. News & World Report

“Four North American Adventure Destinations”

Welcome to Boone

TH E HE A R T O F T HE HI G H CO U N T TRY RY Whether you are a newcomer, visitor, or, local resident, retired person, business ness owner or student, there is something ng for you here in Boone. The High Country offers a quality of life that iss unique to many regions in the State e of North Carolina. Combined with year-long opportunities for outdoorr recreation, our economic viability, technology infrastructure, and diverse rse business community truly make the e Boone area a destination that you can work where you play. Boone: My Hometown will help you u get to know us as a community Pi t d are (f(from bbottom tt tto ttop):) N t li Harkey, H k Member M b Pictured Natalie devoted to our local residents as well Services Manager, Roachel Laney, Boone Area Sports Commission, as serving the needs of our guests. Jeannine Underdown Collins, Membership Coordinator, David The stories in this publication are Jackson, President/CEO, Wysteria White, Director of Public prepared by journalists who have witnessed the growth of our area over Relations; Susan Norris, Chamber Representative generations. Their perspectives will help deliver tales of our everyday treasures in a way that connects to your own perspectives.

– Adventure Sports magazine

We encourage you to visit Boone and enjoy our majestic community. You’ll find streets filled with quaint restaurants, art galleries and retail shops that combine a strong local business spirit with brands that resonate regionally and nationally.

“Best Small Towns – Top 10”

If you need any assistance with your business or family relocation, retirement planning or vacation itinerary, just give us a call—we’re here to make you feel at home in the High Country. If you are a local resident, we thank you for continuing to support business interests that help fuel our community.

– Outside Magazine

“Ranked in Top 10 Tri-Towns” – Triathlete magazine

“10 Great Small Towns with Huge Backyards”

Together we can continue to experience all that makes the Boone area a great place to work and live while extending a warm welcome to the visitors that will help further grow our economy and notoriety. Enjoy!

David Jackson

David Jackson Boone Area Chamber of Commerce

– USA Today

34-page profile in US Airways Magazine



Boone Area Chamber of Commerce www.boonechamber.com

Business/Economic Development www.wataugaedc.org

Boone/Watauga Tourism www.exploreboonearea.com

Blue Ridge Parkway www.blueridgeparkway.org

Boone My Hometown www.wataugademocrat.com

High Country Living www.highcountrylivingnc.com

High Country Host www.highcountryhost.com

News and Events www.highcountrync.com

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WELCOME TO BOONE From Mayor Rennie Brantz


hen Boone was chartered as a town in 1875, there were 850 residents. Today we have over 19,000 citizens. The founders named our town after frontier explorer Daniel Boone who camped in this area in the 1760s. Much has changed since those early days, but we still revere Brantz our past as we embrace the future. My wife, Lana, and I have experienced some of Boone’s most sweeping changes since moving here in 1973. Our downtown is more vibrant and attractive, with first-rate restaurants, interesting shops and notable historic sites such as our Jones House Community Center and historic post office. In the evenings, you can now find varied musical entertainment, ranging from “old-time” mountain music at the Jones House on Thursday evenings to jazz and other musical styles at numerous downtown venues. Many visitors pause for a moment downtown to admire the recently dedicated Doc Watson sculpture honoring one of our musical legends. Our historic Appalachian Theatre will open in October 2019 with a wide range of concerts, movies and plays. Elsewhere in Boone you will find many citizens visiting the farmers’ market on Saturdays during the summer and fall. For five weeks in the summer, Boone’s Southern Appalachian Historical Association presents “Horn in the West,” the second-oldest outdoor historical

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drama in the U.S. And throughout the year, there are downtown celebrations from Christmas parades to our Halloween “Boo.” Appalachian State University has grown significantly in the last 45 years, adding enormously to our community with its wide range of cultural, intellectual and sporting events. The 19,000-plus students add energy, enthusiasm, new ideas and considerable public service in our community. As a retired professor of history at Appalachian, I am proud of what Appalachian’s students, faculty and staff have contributed to our community. Our outstanding schools, efficient municipal government and beautiful greenways and parks also contribute to the unique charm of Boone. In addition, visitors and residents can take advantage of the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens and the Tweetsie Railroad theme park. Boone is a very special place, whether you are hiking or rafting in the summer, skiing in the winter or enjoying our small town culture and atmosphere. And while here, you can always count on help from friendly people in Boone if you get lost or can’t find your destination. Information is also available from the professional staff at the Town Hall at 567 West King St. or the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 870 West King St., Suite A. I hope you enjoy your stay in “Boone My Hometown” and plan to visit us many times in the future. Rennie Brantz Mayor of Boone

EDITOR Anna Oakes CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Anna Oakes, Kayla Lasure, Thomas Sherrill, Leslie Eason, Steve Behr, Abby Whitt, Jenna Lackey, Rennie Brantz and Boone Area Chamber of Commerce UNIVERSAL DESK MANAGER Johnny Hayes LAYOUT & DESIGN Jason D. Balduf ADVERTISING MANAGERS Charlie Price & Manuel Zepeda ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES Mark Mitchell, Nathan Godwin, Tim Walker, Ron Brown, Teresa Laws and Henry Volk CIRCULATION MANAGER Andy Gainey CREATIVE SERVICES Meleah Bryan 474 Industrial Park Dr. Boone, NC 28607 Phone: 828-264-6397

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Map of Watauga SOURCE: WATAUGA COUNTY GIS This map of Watauga County shows major highways, the town of Boone city limits and other communities and townships within the area.

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PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE The Downtown Boone Development Association unveiled a new mural with the downtown Boone logo, in 2019.

Boone at a Glance



t’s small-town living in a safe, tightknit community. It’s the county seat of Watauga County and the High Country’s regional economic center. It’s the home of Appalachian State University. It’s a nationally recognized outdoor recreation destination, and on top of that, it’s the headquarters for top-notch education and health care systems. All of these reasons and more make Boone the best place to live! SEE BOONE ON PAGE 14

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PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES These horses pull a wagon during the St. Patrick’s Day parade with the historic downtown Boone Post Office in the background.

BY THE NUMBERS: Boone and Watauga County

The following information is compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Watauga County and the N.C. Department of Commerce.


• Population, 2018 estimate: Boone, 19,562; Watauga County, 55,945 • Percent population estimate change from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2017: Boone, 14.2 percent; Watauga County, 9.6 percent


• Land area in square miles, 2010: Boone: 6.13; Watauga County, 312.56 • Persons per square mile, 2010: Boone, 2,792.7; Watauga, 163.4


• Average maximum temperature, July (1981-2010): 78.9 °F • Average minimum temperature, January (1981-2010): 20.7 °F • Normal annual precipitation (1981-2010): 52.66 inches • Normal annual snowfall (1981-2010): 35.3 inches


• Percent of persons 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher, 2017: Boone, 88.3 percent; Watauga, 88.6 percent • Percent of persons 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 2017: Boone, 50.7 percent; Watauga, 41.7 percent

Income (Watauga County)

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Jaren Stines, Marsha Owens, Shannon Isaacs and Cohen Isaacs walk together in the downtown Boone July 4 parade.

• Median household income, 2017: $41,541 • Percent of persons below poverty level: 20.5 percent‌ ‌A 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that the presence of off-campus college students can skew a community’s poverty rates higher


• Property tax rate (per $100 valuation): Boone, $0.41; Watauga, $0.403 • Unemployment rate, Watauga County, August 2019: 4 percent • Average travel time to work, 2016: Boone, 13.3 minutes; Watauga, 20 minutes

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PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE A group celebrates finishing the Jimmy Smith Maranon on Sept. 27. Photographed are: Jana Cochran, Justin Cochran, Rylan Cochran, Amy Thornburg, Emma Thornburg, Ardyn Thornburg, Jami Johnson, Jason Johnson and Jax Johnson.


The town of Boone was incorporated in 1872, acquiring its name from the famous pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, who hunted and camped in the area. Boone has the highest elevation (3,300 feet) of any town of its size (greater than 10,000 population) east of the Mississippi River. The altitude contributes to mild summer weather — an escape from the heat and humidity of the greater South — and snowfalls create winter wonderlands. Travelers access Boone via U.S. 421, U.S. 321 and U.S. 221, which provide access to Interstates 40, 77, 85, 81 and 26. The Blue Ridge Parkway — a scenic mountain road and national park that traverses 469 miles in North Carolina and Virginia — also passes through the county. Multiple neighborhoods are within walking distance of downtown Boone, which offers a vibrant mix of college town culture, 14 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

mountain heritage and arts, as well as commerce, with diverse businesses, restaurants, shops and boutiques. One of the town’s greatest amenities is the AppalCART transit service, which provides free transportation around town, with additional routes in the county available for a small fee. Appalachian State University — one of the largest universities in the public University of North Carolina system — provides amenities and economic benefits comparable to those in a much larger city. And the town is actively supportive of the local agricultural sector, with farmers markets and retailers that provide yearround access to locally grown and raised produce and products. According to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Watauga County and Boone have much lower crime rates than other areas in North Carolina. Watauga County’s 2017 index crime rate of 1,510.7 per 100,000 people is significantly lower than the state average rate of 3,061.5 per 100,000, as is the violent crime rate — 98.5 per 100,000 in Watauga compared to the state average of 383.7 per 100,000.

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Boone: It’s Where You Do Business Companies Big and Small Benefit from Quality of Life Factors



ith a growing business sector, strong education, a local health care system and focus on recreation, Boone has become a hub for economic development in the region. David Jackson, president and CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, says that quality of life continues to be one of the top attractions to the region for business leaders. “We have an excellent public school system, relatively low crime, and opportunities for outdoor engagement really exist 365 days a year,” Jackson said. “People can work and play in the same environment.” Some of the top employers in the area include Appalachian State University, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, international charity relief nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse and Hospitality Mints. However, Boone also enjoys a thriving small business sector. “In economies like ours, 85 percent of businesses have 10 or less employees,” Jackson said. Along with the Watauga SEE BUSINESS ON PAGE 18

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PHOTOS BY THOMAS SHERRILL The boutique Horton Hotel, which opened in January, is the first downtown Boone hotel in many years.

