Vol.41 | Issue 1 May 2019
Newsletter of the High Country Council of Governments
Executive Board Members Minority Representative Paul L. Robinson, Jr.
Mark Evans, Chair, Commissioner Chris Jones, Council Member, Sparta
Todd McNeill, Chair, Commissioner Mark Johnston, Alderman, Jefferson Jim Blevins, Alderman, Lansing Dale Baldwin, Mayor, West Jefferson
Dennis Aldridge, Commissioner Brenda Lyerly, Mayor, Banner Elk Renee Castiglione, Mayor, Beech Mountain Jesse C. Smith, Mayor, Crossnore Joel Whitley, Alderman, Elk Park Valerie Jaynes, Mayor, Newland Gunther Jรถchl, Mayor Pro Tem, Sugar Mountain
Officers Chair Johnny Riddle Vice Chair Valerie Jaynes Secretary Mark Evans Treasurer Chris Jones
Vern Grindstaff, Vice-Chair, Commissioner Charles Vines, Mayor, Bakersville Darla Harding, Mayor, Spruce Pine
Larry Turnbow, Commissioner Doug Matheson, Council Member, Blowing Rock Rennie Brantz, Mayor, Boone Larry Fontaine, Mayor, Seven Devils
Gary D. Blevins, Commissioner Sandra P. Simmons, Commissioner, Ronda Robert L. Johnson, Mayor, North Wilkesboro Russell Ferree, Mayor Pro Tem, Wilkesboro
Johnny Riddle, Commissioner Theresa Coletta, Mayor, Burnsville
Advisory Committee Dale Baldwin Gary D. Blevins Rennie Brantz Mark Evans Valerie Jaynes Robert L. Johnson Chris Jones Brenda Lyerly Johnny Riddle Charles Vines
What’s Inside 2019 Advisory Committee Retreat 4 The Advisory Committee of the HCCOG Executive Board met at Nu Wray Inn, in Burnsville for this year’s retreat April 26-27, 2019. Advisory Committee members were able to visit the Bare Dark Sky Observatory on Friday evening and enjoy a full day of round table discussion on Saturday with several guest speakers including: Drew Christy from the Governor’s Office, Representative Josh Dobson, Senator Deanna Ballard and Representative Ray Russell.
HCCOG Hires New Communications & Marketing Manager and New Finance Officer..................................................................................................... 5 Thank You for 44 Years of Service, Fred Sides............................................ 6 2019 National Main Street Accredidation................................................... 7 Regional Highlights.......................................................................8 Town of Seven Devils, Tree City USA Lincoln Heights School, National Register of Historic Places Haven of Hope Child Advocacy Center, Alleghany County Small Town Main Street Award – The 1915, Wilkesboro Area Agency on Aging Department Highlights .................................................................................... 12 The MIND Diet and a Healthy Aging Brain & National Volunteer Month.......... 16 Older Americans Month 2019: Connect, Create, Contribute............................17 The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature................................................ 18 Planning and Development Department Highlights..................................................................................... 19 Wilkesboro GIS Application Development............................................... 21 West Jefferson Stormwater..................................................................... 22 CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization Program Awards............................. 23 Draft 2020-2029 STIP Project Updates............................................ 24-25 Workforce Development Department Highlights.................................................................................... 26 Mitchell County Maximizes......................................................................29 Wilkes County Partnership Receives Workforce Innovation Grant......... 30
2019 Advisory Committee Retreat The Advisory Committee of the HCCOG Executive Board met at Nu Wray Inn, in Burnsville for this year’s retreat held April 26-27, 2019. Advisory Committee members were able to enjoy a night under the stars at the Bare Dark Sky Observatory on Friday evening and attend a full day of round table discussion on Saturday with several guest speakers including: Drew Christy from the Governor’s Office, Representative Josh Dobson, Senator Deanna Ballard and Representative Ray Russell. Advisory Committee members and HCCOG staff were able to enjoy the sights and tastes of Burnsville as well. Theresa Coletta, Mayor of Burnsville and HCCOG Executive Board member shared some history with the group about the Nu Wray Inn and Burnsville Town Square.
The Nu Wray Inn wishing the Advisory Committee a warm welcome
Round table discussion with Drew Christy, Western Director of the Governor’s Office
Pictured: Victoria Potter, Gary Blevins, Brenda Lyerly, Mark Evans, Valerie Jaynes, Johnny Riddle, and Julie Wiggins
Round table discussion with Rep. Josh Dobson, Rep. Ray Russell, Senator Deanna Ballard and Drew Christy
The HCCOG Hires New Communications and Marketing Manager The High Country COG is pleased to welcome Victoria Potter as Communications and Marketing Manager! Victoria joined the HCCOG in this newly expanded position in January 2019. Victoria is an Appalachian State University grad with a bachelor’s degree in Communication: Public Relations. She has experience in the nonprofit field where she served as Executive Director of High Country Local First. There she gained tremendous experience in event marketing, board of directors’ management, and public relations. Victoria has also completed marketing campaigns, content creation and event planning for another local organization, Startup High Country. As a community oriented individual, Victoria served on the Downtown Boone Development Association Board for two years where she assisted with event planning, rebranding efforts, and more. Victoria is a Watauga County native and thoroughly enjoys working with and serving local individuals, nonprofits, businesses and local elected officials. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and volunteering at her church or at local nonprofit organizations. Victoria has already hit the ground running here at the HCCOG and shows her compassion, work ethic, and communication skills daily. We are happy to have her in this new role!