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Economic Development Commission, the Boone Area Chamber works to not only bring in new business, but to retain what is already here. “There’s a lot of talk a lot of expanding businesses, but for those going through a rocky time, we try to make sure they can keep the lights on,” Jackson said. “Part of what makes Boone what it is is getting something here and to make sure you can keep it going.” Business growth can be measured in traffic cones, as new developments in downtown Boone and beyond bring quality of life improvements. Appalachian State University is currently working on more than $200 million worth of building projects. ARHS has unveiled plans for new development in the town’s Wellness District that will cost in excess of $90 million. Watauga County is currently constructing a $38 million plus recreation center in Boone. Education is a key component of a healthy business environment. For the local workforce, Boone is a place where children can now enjoy quality education from preschool all the way through post-secondary graduation. “The Children’s Council has sought to help early childhood development strategies,” Jackson said. “It’s really important for developing families as they gear up for kindergarten. This is a place you can embrace education from zero to college graduate. Those are very important factors that are here now.” Watauga County Schools has eight K-8 schools, including Hardin Park School in Boone itself. The system 18 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

Booneshine Brewery, located at 458 Industrial Park Drive, opened its tasting room and porch in July after previously moving its brewing operations in 2018.

The Watauga County Recreation Center, pictured here in spring 2019, will add another quality of life feature to residents of the Boone area.

has one high school, Watauga High School, located in Boone that serves students in grades 9-12. Overall, Watauga County Schools has around 700 employees and an annual budget surpassing $50 million. In the future, Watauga

County Schools is working to replace its aging infrastructure, notably Hardin Park School and Valle Crucis School. Appalachian State University, a regional institution situated in the heart of Boone, has 19,280 students as of fall

2019. A part of the University of North Carolina system, ASU students attend classes in one of 30 academic buildings across the 375 developed acres of campus in classes that have a 16:1 student-to-teacher ratio. SEE BUSINESS ON PAGE 20

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As the permanent population of Boone ages, health care is becoming a bigger factor in quality of life decisions, something that ARHS is seeking to plan for. “If public schools are 1A in terms of importance for people relocating here, 1B is access to health care,” Jackson said. Making Boone a destination for medicine will only increase the quality of life in the area, which includes expanded offerings for elderly care. ARHS is planning a full range of health care offerings for retirement-age patients at its post-acute Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge complex in Blowing Rock alongside Liberty Healthcare, which is planning a retirement center in the future. Recreation opportunities are something Boone has always been known for, and a noticeable asset for new business owners and relocating employees. “It’s a resource we have here in abundance,” Jackson said. “We need to stake our claim as somewhere that people can play 365 days a year.” Jackson said that the town of Boone is business friendly and can point a developer in the right direction to make a building compliant during a use change, such as the new Howard Station restaurant downtown. Business capital can also be found locally, Jackson said, as bank financing as well as non-traditional models of funding, such as the local High Country Impact Fund, help new businesses get off the ground. In addition, Mountain Biz Works SEE BUSINESS ON PAGE 21

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PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL The newly-opened Hobby Lobby is pictured Boone on Dec. 31, 2018.


and Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute are training the local workforce to provide employers with more experiences and situationally-ready customer service managers and representatives. While Boone and ASU continue to grow, Jackson understands the importance of keeping the same charm that drew people in the first place. “As we’re talking about growth and enhancing what we have here, we’re not mortgaging away the character of our community,” Jackson said. “People see this as great small town atmosphere. We must continue to stay committed to make sure we’re having the right conversations and promote growth in the safest way possible.” All of the re-investment in the community is something that is attractive to potential employers. “We’ve heard from businesses for decades that they’ll invest in a community that invests in itself,” Jackson said. Boone has the keys to keep itself flourishing through the growing pains, including the people ready to act on new situations and new ideas, such as education, health care, infrastructure, business and much more.

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A Pinnacle of Quality Education BY KAYLA LASURE


or families moving to the Watauga County area, knowing what educational opportunities are available can be an important factor. Watauga County offers options for early childhood, public/private and higher education. Families are able to weigh their options and determine what is best for their students.


PHOTO SUBMITTED Marlee Reed, a first-grader at Grace Academy, enjoys a class field trip to the Catawba Science Center. PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Watauga High School Principal Chris Blanton hands Laken Blankenship her high school diploma during the June 2019 graduation ceremony. 22 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

The Watauga County Children’s Council is a local nonprofit with several programs and services that work to build a strong foundation for children’s learning and development. The Children’s Council offers family support, early literacy programs, child care technical assistance and professional development as well as community outreach. Earlier in 2019, the Children’s Council launched a local accreditation program for child care centers that want to increase the quality of their programs and are willing to increase the education requirements and the compensation for their lead teachers. The program offers professional development, technical assistance, financial incentives and high quality trainings to child care centers. Two early childhood education programs that the Children’s Council oversees are the NC Pre-K program as well as its bilingual preschool. The NC Pre-K program is for 4-year-old children and can be provided in classrooms in the public schools, licensed child care centers or Head Start programs. Students enrolled in NC Pre-K typically attend a full school day — about six and a half hours — for a full school year. NC Pre-K is offered in seven of the eight elementary schools in the Watauga County Schools system. The school without an NC Pre-K program is Mabel, but Watauga County Schools officials are looking into bringing the program there as well. According to the Children’s Council, placement SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 24


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is not guaranteed in an NC Pre-K classroom as a waiting list typically exists. For more information on the Watauga NC Pre-K program, visit www.thechildrenscouncil.org/nc-prekindergarten. html. The Children’s Council also offers a bilingual preschool called Diverse Unified Appropriate Learning School — or DUAL School. The classroom serves 3- to 4-yearolds and has both students who speak English and those who speak Spanish. DUAL School meets Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuition for the program is based on a sliding scale. To learn more about the DUAL school, visit www.thechildrenscouncil. org/dual-school.html.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS Watauga County Schools is home to more than 4,600 students in the system’s 10 schools. The district is made up of SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 25

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PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Students from Mabel Elementary School work with plants in raised beds at Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living in May 2019. Photographed are: Dillon Zaragoza (sixth grade), Morgan Lewis (sixth grade), Addison Totherrow (sixth grade), Erilyn Robinson (sixth grade), Ryder Sullivan (sixth grade), Katherine Ward (seventh grade), Natalie Hill (seventh grade), Lillie Potter (eighth grade), Riley Underwood (eighth grade), Owen Calhoun (eighth grade), Shane Courtney (eighth grade) and Haley Lemons (seventh grade).


eight schools serving students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade — Hardin Park, Green Valley, Parkway, Valle Crucis, Cove Creek, Mabel, Blowing Rock and Bethel schools. The area also has one high school and the Watauga Innovation Academy — a cooperative high school that allows students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Program areas offered at WIA include automotive technology, cosmetology, mechanical engineering technology in drafting, mechanical engineering technology in welding and medical office assisting. WCS is consistently ranked among the best public school systems in the state of North Carolina. Last year, each of Watauga County’s Schools met or exceeded growth standards set by the state of North Carolina. WCS also ranks as a top academic contender statewide, scoring in the top five for end-of-grade testing and netting the top spot region-wide in six testing categories. Last year, the system achieved the fourth-best composite ACT scores in North Carolina and

the second-best SAT scores in the state. The public school system is home to two North Carolina Green Schools of Excellence, Watauga High School and Cove Creek School. The designation recognizes schools that show the highest level of commitment to a sustainable campus and environmental education curriculum. Students in WCS have access to arts, music and outdoor education programs. Elementary and middle school students have physical education classes everyday and a variety of exploratory options from programming to robotics. Watauga County Schools charges no admission for out-of-county enrollees, and is open to homeschool students for dual enrollment at Watauga High School. Homeschool students can earn high school and college credit by attending classes at WHS, or virtually through the North Carolina Virtual Public School. For more information about WCS, call (828) 264-7190 or visit www.wataugaschools.org.

CHARTER SCHOOLS Boone offers one tuition-free public charter school for grades K-8. Two Rivers Commu-

nity School serves about 160 students with about one class per grade and has 23 staff members, according to Director Natalie Oransky. Oransky said the school operates on a mission of educating all students regardless of learning differences. The school focuses on meeting students where they are in their educational journey — whether students are more advanced or may be behind — and help them work on their own goals. This ensures that students stay challenged but not to the point of frustration, Oransky said. What sets Two Rivers apart from other institutions is its dedication to hands-on learning and relationship building, Oransky said. Classes will hold what’s called learning expeditions — similar to a unit of study but it delves deeper into topics, she said. At the end of an expedition students participate in what’s called a “celebration of learning” when they conduct presentations or classmates and family members. Oransky added that Two Rivers focuses on building respectful relationships between staff and students as well as between the students themselves. SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 27

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Two Rivers was founded in 2005, and was recognized as an Honor School of Excellence by the state of North Carolina for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years as well as recognized as a NC Green School of Quality in 2015-16. The school can serve any student who is a North Carolina resident, but primarily draws in students from Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Wilkes and Caldwell counties. The window for enrollment opens in March and April when the school offers open houses. If classes are full toward the end of April, the school will host a lottery to see which students can be accepted for the school year. Oransky said the school takes in new students during the year as long as there is space. For more information on Two Rivers, visit trcsboone.org.