(828) 265-5434 ext.101
The HCCOG Welcomes Julie Page! After a search process for the High Country COG’s Finance Officer position, one candidate stood out among a competitive pool of applicants: Julie Page. Julie’s knowledge of and experience working in local government finance make her well suited to become the HCCOG’s new Finance Officer. Her most recent position as a Facility Manager for Lowe’s Companies, Inc. in Wilkesboro, NC allowed her to gain corporate finance experience as well. Julie and her husband Gary moved to Boone four years ago and live at Echota in Foscoe. The couple is very active with the ASU Alumni Association and the ASU Yosef Club. Julie truly enjoyed the opportunity to serve as the 2016 Yosef Club President as well. Julie and Gary’s daughter Sarah and her husband Nick live in Atlanta and their son Josh lives in Florida. They also have two very spoiled Boston Terriers, Rosie and Rudy. Julie quoted Steve Jobs as she reflected on her upcoming role: “…and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” She further stated, “I am so happy that I now get to return to local government finance and the opportunity to work in the community I live in!” Julie joins the HCCOG team on Monday, June 3.
(828) 265-5434 ext.109
Thank You for 44 Years of Service, Fred Sides! On a full-time basis from 1975-2009 and on a subsequent part-time basis from 2009-2019, Fred Sides has provided invaluable service to the High Country COG. In the early 1980s, Fred developed, from scratch, software for billing services that every High Country county and the majority of the region’s towns have at some point used since its implementation in 1984. Fred has updated the system and expanded its capabilities over the years while providing one-on-one tech support to the system’s users. In the beginning, this service oversaw in the acquisition of similar data processing equipment and software in order to provide an economy of scale to participants. It assisted users in entering the electronic age with the help of an agency that worked for their best interests at a pace that they could feel comfortable. The scope of the service evolved into primarily the production of inhouse programming and its ongoing support, which has been the mainstay of operations for many years. Over time, some participants have seen the need for ever expanding capabilities, and they have sought out other software packages that could offer functions beyond those contained in the COG’s programming. However, many of our local governments still use this billing system today and find it is just as effective today as it was when it was implemented over 30 years ago, due to Fred’s diligence in keeping the functionality updated with ever-changing technology. The staff of the counties and towns using the system have raved about the service they have received from Fred. They also know he was a direct phone call or an email away which is a highly personalized level of support compared to what is common today. “I’ve worked with Fred many years and probably drove him crazy at times. I don’t know what I would have done without him helping me not only with the program he designed but other problems that come up. Fred is a great guy and one of a kind. I’ve always told him that he can’t quit until I quit or retire. Thank you Fred for all that you have done for me and the Town of Elk Park.” - Connie Guinn, Elk Park Town Clerk On a parting note Fred says, “it has been a pleasure to provide what hopefully has been a mutually beneficial service.” After hearing the comments of the staff who have been using Fred’s software, the service he has provided has been mutually beneficial indeed. “I by no means did this alone and readily recognize the contributions of those who made this run possible, I just happen to be the one who gets to see it out.” - Fred Sides Goodbye COG image created by Fred Sides.
45th Annual Banquet 6
2019 National Main Street Accreditation The Downtown North Wilkesboro Partnership or the “Partnership” as it’s known has been designated as an accredited Main Street America™ program for meeting rigorous performance standards set by the National Main Street Center. Each year, the National Main Street Center and its partners announce the list of accredited Main Street America programs to recognize their exemplary commitment to preservation-based economic development and community revitalization through the Main Street Approach.™ “We are proud to acknowledge this year’s 840 nationally accredited Main Street America programs that have worked tirelessly to strengthen their communities. said Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center. “These programs deserve recognition for generating impressive economic returns, preserving community character, and celebrating local history. Main Street America Accredited communities are part of a powerful movement of changemakers, and their dedication to improving quality of life in the places they call home is inspiring. In 2018 alone, Main Street America programs generated $4.93 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 5,310 net new businesses, generated 25,301 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,146historic buildings, and clocked 2.2 million volunteer hours. The Partnership’s performance is annually evaluated by the North Carolina Main Street Program which works in partnership with the National Main Street Center to identify the local programs that meet ten national performance standards. Evaluation criteria determines the communities that are building comprehensive and sustainable revitalization efforts and include standards such as fostering strong public-private partnerships, documenting programmatic progress, and actively preserving historic buildings.