MONTESSORI SCHOOLS According to the American Montessori Society, the Montessori Method fosters rigorous, self-motivated growth for children and adolescents in the cognitive, emotional, social and physical areas of their development. This type of education is often student-led and self-paced but guided, assessed and enriched by teachers, peers and a nurturing environment. Mary’s Montessori School and Mountain Pathways are two Montessori schools offered in Boone. Mary’s Montessori School was established in 2002 by Mary Willis. It currently includes a half-day school that meets five days a week with a curriculum that focuses on sensorial topics, practical life tasks, self care, math, language, art and science. The school takes in students who are ages 2 and a half to 6 years old. Those interested in Mary’s School are asked to contact the school, schedule a parent visit, arrange a child visit, plan a parent conference, fill out an application and then be placed on a waiting list. For more information on Mary’s Montessori School, visit www.marysmontessori.com. Mountain Pathways School was founded in 1987 by a group of parents and educators. It offers programs for pre-primary students (18 months old to 3 years), primary (3-6 years old), elementary (6-12 years old), and middle school (12-14 years old). The values of the school include creating a safe place to explore and SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 28

828-265-1344 Boone My Hometown 2019-20 | 27


express individuality; encouraging each individual to be internally motivated and to be confident decision makers; allowing individuals to their own beliefs and recognizing one’s own effect on the community; acknowledging the uniqueness of each individual; seeking the positive in all situations and enjoying the process; providing opportunities for self-reliance while encouraging and expecting individuals to support each other in building a stronger community; and valuing empathizing with others’ needs and situations. The school offers an experiential learning environment where children can learn in a hands-on manner. The school states that children often work together on projects, and that the school’s low student-teacher ratio promotes individualized instruction. To enroll a student at Mountain Pathways, school officials ask that an appointment be made to schedule an observation of the classroom. Next families need to fill out an online application and set up an interview with the student’s potential teacher. Mountain Pathways teachers and administration then meet to discuss the potential acceptance. For more information on Mountain Pathways, visit mountain-pathways.org.

CHRISTIAN SCHOOL In its 12th year, Grace Academy is a Christian classical school that is based on the campus of the Boone United Methodist Church. The school currently serves about 115 students with 18 faculty and staff members, according to Headmaster Roy Andrews. Being a Christian, classical and collaborative school are the three principles that make Grace Academy different than other places of learning. Andrews explained that instruction of subject matter — such as language arts, history and science — are looked at through a Biblical world view. The academy does not claim a particular denomination, and its student body is made up of about 26 different church affiliations, Andrews said. The school also operates on a classical model, where teachers teach subjects such as Latin and consider the development of a child in three stages. The first is the grammar stage (for grades K-5), and it is devoted to the learning of fundamental facts and rules of each subject. The second is the dialectic stage (grades 6-8), which teaches students how to 28 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Ninth-graders Kayla Edmisten and Aila Givins participate in the homeschool dual enrollment program at Watauga High School.

analyze, reason, question, evaluate and critique. The third is the rhetoric stage (grades 9-12) which gets into more debate, speech and essay writing. Grace Academy currently does not serve the rhetoric stage grades, but is looking to expand into this stage in the future, Andrews said. Viewing parents as co-educators, Grace Academy takes a collaborative approach to student learning. Students meet with teachers on Monday and Wednesday to go over curriculum and do school work either at the school or at home on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Andrews said students can enroll at Grace Academy during the year, but the main enrollment period is in January and February. More information on Grace Academy can be found at www.graceacademyboone.com.

HOMESCHOOL Wildwood ALC (Agile Learning Community) is a nonprofit for registered homeschoolers that was created by two school psychologists and a passionate group of families who are committed to self-directed education. Wildwood ALC serves ages 7-16 and allows young people to be leaders of their learning and to be prepared for an ever-changing world. Facilitators partner with students to provide support, mentorship and resources along the way. “Research indicates that people learn best when they are self-motivated and free to pursue their interests,” according to Wildwood ALC organizers. “Rather than being curriculum-driven, Wildwood’s learner-driv-

en approach creates conditions that allow curiosity, playfulness and other natural ways of learning to flourish.” The nonprofit stated that everyone is both a teacher and a learner at Wildwood ALC regardless of age. Wildwood starts each morning with a meeting where kids are able to propose “offerings” to the group — these are classes, experiences or workshops coordinated by children or adults. Children then break into small “intention setting” groups to share their intentions and plans for the day, and then gather again at the end of the day to reflect on the experiences. “It’s a place where young people practice leadership and develop self-awareness, a sense of purpose and crucial communication skills,” according to Wildwood ALC organizers. “They are directly involved in decision-making and creating a culture of respect, consent and compassion.” Students at Wildwood ALC meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursday from September through May. Wildwood is an optional experience for homeschooling families and is not a school responsible for any educational testing or curriculum. Visit www.wildwoodalc.org to learn more as well as apply to enroll or volunteer. Also serving homeschooling families is Kinderwood/Imagine Bilingual — a half-day school program serving children ages 4 and a half to 12 years old. The program is designed to support eager learners, encourage independence and nurture the whole child. The SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 30

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program values outdoor education, individuality, respect, creativity and acceptance. Children at Kinderwood/Imagine Bilingual learn through group lessons, independent work and imaginative play. Children are able to learn at their own pace with the guidance of the teacher, according to the organization. “We strive to provide a unique learning experience in the community and an atmosphere where children can succeed academically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and personally,” according to Kinderwood/ Imagine Bilingual. The program meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information about Kinderwood/Imagine Bilingual, visit www.imaginebilingual.com. Offering support to those in the homeschooling community is the High Country Christian Home Schoolers. According to HCCHS, it endeavors to weave a tapestry of support that covers the needs of both the beginning and the veteran homeschooling family. “Once a family makes the important

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decision to homeschool, HCCHS believes it is the group’s privilege to encourage the family to continue, mature and succeed in their journey,” stated HCCHS. The group aims to create lasting relationships and long-term commitment to Christian home education in the lives of its member families. It does so through support group meetings, fellowship opportunities and field trips. The organization offers “Thoughtful Thursdays” classes, art, cooking, robotics, history, literature, choir and other activities. HCCHS stated that several other groups that offer classes for high school level students in subjects like physics, calculus, history, engineering and other areas. HCCHS serves about 80 families in the High Country, and stated it “would love to connect with anyone seeking more information on getting started.” Interested families can learn more at www.hcchs.com.

HIGHER EDUCATION Two higher education opportunities are offered in Boone — the Watauga campus of the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and Appalachian State University. CCC&TI’s central location is in Hudson. The community college started offering

educational opportunities in Watauga in 1973 and opened the current Watauga Campus in 1998. The community college offers adult education courses such as high school equivalency testing, family literacy or English language acquisition. CCC&TI also offers 30 degree, 15 diploma and 29 certificate program opportunities including accounting/finance, business administration, culinary arts, early childhood education, emergency medical responder, information technology and nursing. Some classes can be offered online. A complete list of programs offered at CCC&TI can be found at www.cccti.edu. Appalachian State University was founded in 1899 and is one of 17 campuses within the University of North Carolina system. Approximately 19,280 students — including both undergraduate and graduate — enrolled at App State for the 2019-20 school year. App State offers 150 bachelor’s degrees and 70 graduate programs. The campus includes approximately 30 academic buildings, a 210,000-square-foot library, 20 residence halls, three main dining facilities and 11 recreational and athletic facilities. For more information about App State, visit www.appstate.edu.

IMAGE COURTESY APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY This is an aerial view rendering of Kidd Brewer Stadium with the planned north end zone facility.

Appalachian State University An Economic Engine



ppalachian State University — among the largest in the University of North Carolina system in terms of enrollment — provides both economic and cultural benefits to area residents.

SMALL CLASSES, BIG IMPACT Founded in 1899 as the Watauga Academy and later becoming the Appalachian State Teachers College, today, Appalachian State is one of the University of North Carolina system’s largest campuses, with a fall 2019 enrollment of 19,280. Its annual costs are $15,124 for in-state students, which includes tuition, fees, room and board and most textbooks. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, while the average class size is 27. The institution is divided into seven undergraduate colleges and a graduate school, offering more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. ASU regularly places high in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings.

More than 130,000 Mountaineer alumni currently reside in all 50 states and several foreign countries.

AN ECONOMIC ENGINE ASU is the largest employer in Watauga County, with 1,427 full- and part-time faculty and 1,812 fulland part-time staff in 2018. The campus is an economic engine for the county, region and the state. An analysis by Economic Modeling Specialists International concluded that in fiscal year 2012-13, the $355.3 million in payroll and operations spending of ASU, together with its construction spending and the spending of its students, visitors and alumni, created $1.7 billion in added state income. “This is equal to approximately 0.4 percent of the total gross state product of North Carolina and is equivalent to creating 28,035 new jobs,” the analysis stated.


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LIFELONG LEARNING, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT A university offers many advantages to those living in the surrounding community, including lectures, classes, readings, forums and other educational events that are open to the public — and often free. These include the University Forum Lecture Series, Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series and numerous timely and informative events organized by faculty and students throughout the year. The university also offers multiple arts and entertainment opportunities, including exhibition programs and workshops in the visual arts; a performing arts series featuring world-renowned visiting artists; theatre productions, concerts and recitals by Appalachian’s highly acclaimed Hayes School of Music and Department of Theatre & Dance; programs supporting student authors of poetry, fiction, plays and creative nonfiction; presentations and workshops by renowned authors; a popular craft enrichment series offering workshops for all ages; a nationally recognized summer arts festival; and a student-run programming series featuring an eclectic mix of artists and entertainment. The 210,000-square-foot Belk Library and Information Commons is open to regional residents and visitors with public access computers and library cards available. Many programs at ASU focus on community outreach, including support for families of children with special needs, arts education, swim and lifeguard classes, support for ASU employees and alumni in starting a business, the Communication Disorders Clinic, fitness testing, summer camps for children, trail upkeep and maintenance, public viewing nights at the Dark Sky Observatory and after-school programs. In addition, area nonprofits and service-focused businesses benefit from countless volunteer hours contributed by ASU students, faculty and staff. Sports lovers will appreciate Appalachian State’s athletics programs, with 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports. They include the Mountaineer football team, which won three consecutive national championships from 2005-2007 and since 2014 has competed in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, going 4-0 in bowl games. App State is recognized around the country for its game day atmosphere and scenic Kidd Brewer 36 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES A sprawling field of construction activity is viewable in August 2019 from the top level of Appalachian State’s new four-story parking deck near Kidd Brewer Stadium.