Downtown Boone and Spruce Pine Main Street were also among the 46 North Carolina communities accredited Main Street America™ programs for 2019. Main Street America has been helping revitalize older and historic commercial districts for nearly 40 years. In 2018 alone, Main Street America programs generated $4.39 billion in local reinvestment, helped open 5,310 net new businesses, generated 25,301 net new jobs, catalyzed the rehabilitation of 8,146 historic buildings and clocked 2.2 million volunteer hours. Main Street America is a network of more than 1,600 neighborhoods and communities, rural and urban, who share both a commitment to place and to building stronger communities through preservationbased economic development. Since 1980, communities participating in the program have leveraged more than $79.12 billion in new public and private investment, generated 640,017 net new jobs and 143,613 net new businesses, and rehabilitated more than 284,936 buildings. Main Street America is a program of the nonprofit National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 7
Arbor Day Foundation Names Town of Seven Devils Tree City USA Town of Seven Devils, NC, was named a 2018 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Seven Devils achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation. “Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteerengagement or public education.” Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits. Town of Seven Devils is one of more than 3,500 Tree City USAs, with a combined population of 150 million. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time. Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and wellbeing, and energy use. Town of Seven Devils is stepping up to do its part. Because of their commitment to effective urban forest management, Town of Seven Devils is helping to provide a solution to these challenges. Congratulations to the Town of Seven Devils on earning recognition as a 2018 Tree City USA. Residents of the Town of Seven Devils should be proud lo live in a community that makes the planting and care of trees a priority! Photo Submitted by Debbie Powers
Lincoln Heights School is Added to the National Register of Historic Places Lincoln Heights School has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed in 1924 just east of Wilkesboro NC, the Lincoln Heights School is historically significant for its association with the education of African American children across the six-county region of Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Wilkes and Yadkin Counties during the school segregation era. The original building, constructed with financial assistance from the Julius Rosenwald Fund was expanded during the period from 1926-1963. The school was in use until 1968, when Wilkes County schools were integrated. Lincoln Heights is also significant as an intact example of a six teacher Rosenwald School. Photos Submitted by Paul Robinson Jr.
Haven of Hope Child Advocacy Center A Child Advocacy Center (CAC) is a child friendly facility and is designed to minimize trauma to children and their non-offending family members resulting from child physical or sexual abuse; to advocate for and support child victims and their non-offending family members and to enhance the legal process in achieving optimal criminal prosecutions. The CAC works to reduce the impact of child abuse by bringing together law enforcement, child protection services, medical, mental health, prosecution, and victim advocacy, to investigate abuse, hold offenders accountable, and most importantly, to help children heal from the trauma of abuse. In December of 2017, we began our journey to open a child advocacy center in Alleghany County, NC. We met with other agencies in our community to discuss the need for a center. Everyone agreed that a center was needed and was in full support of the idea. At this point our dream and desire was there but how to accomplish it was distant. However, we began to plan, to write grants and to envision what we wanted to see in our center. Our main goal was to have one physical location that would meet all the needs of the child, to lessen the trauma of the situation and to provide a warm and friendly environment, that would hasten the healing process. In 2018, our county awarded us a $50,000 grant to help establish a center in our community. Our offices at this time were located out of town in a very rural area and had no room for expanding our services. We began the search for a new location in town, started training staff and began writing more grants and asking for support from our community. In February of 2019 we moved into our new location at 61 Wee Care Ave. in Sparta and as of March 1, 2019, we opened the doors of our Haven of Hope Child Advocacy Center. At this time, we provide forensic interviews, a child/family advocate, parenting, supervised visitation services, and will soon have our medical exam room fully operational. We currently have two (2) trained forensic interviewers. Our county has been extremely instrumental in making this dream happen. Our ultimate goal is to build a new center that has the space to have all services under one roof, this will make the process less traumatic for everyone involved and provide services such as counseling for the child and nonoffending parents. We are currently holding a capital campaign to build a new center and hope everyone will help support this worthwhile endeavor. To donate you can mail your donation to PO Box 1643, or drop it off at 61 Wee Care Ave, Sparta, NC 28675. All donations are tax deductible.