Stadium. For more information about events at App State, visit today.appstate.edu/events.

A GROWING CAMPUS Appalachian State provides a beautiful setting in which to study, work and visit. Its campus is nestled among the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the prominent Howard’s Knob overlooking campus and downtown Boone. Campus members can often be spotted relaxing and recreating in Appalachian’s Durham Park, on open lawns and in hammocks between shade trees. The campus encompasses 1,200 acres, with 375 acres developed, as well as 30 academic buildings, 20 residence halls, three dining facilities and 11 recreational and athletics facilities. Appalachian State is expanding its footprint with recent expansions to the old Watauga High School campus on N.C. 105 and the recently completed Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences in Boone’s medical district. And it is revitalizing its main campus as well: a new student housing replacement project is under way, with four residential buildings to be constructed; Kidd Brewer Stadium is expanding with a new north end zone facility; a new parking deck has opened in the Stadium Lot; and a biology conservatory is slated to be the first facility in Appalachian’s new Innovation Campus atop


Appalachian State University

The following information is provided by Appalachian State University. For more information, visit appstate.edu/about.

Enrollment & Alumni

• Total: 19,280 • Undergraduate: 17,518 • Graduate: 1,762 • In-state students: 17,653 • Out-of-state students: 1,627 • Living alumni: 130,000

Buildings & Campus

• 1,200 acres, with 375 developed • 30 academic buildings • 20 residence halls, housing about 5,600 students on campus • 3 main dining facilities • 11 recreational and athletic facilities


• Student/faculty ratio: 16 to 1 • Average class size: 27 • Colleges: 6 undergraduate colleges, 1 music school and 1 graduate school • Undergraduate and graduate majors: more than 150


• Varsity sports: 20 • Club sports: more than 20 • Intramural sports: more than 80


Undergraduate costs, 2019-20 academic year (includes tuition and fees for 12+ credit hours, standard option meal plan, standard room and board, and most textbooks): • $15,124 in state • $29,931 out of state Bodenheimer Drive. For more information about Appalachian State, visit appstate.edu.

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PHOTO COURTESY LESLIE EASON In the Boone area, You can find everything from starter homes to large mountain homes and from farmhouses with acreage to condos for students at App State.

Boone Really Is a Home for All Seasons



he Boone area offers as broad a variety of home styles as the variety of weather in our four seasons. You can find everything from starter homes to large mountain homes and from farmhouses with acreage to condos for students at App State. What is NOT common in this area are large subdivisions with “cookie cutter” homes. While the High Country has a large percentage of second homes, Boone has more primary homes than many of our towns because it is the business center of the High Country and home to Appalachian State University. In 2019 we have seen more families moving to

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the area as full-time residents. It is a great testament to our area that many Appalachian State alumni return to this area Leslie Eason to purchase their vacation home or retirement property. GEOGRAPHY: Boone is the largest town in the High Country of NC. In fact, the High Country is often referred to as the Boone area. Boone is located in the center of Watauga County and is bordered by Blowing Rock on the south, Banner Elk on the west, Deep SEE HOUSING ON PAGE 39

APARTMENTS AND RENTAL PROPERTIES The rental market in Boone is dominated by student rental apartments and condos and generally follows the period of Aug. 1 through July 31. There is not a very strong selection of rental homes for families, although they can be found. Most rental properties are available through property management companies. There are several new student-oriented apartment projects coming online in the 2019-2020 school year. The best bet for anyone looking for a rental property is to use these three sources: 1. Search “Long-term rentals near Boone” on your Internet browser. All of the property management companies will appear in the search. 2. Look in the classifieds section of the local papers, which are also available online. The largest classifieds section is in The Mountain Times and Watauga Democrat, and there are an increasing number of resources on Facebook. 3. Look on Craigslist Boone: https://boone. craigslist.org/. Even the rental companies post their listings there. Just be aware that there are many scammers on Craigslist. If it looks too good to be true, it likely is. Never send a deposit to someone without seeing the property inside in person.


Gap on the east, Vilas, and Sugar Grove to the north and west and Todd and Zionville due north. If you are performing searches for real estate online, it is helpful to know the names of these towns and that they are part of this area. Within Boone, there is the downtown area near the university, neighborhoods past the hospital and golf course and headed east along Bamboo Road, several neighborhoods along Highway 105 South in an area called Foscoe, north past New Market Center on Highway 194 toward Todd, and south along 321 toward Blowing Rock. REAL ESTATE IS VERY STRONG: Watauga County is seeing strong growth overall. Residential real estate sales volume of single-family homes and condos is up 15 percent through September versus the same time last year. Sales unit growth is up 4.6 percent with 904 homes sold in the county. See the graphic with this article. The big change we are seeing in Boone itself is a tightening of inventory with 9.1 percent fewer new listings so far this year than we saw last year. This has resulted in a slight decrease (-.6 percent) in sales dollar volume in Boone with 9.5 percent fewer homes sold. This is primarily the result of having a much lower student condo inventory. Inventory is particularly tight with lower priced homes (less than $250,000) and condos for ASU students. In fact, condo sales in Boone are down by 28.3 percent versus last year due to 24.4 percent lower inventory. TIME ON MARKET: Due to tighter inventory, homes in Boone are selling at a record pace, with median time on market at 72 days and average time of 132 days on market. This includes the time while under contract. This means that good properties are going faster, and we are seeing more multiple offers in 2019. Buyers are finding that they need to start working with a real estate agent earlier in the purchase process and act quickly when listings hit the market. Additionally, it is crucial that buyers have already begun the loan pre-approval process before looking at homes, as sellers expect to see pre-approvals with offers. PRICING: Prices are increasing at solid and sustainable rates. The median sales price for a single-family home or condo in Boone SEE HOUSING ON PAGE 40

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is $284,950, up 5.5 percent from 2018. Average home price is up by 9.5 percent to $343,319. Blowing Rock has the highest prices in the area, followed by Boone and Valle Crucis. If you are looking for lower prices or a little more inventory, you can explore the other small towns and areas in Watauga County, or in neighboring Ashe and Avery counties. TIMES OF YEAR TO LOOK FOR HOME: Traditionally the “season” for Boone real estate sales has been May through October. However, in recent years sales have begun to even out across the entire year. Right now in early October we are seeing a rush of new listings hitting the market. While there are more homes on the market in the summer, in fall and winter sellers are taking price reductions and there has traditionally been good inventory throughout the year. FINDING HOMES: Visitors to Boone often wonder where to find the homes they see online and in magazines. A large portion of the homes in Boone are tucked away in small subdivisions and neighborhoods. With the mountain terrain and numerous back roads it is difficult to really know where to find many of these homes. If you are interested in purchasing a home and want to get a feel for these neighborhoods, your best bet is to contact a local Realtor to represent you as your buyers agent. The seller pays the Realtor’s commission, so there is no cost to you. Leslie Eason is a Realtor with Keller Williams High Country Realty in Boone and is the leader of the Leslie Eason Real Estate Team.

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PHOTO COURTESY ARHS Anne-Corinne Beaver, a surgeon at Watauga Medical Center and the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center in Boone, shows off the Paxman Scalp Cooling System. The system is a recent innovation that works to let chemotherapy patients keep their hair.

A Destination For Medicine BY THOMAS SHERRILL


ith a regional health care system, several community clinics, urgent health and pet health options, Boone is a place where locals can receive a growing number of treatments in their time of need without having to travel off the mountain. “It’s incredibly important that (Appalachian Regional Healthcare System) is locally controlled and keep a hometown feel,” said David Jackson, president and CEO of the Boone Chamber of Commerce. “There aren’t many locally owned hospital systems out there anymore, and they’re making SEE MEDICINE ON PAGE 44

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PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL The Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences is home to the Beaver College of Health Sciences at 1179 State Farm Road, in the Boone medical district.


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decisions based on need.” ARHS is headquartered in Boone, with over 20 different types of medical services, including cardiology, behavioral, surgery and cancer. The system also offers 11 centers of health in Boone alone plus facilities in Blowing Rock, Avery County and Ashe County. The focus is reflected in the semi-annual County Health Rankings, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which shows that Boone and Watauga are one of the top rural counties to live in North Carolina. In the 2019 report, Watauga County ranked 10th out of 100 N.C. counties in health outcomes (length and quality of life) and 17th in health factors (health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment). Located in heart of the growing Boone Wellness District is Watauga Medical Center, a 117bed regional referral medical complex, offering both primary and secondary acute and specialty care open 24 hours. The hospital is the centerpiece of ARHS. Going forward, ARHS has plans to offer more services, specifically for an aging population. In August, ARHS announced it would be moving forward with a $90 million plan that includes current facility upgrades at Watauga Medical Center and new infrastructure. “Look at Boone’s needs in the next 20 years,” Jackson said. “I like (ARHS’s) strategic vision, thinking forward to what baby boomers will need going forward.” SEE MEDICINE ON PAGE 46

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ARHS President Chuck Mantooth said the plans are to invest in the areas of care for heart disease and cancer, plus a new bed tower adjacent to the emergency department, surgery suites, a new cardiovascular center and a new central energy plant. Mantooth said the future cardiology clinic will triple the space and consolidate all of the cardiovascular services such as testing, intervention efforts and rehab amenities. Beyond the $90 million plan, Rob Hudspeth, ARHS senior vice president for system advancement, said that additional work would include a continuity clinic, new space for orthopedics and sports medicine and the relocation of Appalachian Regional Internal Medicine Specialists. The continuity clinic would include a new family medicine primary care residency program that is set to launch in July 2020. The residency program would be run in partnership with the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, with four to six residents brought in each year. Part of these projects would occur on the current site of the Watauga Medical Center, but others would extend onto the 15.968 acres at the corner of Deerfield Road and U.S. 321 that ARHS purchased in 2016. The tract of land — formerly known as the Henson property — was bought for the purpose of future ARHS facilities expansion. The Henson Property is also planned for the future development of the Middle Fork Greenway, a pedestrian path between Boone and Blowing Rock that is in development, with two sections slated to be constructed in 2020. Just north of Blowing Rock, a short drive from Boone, the 112-bed outpatient Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge is available to patients who aren’t ready to go home yet. The facility replaced the Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care Center (formerly Blowing Rock Hospital) in 2017. Changes have come to the Foley Center, as the building and land it sits on was sold in late September to Liberty Healthcare of Wilmington. Liberty and ARHS signed an agreement in February that outlined plans for the development of the Chestnut Ridge land that the Foley Center sits on, which could include a future retirement center 46 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

PHOTO COURTESY ARHS Matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation (MACI), is performed in early 2019 by Benjamin Parker at Watauga Medical Center.

and a full continuum of care for elderly patients. “The future of health care delivery, particularly in rural areas, will be about leveraging partnerships,” Mantooth said. “Over the last year, as we worked with Liberty to plan the development of a senior living campus at Chestnut Ridge it became clear that the skilled nursing and assisted living services should be integrated within their care continuum. Liberty can now take the next steps forward to evaluate the nature of and develop the retirement community that we have been working toward for the last 10 years.” The Foley Center currently includes the Harriet and Charles Davant Jr. Medical Clinic and the Village Pharmacy — a division of Boone Drugs Inc. “As people relocate here, as they have medical needs, more and more of those services can be offered here,” Jackson said. ARHS is also expanding Cannon Memorial Hospital in Linville to add 27 behavioral beds to the existing 10 beds to keep up with the growing demand for behavioral health services. Across the street from the Watauga Medical Center is the 203,000-squarefoot Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences, part of Appalachian State University. The state-of-the-art building will give ASU students hands-on experience as part of their coursework with the Beaver College of

Health Sciences. Located adjacent to the medical center is the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center and the Cardiology Center. The Jones Center is an approved community cancer care center by the American College of Surgeon’s Committee on Cancer. Across Deerfield Road is the Harmony Center for Women and close by is the Outpatient Imaging and Lab Center, as well as the Wilma Redmond Breast Center of ARHS. Another part of ARHS is the AppUrgent Care Center, located at 2146 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. The care center provides walk-in care to patients with non-life threatening illness or injury. The care center is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Along State Farm Road, other ARHS services in the Boone Medical District include Boone Urology, AppOrtho as well as the Wellness Center and Rehabilitation Center on Boone Heights Drive. Community health options for un- and under-insured portions of the population include High Country Community Health, located at 108 Doctors Drive, and the Community Care Clinic at 141 Health Center Drive, Unit B, provide affordable primary care, behavioral health and dental services. Both clinics offers sliding scales of payment for a number of services.

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Living Long, Healthy Lives Watauga Offers Various Services for Seniors



o ensure care and comfort as citizens age, numerous services in the area offer programs and assistance to the area’s senior population. Boone offers senior centers, assisted living and long-term care as well as various other services.

PROJECT ON AGING Operating under the mission of preventing premature institutionalization, the Watauga County Project on Aging provides several programs and services for those who are 60 years and older. “It’s much better for individuals and much less costly to keep them home and out of institutions,” said Director Angie Boitnotte. Project on Aging offers in-home aid,

PHOTOS BY KAYLA LASURE Jan Ramquist, Barbara Hinkle, Sondra Edwards and Judy Clark participate in SEE SENIORS ON PAGE 50 an arts class at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center.

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home-delivered meals, transportation services, congregate nutrition services and Medicare assistance, according to Boitnotte. This is in addition to overseeing two senior centers — the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center in Boone and the Western Watauga Senior Center in Sugar Grove. The in-home aid service provides a certified nursing assistant to those who need help with basic house keeping, laundry, transportation, grocery shopping and personal care like bathing or dressing. Home-delivered meals are offered once a day around lunch time five days a week, and are delivered by volunteers or staff. Congregate meals are served Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. at the Western Watauga Senior Center and noon at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center. The centers provide activities such as field trips and holiday parties in addition to classes in art, pottery, exercise, quilting and sewing. Project on Aging has a contract with AppalCART — the local transportation service — to bring seniors to each of the senior centers. AppalCART can also assist seniors in transportation to errands, doctors appointments or grocery shopping during certain timeframes in the day, Boitnotte said. Project on Aging serves as the local Senior Health Info Program organization, and can assist seniors with Medicare enrollSEE SENIORS ON PAGE 51


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ment and answering questions. The organization also offers a Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP/DA) — a Medicaid alternative to nursing home placement, Boitnotte said. To be eligible for this program, seniors must be qualified for Medicaid and need nursing home-level care. The program pays for services in home instead of the senior paying to be placed in a nursing home. Boitnotte said all of the services Project on Aging provides helps seniors to avoid institutionalization as long as possible by helping to prevent issues like getting sick, being isolated or not having transportation. For more information, visit www. wataugacounty.org/App_Pages/Dept/ Aging/home.aspx or call (828) 2658090.

HIGH COUNTRY AREA AGENCY ON AGING The High Country Area Agency on Aging serves as one of 16 AAAs in the state and provides services to Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties. The organization offers home- and community-based solutions, family caregiver support, a long-term care ombudsman, advocacy and health promotion and disease prevention classes. For community-based services, the High Country Area Agency on Aging partners with service providers in each county it serves. For Watauga, it partners with the Project on Aging agency for general and medical transportation, in-home aide, nutrition services, health promotion, respite, housing and home improvement, adult daycare, information and assistance, insurance counseling and legal services. The agency also provides a family caregiver support program, which can help provide home safety assessments to help make a home safer, incontinence supplies, resources for food nutrition and assistance with questions. To be eligible for the program, the caregiver must be unpaid and the person being cared for must be 60 years or older as well as need help with two activities of daily living —

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Conley Wilcox plays a game of cards at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center.

such as bathing, eating and toileting. The long-term care ombudsman service the agency provides ensures that a senior’s rights and qualities of life are upheld by serving as an advocate for residents in the region’s long-term care facilities. A long-term care ombudsman visits and listens to needs of residents in facilities, can take action if a concern is identified, speaks to resident and family councils about concerns, educate the community and public about issues facing long-term care residents and older adults as well as promoting elder abuse awareness and prevention activities, according to the agency. The agency also provides programs for health promotion and disease prevention in the following topics: chronic disease self management, diabetes self management, managing concerns about falls, Tai Chi for arthritis and fall prevention, a “Walk with Ease” course and an arthritis foundation exercise program. The agency also offers a lifespan respite service, which is an application-based program that reimburses eligible family caregivers caring for individuals of any age for up to $500 in respite care services in a calendar year. The caregivers are then able to hire any worker or respite

provider they choose, as long as any individual they hire is not actively involved as an existing caregiver, does not live in the same home as the care recipient, does not have power of attorney or guardianship and is at least 18 years old. Additionally, the High Country Area Agency on Aging offers legal services through a contract with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Senior Law Project. The helpline can assist with life planning, housing, elder abuse, consumer questions and benefits. For more information on the High Country Area Agency on Aging, visit www.highcountryaging.org or call (828) 265-5434.

RESIDENTIAL AND SHORT-TERM SERVICES Appalachian Brian Estates offers private apartments for independent living as a facility associated with Choice Health Management Services network. “Independent living is the best solution for relaxed retirement living at an affordable cost,” according to Choice Health Management Services. The facility offers a choice of five SEE SENIORS ON PAGE 52

Boone My Hometown 2019-20 | 51


different floor plans including furnished and unfurnished options. Services available at Appalachian Brian Estates includes 24-hour on-site security, home health services, transportation services, activity and recreation programs, three meals daily, weekly housekeeping services, complete maintenance, cable TV and 24 hour Emergency call systems. For more information on Appalachian Brian Estates, visit www.choice-health. net. Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living offers seniors 24-hour access to certified nursing assistants and personal care staff, customized care with overview by a registered nurse, an emergency response system, medication management and security camera systems. Additional services include three nutritional meals plus snacks served daily, a 24-hour pharmacy service, memory care, a geriatric physician service available on-site, home health services (including physical, occupational and respiratory

services),a partnership with Hospice, a podiatry service, beauty/barber services and a respite care short stay program. Pets are welcome, but some restrictions may apply. For more information on Deerfield, visit www.ridgecare.com/communities/ deerfield-ridge-assisted-living or call (828) 264-0336. For long-term care or rehabilitation needs, seniors can visit Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation. Nursing rehabilitation services that Glenbridge provides includes physical, occupational and speech therapy. Each resident is assessed for therapeutic needs upon admission and then a plan is prepared for rehabilitation. Glenbridge stated that its staff works to make residents in the long-term care service to feel at home at its facility. “We are dedicated to respecting and supporting our elders as individuals and understand that it is critical that we are prepared to increase and maintain their physical, spiritual and emotional well-being,� according to Glenbridge. Glenbridge also partners with Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care for any

Stay with us on your next visit to the High Country

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES Many workshops, lectures, readings and classes are offered through Appalachian State University, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and local arts programs that provide educational opportunities for seniors. Adult programs for credit and non-credit programs can be found at conferences-camps.appstate.edu/adult-programs. App State also offers the Appalachian Senior Companion Program and the Appalachian Foster Grandparent Program. To learn more about these, visit www. volunteermatch.org/search/org84406. jsp and ihhs.appstate.edu/about-ihhs/ community-resources/senior-companion-program. The High Country Caregivers offers support to seniors helping to raise grandchildren as well as offers a support group. Visit highcountrycaregivers.com or call (828) 832-6366 for more information.