Haven of Hope Child Advocacy Center (continued)
Small Town Main Street Award – The 1915, Wilkesboro The Town of Wilkesboro is pleased to announce that “The 1915” owned by Dale and Michelle Isom was awarded the 2018 Small Town Main Street Economic Vitality Award during the NC Main Street Conference Awards Ceremony held on March 13th in Salisbury, NC. The award recognizes the outstanding work of the Isom family in bringing new life to the Historic 1915 Federal Building and Post Office located at 201 West Main Street. The Small Town Main Street Economic Vitality Award recognizes projects that strengthen the economic assets of downtown and the community through adaptive reuse, infill building, upper story redevelopment, and business retention, expansion, and recruitment. In 2017, Dale and Michelle Isom of Heart of Folk purchased the historic Federal Building (c. 1915) with the goal of creating a Michelle and Dale Isom in front of The 1915. regional community and event center. The project evolved into an effort to preserve Appalachian heritage through an artisan center, farm-to-table café, and event venue. In summer 2018, the Blue Ridge Artisan Center (BRAC) opened and now serves as a gateway to a journey of discovery and adventure in Northwest North Carolina, where art is created and music is made that defines the indominable spirit of the region. BRAC offers a wide selection of work from Northwest North Carolina’s finest artists, artisans, and craftspeople as well as 3,000 square feet of retail space. The Blue Ridge Artisan Guild is an artist-led nonprofit organization that juries new work and offers educational programs ranging from demonstrations and workshops to children’s activities and mentoring opportunities. The 1915 also hosted its first concerts, contra dances, and weddings in 2018. The Artisan Café opened in October 2018 as a local eatery and coffee shop featuring locally-sourced ingredients in the historic Wilkesboro Post Office wing. 11
Area Agency on Aging Staff Nicole Hiegl
Director firstname.lastname@example.org ext.122
Family Caregiver & Health Promotion Specialist email@example.com ext.113
Caregiver Program Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org ext.139
Regional Ombudsman email@example.com ext.126
Aging Programs Compliance Officer firstname.lastname@example.org ext.140
Aging Program Assistant email@example.com ext.141
Department Highlights | www.highcountryaging.org | Welcome Amber Chapman as the Area Agency on Agingâ€™s Newest Employee! With a background in direct care and experience as a Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Amber came highly recommended to the High Country Area Agency on Aging. Amberâ€™s energy and kind spirit provide her with the tools needed to excel in the role of Family Caregiver & Health Promotion Specialist. She is tenacious and motivated by a passion for serving others, especially those who sometimes cannot advocate for themselves. Amber is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a concentration in Gerontology. In her free time, Amber enjoys exploring the Appalachian Mountains while trying to keep up with her two huskies, Layla and Balto.
(828) 265-5434 ext.113
The High Country’s Family Caregiver Support Program “There are only four kinds of people in the world: Those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” –Rosalynn Carter More than 65 million people, 29% of the United States population, provide care for chronically ill, disabled, or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend on average 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. Caregivers are the single most important factor in keeping an older adult in their home instead of in a long-term care facility. Caregiver’s do so much and carry an immense amount of pressure, stress, and anxiety every single day. Our main goal with the High Country Area Agency on Aging Family Caregiver Support Program is to help in any way we can to take some of the stress off of the shoulders of a caregiver. The Family Caregiver Support Program of the High Country Area Agency on Aging offers services and support for caregivers. Our goal is to provide caregivers with the needed support to reduce depression, anxiety, and stress and enable them to provide care longer, thereby avoiding or delaying the need for costly institutional care.
Who is a caregiver? • • • •
Provide personal care such as toileting, bathing, dressing, assist with eating, or ambulation Help with shopping, medical appointments, finances, housework, and home repairs Seek information and assistance in acquiring services for your loved one Help your loved one manage healthcare, appointments, and coordinating services while you are living an hour or more away • Oversee the care of your loved one while they reside in a facility
Family caregiver support program services Respite services • Respite is typically defined as a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant. Respite for caregivers can take on many forms with the ultimate goal of helping to share in the responsibility of caregiving and providing support. Utilizing respite care prior to becoming exhausted, isolated, or overwhelmed is ideal and the simple anticipation of relief can greatly reduce stress and anxiety. Support groups and additional services • Connection to Resources & Services • Support Groups • Case Management & In-Home Assessments • Educational Programs: For additional information on the High Country Area Agency on Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, contact: Amber Chapman, Family Caregiver and Health Promotion Specialist Phone Number: 828.265.5434 x113 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NC Lifespan Respite Project...Helping a Caregiver get the Break They Deserve! The High Country COG administers the North Carolina Lifespan Respite Award Program. Over 200 vouchers have been awarded to caregivers in the state of North Carolina since September 2018. Respite care offers individuals or family members temporary relief from the daily routine and stress that can come with providing care. These funds are made available by the US Administration on Community Living. The most recent grant indicates “These programs seek to improve the well-being of families by coordinating existing respite systems, providing education and training opportunities and expanding respite services.” Pat Guarnieri, COG Lifespan Respite Coordinator, indicated that the NC Lifespan Program defines respite as “a break for unpaid caregivers who provide ongoing care for an individual of any age who needs help, care or supervision due to disability, chronic condition or other special needs. Respite is intended to provide relief to the caregiver. Pat says that Caregivers are often very appreciative of the Lifespan Respite Program as evidenced in their comments by phone or notes of thanks. Comments like “This was a life saver!” and “You have no idea how much I need some time away” are indicative of the intensity of their daily requirements. Activities they pursue during respite often include the following: *go to their own doctor appointments, *spend quality time with spouse/children/grandchildren or friends *go to church *get some exercise *get some sleep *read or have alone time. These are often the type of activities that most of us taken for granted and seem simple – but are often unavailable to a caregiver who has no time left in the day. One caregiver carefully penned his desires by writing the following which expressed some of the “lost” activities a caregiver recalls that will help restore energy and reignite lost joy. One day I will enjoy fishing One day I will hike in the rain One day I will sleep until day breaks One day I will go to the library…. and read the entire day in complete solitude For more information about the North Carolina Lifespan Respite Program, visit: https://www.highcountryaging.org/services/lifespan-respite-project.