1184 Highway 105 Boone, NC 28607 828-268-0099

2060 Blowing Rock Rd. Boone, NC 28607 828-268-0677 52 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

hospice or respite care services a senior may need. For more information on Glenbridge, visit glenbridge.org or call (828) 264-6720.


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PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Watauga County’s new indoor recreation center in Boone is scheduled to open in 2020.

NC’s Adventure Playground Boone is a Prime Destination for Recreation Activities BY ANNA OAKES


our seasons of diverse recreational activities can be enjoyed in the mountain community of Boone — North Carolina’s premier adventure playground. Skiing, snowboarding and caving in the winter. Trout fishing, wildflower hunting and boating in the spring. Camping and river tubing in the summer. Rock climbing, backpacking and bike riding in the fall. Oh and hiking? That’s year-round — in fact, so are a lot of the many, many activities that are conveniently available to residents and visitors of Boone.

PARKS Boone is home to many parks and dedicated green space areas, from national parks to privately run community facilities. Within minutes of Boone is the Blue Ridge SEE RECREATION ON PAGE 55

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PHOTO COURTESY BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT At the summit of Beech Mountain Resort is the 5506’ Skybar, offering skiers and snowboarders a break and a beer with incredible views.


Parkway — the most-visited national park in the country — a paved road with 469 miles of scenic beauty, overlooks, trails, campgrounds and other amenities across the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Two parks that are part of the Parkway system include the beautiful Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and Julian Price Memorial Park, which offer miles of trails, horseback riding, a campground, canoe and boat rentals, picnic areas and more. Just south of Boone and Blowing Rock, citizens can access the federal lands of the Pisgah National Forest, providing opportunities for hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting, climbing and swimming. The Pisgah National Forest includes the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area — known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” State parks in the region include Grandfather Mountain State Park, Elk Knob State Park, New River State Park and Mount Jefferson State Natural Area — and many of these parks are continuing to grow in size as area conservancies secure more acreage. These parks offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, camping, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, ranger-led programs and special events. Community and local government-operated parks in the Boone area include Brookshire Park, Jaycees Park, Junaluska Park, Howard Knob Park, Durham Park, Valle Crucis Park, Memorial Park in Blowing Rock, Green Valley Park and many others. The parks’ amenities vary, including green space, picnic areas, covered shelters, playing fields, playground equipment, walking trails, stream access and more.

YOUTH AND ADULT SPORTS The Watauga Parks and Recreation Department offers multiple recreational activities for youth and adults in and around Boone. The department sponsors youth football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball leagues and offers lacrosse clinics. The county’s Recreation Complex off of State Farm Road includes baseball and softball fields, a playground and picnic shelters. In spring 2020, the county will open a new, state-of-the art indoor recreation center at the Recreation Complex, featuring a competition indoor swimming pool, a leisure pool, four multi-use courts, locker rooms, a walking track, a space for gym equipment and party rooms for public use. Outdoor facilities affected by the rec center SEE RECREATION ON PAGE 56





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construction will reopen by 2021, including tennis courts and basketball courts. Pickleball courts will be a new addition. In addition, Optimist Park is home to two baseball fields, and the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex has two full-length soccer fields. The High Country Soccer Association sponsors teams that play in a variety of age groups and against teams from throughout the area. In addition, amateur leagues and clubs exist for casual competition in ultimate (disc), disc golf and other sports. And the town of Boone has designated land near the Boone Greenway Trail for a new skate park, with a grassroots effort underway to raise the funds needed for construction.

WALKING AND BIKING TRAILS The Boone area’s most exciting trail project is the Middle Fork Greenway — a paved hiking and biking trail that will eventually link Boone to Blowing Rock along the Middle Fork tributary of the South Fork New River. The trail, which is being completed one section at a time as funds are raised, will provide connections to downtown Blowing Rock, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Boone Greenway Trail. Want more info? Visit MiddleForkGreenway.org. The Boone Greenway Trail offers several miles of paved trail in town limits for transportation, leisure and exercise. Access points include the Watauga County Recreation Complex and Clawson-Burnley Park off of State Farm Road, beside the Moose Lodge on Deerfield Road and the former Watauga Humane Society parking lot on Casey Lane. From there, the trail can connect with Brookshire Park north of U.S. 421 via New River Hills Road and a highway underpass. The Blue Ridge Parkway’s Moses Cone Memorial Park near Blowing Rock also offers an extensive gravel trail system that is beloved by the area’s many running and horseback-riding enthusiasts.

CYCLING & MOUNTAIN BIKING The Boone area provides varied terrain and scenic views for amateur and competitive cyclists and is home to several major road events, including the Blood, Sweat 56 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

PHOTO COURTESY ROCK DIMENSIONS Chris Leath scales a rock in the High Country.

and Gears Bike Ride in June, a fundraiser. Rocky Knob Park is a destination mountain biking park located on the east side of Boone, with several miles of intermediate to difficult trails. Beech Mountain offers additional mountain biking opportunities at the Emerald Outback trail system as well as at Beech Mountain Resort. Sugar Mountain Resort also features a mountain bike park with beginner and intermediate trails.

SKIING AND SNOW SPORTS During the winter months, the ski industry is king in the High Country, with three resorts located less than an hour away from Boone. Just 15 minutes south of Boone just off of Highway 321 is Appalachian Ski Mtn., which offers ski and snowboarding trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers. The resort also offers rentals, and lessons are available through the French Swiss Ski College. Appalachian Ski Mtn. also has an ice rink, a restaurant and lodging. In addition, Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort are both located about 30 minutes from Boone, close to nearby Banner Elk. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, Sugar Mountain has tubing, ice skating, a restaurant, lodging and shopping available. Beech Mountain Resort is located just beyond Banner Elk. The resort offers rentals, lessons, lodging and trails of various difficulties. Hawksnest in Seven Devils offers snow tubing in the winter and ziplining in the warmer months.


There are several golf courses near the town of Boone. The Boone Golf Club is a public 18-hole golf course with a practice green and a restaurant and clubhouse. The Mountaineer Driving Range and Golf Center located off N.C. Highway 105 Extension offers a driving range and golf instruction for all levels of ability. There are also two other public golf courses close to Boone. The Willow Creek Golf Club is located in Vilas and the Sugar Mountain Golf Club is located in Sugar Mountain.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES The High Country is also known for topnotch rock climbing opportunities; caving; river sports such as fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking and tubing; and even hang-gliding and paragliding. There are a number of local outfitters who can help guide you on these adventures, including River & Earth Adventures, Wahoo’s Outdoor Adventures, Rock Dimensions Climbing Guides and River Girl Fishing. Guided horseback riding excursions are available via outfitters including Leatherwood Mountains Resort, while Hawksnest, High Gravity Adventures and Sky Valley Zip Tours will take you on a zipline adventure.

ATTRACTIONS The greater High Country area is also home to several entertainment and educational attractions, including the Tweetsie Railroad Wild West Theme Park, Mystery Hill and Grandfather Mountain.

A Mountain of Arts and Entertainment BY ABBY WHITT

Appalachian State University draws big names of entertainment to our mountain town, and the audiences that they meet keep them coming back. Because of the wide array of genres and events, Boone has been well equipped with venues prepared to seat audiences both small and large.


Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts Schaefer Center of Performing Arts brings an elevated assortment of acts to the campus of Appalachian State and to the surrounding area of Boone. The Schaefer Center has 1,673 seats that have been filled in preparation for acts such as Lily Tomlin, Kristen Chenoweth and The New Age Preservation Jazz Band. An Appalachian Summer Festival is hosted on campus every year, with the Schaefer Center providing the stage for most of the acts. For more events from the Schaefer Center, visit theschaefercenter.org. Legends Legends is home to the annual Battle of the Bands competition and often hosts club events for Appalachian State. However, its intimate venue has also been known to attract popular bands such as Rainbow Kitten Surprise and country artist Corey Smith. For more news on Legends and upcoming shows, visit legends.appstate.edu. Holmes Convocation Center Holmes Convocation Center at the edge of campus often hosts incredible acts with its capacity to seat 8,500. While the venue exists to hold sports events, Holmes Convocation Center has been the stage of numerous entertainers, from concerts to weekend conventions. In the past year, the venue has hosted musical artists Kesha and The Temptations. To learn about upcoming events at the Holmes Convocation Center, visit theholmescenter.appstate.edu. Valborg Theatre The main performance venue for the Department of Theatre and Dance is the Val-

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY LYNN WILLIS The Department of Theatre and Dance performs, ‘The Only Way Through is Through’ by Emily Daughtridge.

borg Theatre that holds 334 seats. In the fall semester of 2019, the theatre was booked with showings for “Peter and the Starcatcher” and a Movies by Movers film festival. For a full schedule of 2019-20 performances at the Valborg Theatre, visit theatreanddance.appstate.edu/performances/venues. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre This intimate 80-seat theatre is used for classes for the theatre and dance departments. The stage often sees informal student performances and one-act plays. Located off of Sanford Mall, in the middle of Appalachian State’s campus, I.G. Greer Theatre provides a space of free expression for every act it hosts.


The Appalachian Theatre The historic Appalachian Theatre on King Street in Boone re-opened its doors to the public on Oct. 14, 2019. In 1950, the theater was damaged in a fire, but it was brought back to life as a movie theater until closing in 2007. Now, more than a decade after its closing, the Appalachian Theatre has been restored to its former glory as a live performance venue. The 2019 debut concert was performed by John McEuen and Rodney Dillard. To learn more about the restoration

process or future shows, visit www.apptheatre.org/. Harvest House The Harvest House, located in the heart of Boone, is a church during times of worship but doubles as a live performance venue for the community. Famously hosting acts from Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, the Harvest House is a showcase of local and regional talent. IBMA winner Cane Mill Road, The Jeff Little Trio and Don Flemons have all brought their unique takes on traditional Appalachian music to the stage. For more information about the venue or performance, visit www.boonevenue.com. Jones House Cultural and Community Center A hub of Appalachian culture in Boone, the Jones House hosts a summer concert series each summer to bring community members to the lawn for fellowship and good music. Guests are always encouraged to bring their own blankets or chairs to avoid sitting on the grass, and the Jones House takes care to book the best in local and regional musical artists. To learn more about events at the Jones House, visit www. joneshouse.org. SEE ARTS ON PAGE 58

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High Country festivals are generally designed with everyone in mind, and they tend to mark the passing of seasons and the welcoming of new beginnings. Some of these festivals have grown into what they are today from humble beginnings and community input. An Appalachian Summer Festival — Boone Hosted by the Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, An Appalachian Summer Festival brings acts to two venues on the university campus: The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts and Holmes Convocation Center. There is a mix of acts including music, dance, theatre, visual arts and films. To learn more about the festival and to stay up-to-date on the acts of the 2020 season, visit appsummer. org. Valle Country Fair — Valle Crucis The Valle Country Fair began as a church bazaar and has grown into an annual day of family fun in Valle Crucis. Complete with homemade apple butter, jams and jellies, and other baked goods, the fair has some-

thing for everyone. Musicians and dancers often take the fair stages, and there are plenty of arts and crafts booths for children to enjoy. The 2018 fair raised $40,000 for High Country community members in need. To learn more about what to expect at the 2020 Valle Country Fair, visit www.vallecountryfair.org. MerleFest — Wilkesboro MerleFest is an annual music festival where local artists have gained momentum for more than 30 years. The festival, which takes place on the campus of Wilkes Community College, is named after the legendary Doc Watson’s son, Merle Watson, who died unexpectedly in 1985. To keep up with MerleFest 2020, visit merlefest.org. Other area festivals of note include the Carolina Ramble and Reunion, the Boone Film Festival that takes place in November, Banff Mountain Film Festival in March, Oktoberfest in Sugar Mountain and Winterfest in Blowing Rock.


Boone is proudly called home by artists of every medium, and as a result, the town’s art scene is never dull. Town galleries include Blue Ridge ArtSpace, Doe Ridge Pottery, Hands Gallery, Jones House Cultural Center,

Nth Degree Gallery and the Turchin Center. Each month on the first Friday, every art gallery in Boone participates in an art crawl to draw community members into the local art scene. During these events, some galleries offer demonstrations and most offer light refreshments to the public who wish to peruse local talent.


The nightlife in Boone is ever-evolving for locals and visitors who want a taste of town culture. Something is happening every night through both the week and weekend. Local restaurants, breweries and wineries host weekly events or live music performances. Hubs of in-town entertainment include Tapp Room, Lost Province, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Boone Saloon, Cafe Portofinos, The Cardinal, Casa Rustica, the Horton Hotel and Rooftop Lounge, the Inn at Crestwood, Noble Kava Bar, Pedalin’ Pig in Boone, Ransom’s Pub, Rivers Street Ale House and The Local. All of these restaurants host local and regional musicians on nights of live music. Galileo’s and Mellow Mushroom also host weekly event nights. To see each week’s events, check out the Mountain Times’ Nightlife Listings in each Thursday edition.

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PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL Jeannine Underdown Collins speaks after being surprised with the 4 Under 40 Respect Your Elder award on Wednesday, April 10. Also pictured is David Jackson.

Local Leaders Highlighted by Boone Area Chamber T he Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary membership association that serves as the unified voice of the business community. The chamber works by connecting with its membership, advocating on their behalf and providing educational outreach to enhance business growth. Among the chamber’s many events in 2019 were its third annual 4 Under 40 Awards in April and its Annual Membership Meeting in August, where its Community Awards are given. To learn more about the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, contact David Jackson at 828-264-2225 or email david@ boonechamber.com.


Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development: Booneshine Brewing Company completed a move to a new production facility and a 3,500 square-foot tasting room in East Boone during the past year. Started in 2015 by Tim Herdklotz and Carson Coatney, Booneshine increased its production capacity from 1,500 barrels of beer per year to over 4,000 after the move. The Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development recognizes individuals and/ or organizations who have worked for the orderly growth and development of Boone and Watauga County. Adams served as a local banker and provided influence on many chamber committees in the organiza-

tion’s formative years. Baker/Jones Woman of the Year Award: Carolyn Clark, founder of After Ever Communications LLC, started her own public relations firm to assist international business brands with corporate communication strategies. She serves as a member of the Silicon Hollar Advisory Board, assisting local entrepreneurs in the High Country with growth planning and ideation. She is an adjunct professor in the Appalachian State University Department of Communication and is past president of the App State Alumni Association. The Baker-Jones Woman of the Year


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award is named for long-time chamber volunteers Gillian Baker and Susan Jones. This award honors an inspiring member who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, mentorship, and community involvement. Dan Meyer Partnership Award: The Back 2 School Festival is an annual event that aids any Watauga County Family with the high costs of sending their children back to school. In 2018, nearly 1,200 children were served by the program. Over 2,000 people attended the festival that is funded largely by business, nonprofit and faith community support and volunteer hours. The Dan Meyer Community Partnership Award recognizes a community leader for their efforts to bring multiple parties together for a common cause. Meyer served as president/CEO of the chamber for 12-years before retiring in August of 2016. Sue W. Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tourism: Valle Country Fair is an authentic fall festival and juried arts and crafts show, featuring

60 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

food, mountain music and crafts. Celebrating its 40th year in 2018, the fair attracted over 13,000 visitors and 160 juried artists to the Valle Crucis community. Last year’s fair channeled $40,000 to High Country organizations which serve people in need. The Sue W. Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tourism is named for the former chamber director, who used her influence in tourism promotion to capitalize on the region’s natural resources while balancing progress with preservation. everGREEN Award for Sustainability: The Cove Creek School Solar Array is a 5-kilowatt photovoltaic array that was installed at the school thanks to the help of NC GreenPower, a group that supports renewable energy carbon offset projects by providing grants for solar installations at K-12 schools across North Carolina. Cove Creek students and families raised more than $14,000 in corporate and local support to assist with installation. Beyond supplying the school with a portion of its power, the new solar array is also equipped with a weather station and allows for real-time monitoring of the system’s output and performance. The system is designed with education in mind, its ad-

dition to the school is paired with curriculum-based content to help students learn how solar power systems are incorporated into the energy grid. The evergreen Award is presented to a business, organization, project, or person who has furthered the inclusion and integration of sustainable development principles. Ben Suttle Award for Volunteerism: Cindy Wallace, chair of the Western Youth Network Board of Directors, has been a part of the Boone community for over three decades. She was first introduced to WYN during a long career at Appalachian State University. Wallace advanced her involvement with the organization by joining the board of directors in 2016. In her year as chair, she assisted in organizing efforts to aid WYN staff in administering events, projects and programming. The Ben Suttle Special Services Award, named for the former Boone town councilman, recognizes the spirit of volunteerism in the community. Wade Brown Award for CommuSEE CHAMBER ON PAGE 62

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nity Involvement: Lane Robinson, owner of Creekside Electronics, has been involved with numerous High Country organizations as a native to the area. He recently completed a year as president of the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club and maintains an active role in volunteer and project support with the organization. He currently serves as vice chair of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association Board of Directors, helping the group administer the annual “Horn in the West” outdoor drama. Robinson donates time to Western Youth Network, helping spearhead the Men for WYN initiative. He frequently donates items from his family business, Creekside Electronics, for silent auctions and fundraisers for local nonprofit organizations. The Wade Brown Award for Community Involvement is the chamber’s oldest award, dating back to 1979. Named after the first recipient of the honor, this award recognizes a significant contribution through community engagement. 4 Under 40 Awards The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards highlight emerging leaders in the High Country business community. Awards are distributed to honorees in the following categories: Business Owner, Rising Star, Nonprofit and Education. Nominees must be 39 years old or younger and must exhibit professional success while a member of the Boone area community. Four finalists are recognized in each category during the annual awards ceremony before a winner is chosen. Business Owner: Joseph Miller is a Boone local who graduated Appalachian State in 2007 with a BSBA in finance from the Walker College of Business. He has accumulated over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry. After graduating he moved to Colorado and worked in the sushi business for five years, and then moved back to the High Country to open COBO in May 2013. In 2015, COBO was recognized as a Top 10 Restaurant in Western North Carolina by WNC Magazine. In June 2018, he purchased Black Cat with his parents Wayne & Jenny Miller. When asked what he valued most about his business ventures, he said, “The most 62 | Boone My Hometown 2019-20

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Gillian Baker (left) presents Carolyn Clark (right) with the Baker/Jones Woman of the Year Award.

important aspect of a company is the staff. My employees are everything to me and my businesses and I love them more than they could ever know.” Additional finalists: Zak Ammar, Vixster, LLC; Ryan Costin, Beech Mountain Resort; Shae Jones, Ground Effects Landscaping & Maintenance Education: Tierra Stark is an assistant principal and career & technical education director for Watauga High School. She is a product of a Watauga County Schools education, having attended Parkway Elementary School and Watauga High School. She attended Appalachian State University and then began her career with Watauga County Schools as a family & consumer sciences teacher at Watauga High School. She later became a facilitator of career & technical education for Watauga County Schools, and she recently earned a master’s in school administration and moved into her current role at WHS. In this position, she works with community members, including Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute, to implement and provide industry-aligned training to students while working with high school seniors to make their last year of high school count for their future.