Contact Person: Pat Guarnieri
(828) 265-5434 ext.139
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited. Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, abuse occurs in every demographic and can happen to anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you. It is estimated that only one in five of these crimes are reported. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN). World Elder Abuse Awareness Day aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic circumstances affecting elder abuse and neglect. In addition, WEAAD is held in support of the UN International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. This observance is a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to lift our voices—and those of older survivors—and raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The good news is that we can prevent and address the issue of elder abuse. There are many ways to strengthen our social supports through policies, services, and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age. • • • •
We can design and equip community centers to work as intergenerational spaces that allow older people to build relationships and participate in the work, play, and life of our neighborhoods. We can think about the role of transportation in reducing social isolation and adjust systems so that we can all continue to move throughout our communities as we age. We can figure out new and better ways to arrange and coordinate the teams, agencies, and programs that work specifically with older people. We can develop programs to educate families and professionals who work with older adults to understand the importance of preventing isolation, how to spot the warning signs of abuse, and what to do to address abuse or neglect.
By doing all that we can to strengthen the social support structure, we can reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse, and build a nation that lives up to our promise of justice for all.
Contact Person: Stevie John
The High Country Area Agency on Aging is commemorating WEAAD by hosting an awareness event at the Watauga Public Library on June 14th from 1-5pm. Please come by and show your support. For more information about the National Center on Elder Abuse visit: https://ncea.acl.gov/ or contact Stevie John, Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman, sjohn@regiond. org or 828-265-5434 x126. To report abuse, neglect, or exploitation, call your local department of social services.
(828) 265-5434 ext.126
“The MIND Diet and a Healthy Aging Brain” For years, researchers have investigated ways to slow cognitive decline and improve how the brain ages. According to a team of researchers from Rush University Medical Center, an individual’s diet may play a key role in determining the rate of cognitive decline as we age. The researchers used prior research to create a diet based on the foods and nutrients that can have positive effects on brain function. The diet, known as the MIND diet, is short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The MIND diet has 15 dietary components: Enjoy: Avoid: Green leafy vegetables: 6 servings/week Red meat: max of 4 servings/week Other vegetables: 1 serving/day Butter/margarine: max of 1 tablespoon/day Nuts: 5 servings/week Cheese: max of 1 serving/week Berries: 2 or more servings/week Pastries and sweets: max of 5 servings/week Beans: 3 servings/week Fried or fast food: max of one serving/week Whole grains: 3 or more servings/day Fish: 1 serving/week Poultry: 2 servings/week Wine: 1 serving/day Olive oil: Use as cooking oil According to Rush, study participants whose diets most closely aligned with the MIND diet had significantly slower rates of cognitive decline when compared to those who did not follow the MIND diet guidelines. Furthermore, this effect was significant regardless of the participant’s age, gender, education level, or level of physical and cognitive activity. While more research is being conducted to better understand how a person’s diet influences their cognitive wellbeing, it is safe to say the MIND diet has highlighted the relationship between eating and cognitive aging. For additional information about the latest research and interventions for maintaining cognitive health throughout the lifespan, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/healthybrain/roadmap.htm
National Volunteer Month April was National Volunteer Month, a time to recognize the individuals who donate their time and resources to help improve the community. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in 2017 North Carolina had over 2.8 million volunteers contribute over 265 million hours of service. These service hours were valued at approximately 6.4 billion dollars. North Carolinians volunteer at a higher rate than the national average, and over half of North Carolina’s residents donated more than 25 dollars in 2018. Additionally, researchers found that around the country, veterans are among the most likely to do favors for neighbors and donate to charities. Individuals who volunteer are not only generous with their time, but also with their dollars. CNCS found those who volunteer donate to charity at twice the rate of those who do not volunteer. Additionally, people who volunteer are twice as likely to do favors for neighbors, and three times more likely to do something positive for the community when compared to non-volunteers. Researchers also discovered personal benefits associated with volunteering. CNCS found those who volunteer have a 27 percent higher chance of finding employment after being out of work than unemployed nonvolunteers. In addition, volunteers without a high school diploma have a 51 percent higher likelihood of finding employment when compared to non-volunteers with similar education levels. Furthermore, volunteers who reside in rural areas increase their chances of finding employment by 55 percent when compared to nonvolunteers who live in similar areas. It is evident the personal and societal benefits associated with volunteering have a significant impact on the individuals and communities within our region. 16
The High Country Area Agency on Aging would like to say thank you to all the volunteers throughout our region who make many of our programs and services possible!
Older Americans Month 2019: Connect, Create, Contribute Each year, more and more older adults are making a positive impact in and around the High Country as volunteers, employees, employers, educators, mentors, advocates, and more, they offer insight and experience that benefit the entire community. That’s why Older Americans Month (OAM) has been recognizing the contributions of this growing population for 56 years. Led by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) each May, OAM provides resources to help older Americans stay healthy, independent, and help communities support and celebrate their diversity.
This year’s OAM theme, Connect, Create, Contribute, encourages older adults and their communities to: • Connect with friends, family, and local services and resources. • Create through activities that promote learning, health, and personal enrichment. • Contribute time, talent, and life experience to benefit others.