Additional finalists: Brian Bettis (Bethel School); Matt Dull (App State Student Development); Geralyn Mitchell (App State Career Development) Nonprofit Business Professional: Andy Hill serves as the High Country regional director and Watauga Riverkeeper for MountainTrue. As a longtime fly fisherman, educator and guide, his intimate understanding of the area’s watershed fuels his ability to provide an experienced layer of protection to many areas. Hill attended Appalachian State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in outdoor experiential education and his master’s in college outdoor program administration. A graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, he thrives on using the outdoors as a source of learning and connecting people with our shared wild places. Hill is active in the community as the founder of Fish Goat Guide Service based in Valle Crucis as well as the fly-fishing program at Lees-McRae College, with a mission to help connect students to clean, cold water. He serves an adjunct instructor at ASU, teaching courses in natural resource management, paddlesports and leadership SEE CHAMBER ON PAGE 63


& group dynamics. Additional finalists: Caroline Gandy (Blue Ridge Conservancy); Charlene Grasinger (Western Youth Network); Dr. Holli Sink (Southmountain Children & Family Services) Rising Star: Danielle Wade, president and CEO of Jackson Sumner & Associates, graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in Spanish. After graduation, she gravitated to the family business, Jackson Sumner & Associates, Excess & Surplus Lines Brokers, located in her hometown of Boone. While working as a P&C Underwriter for nearly a decade, JSA experienced exponential growth during the 2000’s. Her responsibilities grew, eventually pulling her away from underwriting and elevating her to a leadership role in the company. She completed the NAPSLO Executive Leadership School at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business in 2014 and after serving for five years as JSA’s Chief Operating Officer, she was recently named president & CEO. She is a past UFO (Under Forty Organization) president and a past president of the NC Surplus Lines Association. Currently, she is the chair of the NC Stamping Office and the chair of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Program at Appalachian State. She is also presently serving on the WSIA Education Foundation Board as well as two national insurance carrier’s advisory boards. She was also recognized by Insurance Business of America as one of the Top Young Guns for 2016. Additional finalists: Caleb McGuire (Pub Cycle of Boone); Rowen Todd (Mountain Vista Window Washing); Julie Wiggins (High Country Council of Governments) Respect Your Elder Award: Jeannine Underdown Collins is a native of Elkin, North Carolina, and has lived in Boone since 1975. A graduate of Elkin High School, she was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority and the Appalachian Ambassadors as an undergraduate and remains an active mentor for those organizations today. Underdown Collins graduated with a B.S. in history in 1979 and an M.A. in history in 1981. She incorporated Underdown

PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL Andy Hill smiles while looking at his Nonprofit Business Professional award at the 2019 4 Under 40 awards ceremony on Wednesday, April 10.

and Associates Inc., a real estate appraisal company, in January 1985 and still operates the business 34 years later. She served leadership positions on both the Yosef Club and Turchin Center advisory boards and has been a longtime member of the Appalachian Alumni Council, serving as president in 2003. Underdown Collins was a member of the Appalachian State Board of Trustees from 2005-13, serving as chair in 2009. Her civic engagement was highlighted by serving on Boone Town Council from 2015-17. Underdown Collins has served as a member of the Watauga Economic Development

Commission, the Boone Tourism Development Authority, the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, High Country Board of Realtors and the board of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association during her career. Underdown Collins is a mentor and champion of students, young adults and entrepreneurs who are transitioning into their professional careers. Her advice and council bring stability to many during periods of great change and her knowledge of the area helps her to assist others in unlocking countless opportunities within the area. Boone My Hometown 2019-20 | 63

Clubs & Organizations

PHOTO SUBMITTED Participants of Girls on the Run take time to pose with Yosef. Pictured are: Julia Rowan, Chloe Weigl, Carrie Bradbury, Madeline Powell and Marlee Barnes. Appalachian Chorale music.appstate.edu/academics/ensembles/choirs Appalachian Shrine Club appshriners.org Blue Ridge Hiking Club blueridgehikingclub.org Book Bunch Club arlibrary.org/watauga Boone Area Cyclists booneareacyclists.org Boone Area Lions Club e-clubhouse.org/sites/boonenc Boone Optimist Club danielbooneoptimist.com Boone Running Club facebook.com/groups/boonerunningclub Boone Service League booneserviceleague.org Boone Sunrise Rotary Club boonerotary.org Carolina Fly-Wheelers facebook.com/CarolinaFlywheelers1 Civil Air Patrol (336) 977-7405 Daughters of the American Revolution Daniel Boone Chapter ncdar.org/DanielBooneChapter_files/index.html Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90 (336) 631-5481 High Country Pride facebook.com/HighCountryPride High Country Recreation highcountryrec.com High Country Torch Club torch.org High Country Vegans facebook.com/High-Country-Vegans-179086598827256 Junaluska Heritage Association junaluskaheritage.wordpress.com Kiwanis Club of Boone web.kiwanisboonenc.org Loyal Order of Moose 1805 lodge1805.moosepages.org Military Officers Association of America (High Country Chapter) chapterdues.moaa.org/highcountry Toastmaster’s Club

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1387766.toastmastersclubs.org Watauga Book Brewers arlibrary.org/watauga-book-clubs Watauga Community Band wataugacommunity.band Watauga County Historical Society wataugacountyhistoricalsociety.org Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge womensfundoftheblueridge.org Watauga Gun Club wataugagunclub.com

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Boone Area Chamber of Commerce boonechamber.com Boone Independent Restaurants facebook.com/booneindies Downtown Boone Development Association downtownboonenc.com High Country Association of Realtors highcountryrealtors.org High Country Writers highcountrywriters.org High Country Young Professionals facebook.com/youngprosboone High South Event Professionals highsouthevents.com Startup High Country startuphc.com Watauga County Association of Educators wcae.weebly.com Watauga County Beekeepers Association wataugabeekeepers.org Watauga County Cattleman’s Association (828) 264-3061 Watauga County Christmas Tree Association (828) 264-3061


American Red Cross (Blue Ridge Chapter) redcross.org/local/north-carolina/greater-carolinas/aboutus/locations/blue-ridge-piedmont.html Appalachian & the Community Together (ACT) act.appstate.edu Appalachian Theatre apptheatre.org

Appalachian Voices appvoices.org Back to School Festival back2schoolfestival.org Blue Ridge Conservancy blueridgeconservancy.org Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture brwia.org Casting Bread Ministries faithbridgeumc.org/casting-bread-food-pantry.html Children’s Council of Watauga County thechildrenscouncil.org Children’s Hope Alliance childrenshopealliance.org The Children’s Playhouse goplayhouse.org Community Care Clinic ccclinic.org F.A.R.M. Cafe farmcafe.org/index.html Girls on the Run of the High Country gotr.appstate.edu Habitat for Humanity wataugahabitat.org/home High Country Area Agency on Aging highcountryaging.org High Country Caregivers highcountrycaregivers.com High Country Pathways highcountrypathways.org High Country United Way highcountryunitedway.org Hope Pregnancy Center choosehope.org Hunger and Health Coalition hungerandhealthcoalition.com iCAMP icamplife.com Life Village thelifevillage.net/index.html Mountain Alliance mountainalliance.org OASIS Inc. oasisinc.org Parent to Parent Family Support Network parent2parent.appstate.edu Resort Area Ministries (828) 264-6605 Samaritan’s Purse samaritanspurse.org Southern Appalachian Historical Association horninthewest.com SmileOn ADG smileonadg.org Special Olympics Watauga County sonc.net/local-programs/watauga-county Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center spiritridenc.org Watauga County Arts Council watauga-arts.org/wordpress Watauga County Community Foundation nccommunityfoundation.org/communities/northwestern/ watauga-county Watauga County Humane Society wataugahumane.org Watauga County Rescue Squad wataugarescue.org Watauga Education Foundation wataugaeducationfoundation.org Watauga Opportunities, Inc. woiworks.org Western Youth Network westernyouthnetwork.org/wordpress W.A.M.Y. Community Action wamycommunityaction.org Wine to Water winetowater.org

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Local Agencies and Important Phone Numbers (All numbers are within the 828 area code) Fire, Rescue and Police ............................................................911 Boone Police Department (non-emergency)...............269-6900 Boone Fire Department (non-emergency) ..................268-6180 Watauga County Sheriff’s Office ..................................264-3761 University Police ..........................................................262-8000 Boone Town Hall .........................................................268-6200 Boone Planning and Inspections .................................268-6960 Boone Public Works ....................................................268-6230 Health Department (AppHealthCare).........................264-4995 Watauga Medical Center .............................................262-4100 Watauga County Public Library ..................................264-8784 Watauga County Schools .............................................264-7190 Blue Ridge Energy .......................................................264-8894 New River Light & Power ............................................264-3671 SkyLine/SkyBest 963-1350 and ..................................865-1350 Watauga County Parks and Recreation ......................264-9511 Appalachian State University ......................................262-2000 Caldwell Community College ......................................297-3811 Boone Area Chamber of Commerce ............................264-2225 High Country Host (Visitor Center) ............................264-1299 Boone Tourism Development Authority .....................266-1345 Watauga Democrat Newspaper .................................264-1881 The Mountain Times Newspaper ...............................264-6397

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