The High Country Area Agency on Aging oversees the senior centers in our seven county region: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties. We encourage everyone to contact the senior center in your county to discover ways to participate and volunteer in the many programs being offered during Older American’s Month and throughout the year. Alleghany Council on Aging, Inc. – 336-372-4640 Ashe Services for Aging, Inc. – 336-246-4347 Avery Senior Services – 828-733-8220 Mitchell Senior Center – 828-688-3019 Watauga County Project on Aging – 828-265-8090 Wilkes Senior Resources – 336-667-5281 Yancey County Senior Center – 828-682-6011 Communities that support and recognize older adults are stronger! For additional information on the High Country Area Agency on Aging visit: www.highcountryaging.org
The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature (STHL) convened its first session of 2019 at the Rural Center in Raleigh, North Carolina on March 12-13. The allembracing theme, advocating for seasoned seniors, was apparent with each speaker. Seniors are an increasing part of our population and there is an obvious decline in services and supports, as well as caregivers. Joyce Massey-Smith, Director, Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) gave an update of her Division. She recognized Dorothy Crawford, a member of the NC STHL with Representative Ray Russell STHL who will be 101 in April, and shared with the group that the Dorothy R. Crawford Award was given this year in Ms. Crawford’s honor. This will be the first award named after a woman. The Director also shared information about Adult Protective Service (APS) and stated that county departments of social services received 30,000 complaints this past year, which is a significant increase since last year. Later in the program, the STHL’s Past Speaker, Althea Taylor-Jones, was presented the Andrus award by Charmaine Fuller-Cooper, Associate State Director, NC AARP. Charmaine Fuller-Cooper spoke to the group with a profound statement, “One person can make a difference.” She shared that there were 1.3 million unpaid caregivers in North Carolina. AARP is supporting them with the North Carolina Caregivers Act (House Bill 269/ Senate Bill 161) known as the three I’s.
1. 2. 3.
IDENTIFY caregivers on hospital admissions. INFORM caregivers. INCLUDE and INSTRUCT caregivers upon discharge.
AARP has also partnered with the United Way to provide a means of helping people find healthcare in rural areas by establishing, “DIAL 211.” Roger Manus, Chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging, gave a thought-provoking presentation on advocacy. Manus stated, “The advocate must recognize that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. We are resources of the Older Americans Act (OAA), a part of a larger movement that will continue long after we are gone. We devote ourselves NC STHL with Representative Josh Dobson to something we will never see the conclusion of this lifetime.” The members met their legislators the second day of the meeting at the General Assembly and advocated for the STHL’s top five priorities including:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Increase funding for North Carolina Home and Community Care Block Grant. Maintain and Increase Funding for Senior Centers. Increase funding for Project CARE (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty). Strengthen and Fund North Carolina’s Adult Protective Program (APS). Staff-to-Patient Ratios in Nursing Homes.
The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature promotes Citizens involvement and Advocacy concerning aging issues before the General Assembly, as well as the needs of older adults by convening a forum modeled after the North Carolina General Assembly. For more information please visit us on Facebook or visit our website at: http://www.ncsthl.org.
Planning and Development Staff Phil Trew
Director email@example.com ext.121
Senior Planner firstname.lastname@example.org ext.114
Regional Planner email@example.com ext.118
Regional Planner firstname.lastname@example.org ext.115
Transportation Planner email@example.com ext.135
GIS Planner firstname.lastname@example.org ext.134
Department Highlights | www.regiond.org Alleghany County Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan Alleghany County, with assistance from High Country Council of Governments, just completed an update of their Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan. The plan is intended to be a framework from which the County and the Parks and Recreation Department can further develop its park system. The plan update consisted of a review of current demographics in the County, an inventory of existing park facilities and programs, and input from the community to develop goals for the Parks and Recreation Department and provide recommendations for future recreational projects. Community input was an important aspect of the planning process and was completed in several ways. A community recreation survey was distributed, both by paper and electronically; community meetings were held; and interviews were conducted with recreational stakeholders in the county. The final plan provides recommendations for the growing needs for recreation in Alleghany County and will guide the actions concerning future recreation facilities, renovation of existing facilities, and cooperative efforts in providing recreation opportunities. 19
United Chemi-Con Building Reuse High Country COG recently worked with Ashe County to secure a $100,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Rural Building Reuse Program. Grant funding will be used by a local manufacturing company, United Chemi-Con, to replace an aging roof membrane and upgrade lighting at their facility in Lansing. United ChemiCon is North Americaâ€™s largest manufacturer and supplier of aluminum electrolytic capacitors and employs approximately 145 full-time employees in Ashe County. The renovation project has a total budget of $376,000 and will result in the creation of ten new jobs at the facility. Grant funding was awarded in December 2018 following a competitive application process. The NC Department of Commerce Rural Building Reuse Program provides funding for the renovation of vacant buildings, buildings occupied by an existing North Carolina company wishing to expand, or the renovation, expansion, or construction of health care entities. All projects must lead to the direct creation of new, fulltime jobs. Only units of local government are eligible to apply for the grant. Awards are made on a rolling basis. High Country COG staff can assist communities with the application as well as grant administration following award.
Farmland Preservation Plan Completed for Ashe County Ashe County recently completed a farmland preservation plan with the assistance of High Country Council of Governments. Funded with a grant from the North Carolina Agricultural Development & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, recommendations in the plan will help preserve farmland primarily by maintaining and improving the viability of farming. The plan provides direction for those in the agricultural community by offering a clear view of what options are available, possible, and acceptable for farmland preservation. In addition, having a plan qualifies the County for reduced matching funds when applying for grants from the Trust Fund. Getting input from farmers through a survey and in-depth interviews was an important aspect in the development of the plan. Weather, finding adequate labor, and crop damage by wildlife were among the top ten challenges identified by farmers. Presentuse value taxation, youth education, and estate planning ranked highest as actions that are important to maintaining and improving agriculture in the county. Recommendations include constructing a livestock center, promoting agricultural conservation easements, and educating the public about agriculture in the county. Ashe County has 1,140 farms, which cover 41% of the total land area. The farm economy is dominated by Fraser fir Christmas tree production and beef cattle, though other products- such as pumpkins- are not insignificant. The County produces more Christmas trees than any other county in the United States, and ranks 13th among North Carolinaâ€™s 100 counties in the number of cattle. Pumpkins are grown on approximately 1,000 acres. Agriculture is the countyâ€™s number one economic sector, with annual income totaling $102 million, ranking Ashe high among the counties in the state with the highest farm receipts.
Wilkesboro GIS Application Development High Country Council of Governments has developed a series of applications (apps) using ESRI’s ArcGIS Online for the Town’s Public Works and Fire Department. ArcGIS Online allows HCCOG GIS staff to develop userfriendly and cost-efficient mobile solutions to meet the needs of local governments. The apps and data are hosted on ESRI’s server allowing the user access and use of the product in the field on smartphones or tablets with a cellular service. HCCOG developed Collector or ArcGIS apps for the Town’s Public Works to utilize in the field on iPads. The Water and Sewer ORCs view and collect data pertinent to the management of the water and sewer system GIS databases. HCCOG has mapped the Town’s water and stormwater systems and is currently mapping the sewer system. Therefore, Town staff can view extensive attributes of all system features in the field, as well as, collecting new point data for water leaks, known issues/problems, new feature installations and/or new features found. The Collector app is used for reference, locating and sharing system data. It is also utilized for maintaining the system GIS data on a continual basis in partnership with HCCOG GIS staff. HCCOG also developed two apps for the Wilkesboro Fire Department using Collector for ArcGIS. Fire Department staff use a Hydrant Flushing app on iPads to track which hydrants have been flushed and to record information such as hydrant tag number, flow PSI, any issues with the hydrants, date hydrant has been flushed, etc. Once a hydrant has been flushed, it’s symbol on the app turns from green to red. The Fire Chief can quickly see a district-wide view of which hydrant have been flushed, and the percentage. Also, the HCCOG previously mapped all fire response pre-plan features for the Wilkesboro Fire Department in September 2018. This project involved mapping pre-plan features for all commercial buildings including entry/exit doors, roof-top ladders/accesses, electrical panels, fire alarm panels, FDCs, natural gas shut-off, elevators, solar panel shut-off, fuel storage tanks, Knox boxes, stand-by generators, etc. This resulted in GIS data that is shared with Wilkes County Communications and is visible in the Computer Aided Dispatch System. Also, the Fire Department can view all fuel storage tanks that exist within the flood hazard zone for storm preparation. In March 2019, the HCCOG developed a Collector for ArcGIS application with this data for the Fire Inspector. Each time a new building is built the fire inspector uses the Collector App on an iPad to edit the pre-plan features. This allows the Fire Department to keep fire response pre-plans updated. Also, the HCCOG has access to the edited data and can update the County CAD server.
West Jefferson Stormwater High Country Council of Governments GIS completed stormwater system mapping for the Town of West Jefferson in January 2019. High Country COG was awarded a 205( j) Water Quality Management Planning Grant from the NC Department of Environmental Quality to perform the project. 205( j) grants are eligible to regional Councils of Governments. HCCOG completed a full mapping-grade GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) inventory collection of all the stormwater system infrastructure features within the town limits across private and public properties. The HCCOG received assistance from townâ€™s Public Works staff to locate stormwater features, lift grates, provide traffic control, provide a working knowledge of the system and measure invert depths. The HCCOG mapped stormwater inlets, outfalls and retentions basins while collecting detailed attributes and capturing a hyper-linked photograph. All stormwater pipes were digitized according to the correct direction of flow. HCCOG also digitized building gutter and drains where they were visible entering inlets (stormwater junction boxes/manholes) and ditch lines. The stormwater system GIS data allows West Jefferson town staff to manage stormwater system infrastructure and water quality. The data assists the town with planning for and locating stormwater system features in need of repair and/or replacement. Due to the comprehensive inventory of attributes collected in the field, the town will be enabled to address erosion, street and site flooding during storm events, pollutant and stream quality concerns and/or implement appropriate BMPs.
CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization Program Awards In April of 2018 the NC Department of Commerce Rural Economic Development Division (REDD) announced that $10,000,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding was available for housing rehabilitation assistance through a Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). This is the first time since the dissolution of the Scattered Site Housing programs in 2012 that the Department of Commerce has offered any CDBG housing rehabilitation assistance. The CDBG-NRP program, through REDD, was made available to all non-entitlement cities and non-urban counties in North Carolina. All High County COG members were eligible to apply. The program provided up to $750,000 in funds for local governments to provide major rehabilitation assistance, reconstruction assistance, and/or emergency repair assistance to low- and moderate-income homeowners. No local matching funds were required. Three High County counties applied for the 2018 program - Avery, Mitchell and Wilkes. All three counties were awarded NRP funding; Avery - $610,000, Mitchell - $750,000, and Wilkes - $634,500. Homes were preselected to participate in the rehabilitation and reconstruction portions of the projects with a total of 23 homes to be assisted throughout the three counties. Avery and Wilkes Counties elected to include emergency repairs in their budget. These homes have not been designated yet. Both counties anticipate helping at least 10 additional homes with emergency repairs. All work on the NRP grant must be completed within 2Â˝ years of the State award. The current cycle for CDBG-NRP funding opened April 16, 2019, with applications due by July 16, 2019. Grant administration assistance can be provided by High County COG.
Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Projects HIGHWAY PROJECTS
US 221 (R-2915): US 421 to US 221 Business/NC 88 US 221, US 421 in Watauga County to US 221 Business/ NC 88 in Jefferson. Widen to four lanes divided, Under Construction US 19E (R-2519B): Jacks Creek Rd to Spruce Pine US 19E, SR 1336 (Jacks Creek Road) to multi-lane section west of Spruce Pine. Widen to multi-lanes. (Includes B-3268), Under Construction NC 268 (R-2603): NC 18 to Airport Road NC 268, Multi-lanes east of NC 18 to SR 1966. Widen to multi-lanes, Under Construction Sparta Western Loop (R-4060): Grandview Drive to US 21 US 21 Sparta Western Loop, SR 1172 (Grandview Drive) to US 21. Two lanes on new location, Under Construction US 421/US 321 (R-2615): US 321/US421 Junction Near Vilas to 105 Bypass Widen to Multi-Lanes, Right-of-Way 2022, Construction 2024 NC 105 (R-2566B): NC 105, Clarks Creek Road to NC 105 Bypass (Boone) NC 105, Old Shulls Mill (SR 1568) to SR NC 105 Bypass (SR1107) in Boone. Widen to multi-lanes (includes R-2566BA - Bridge over Watauga River at Broadstone Road). Section B: Construction 2023, Section BA: Construction 2020 US 421 (U-5312): Yadkin River Bridge to Westgate Drive US 421, NC 16 to US 421 Business. Convert existing roadway to superstreet and add service roads, Construction 2021 US 221/321, NC 105 Intersection (U-5705) Construct Upgrades, Construction 2021 US 321/421, King Street/College Street Intersection (U-5715) Construct Improvements, Construction 2019 Bamboo Road (SR 1514); Wilson Ridge Road (SR 1523), US 421/US221 to Deerfield Road (SR 1522) (U-5810) Widen Roadway to 12-foot lanes with 4-foot paved shoulders, Construction 2020 SR 1522 (Deerfield Road), State Farm Road to SR 1523 (Wilson Ridge Road) (R-5830) Upgrade Roadway, Construction 2020 NC 105, US 321 to NC 105 Bypass (U-5603) Upgrade Roadway. (Superstreet Design Proposed, Construction 2021 NC 115, From US 421 to 2nd Street (R-5759) Widen Existing Roadway, Construction 2021
Bamboo Rd. (SR 1514); Wilson Ridge Rd (SR 1523), US 421/US221 to Deerfield Rd (SR 1522) (U-5810)
SR 1001 (Oakwoods Road), From US 421 to NC268 (East Main St.) (R-5772) Upgrade Existing Roadway, Construction 2022
Draft 2020-2029 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Projects HIGHWAY PROJECTS (CONT.)
NC 88, NC 88 to NC 194 (R-5832) Upgrade roadway, Construction 2024
NC 226, From Blue Ridge Parkway to Summit Avenue (R-5804) Widen Roadway to 3 Lanes, Construction 2024 US 421 & Poplar Grove Connector Intersection (R-5872) Construct Roundabout, Construction 2026 NC 194/US 19E Intersection (R-5911) Construct right turn lane from US 19E northbound to NC 194, Construction 2022 Wilkesboro-North Wilkesboro Bypass, NC 18 to US 421 (R-0616) Construct multi-lane facility, part on new location, Construction 2027 US 19E, East of Spruce Pine to Mullin Hill Road (R-2520-A) Widen to multi-lanes, Construction 2025
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
Yancey County Transit Facility (TA-6723) Construct office, training, maintenance facility, Construction 2021
BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN PROJECTS
US 221 Sidewalk from Moses H. Cone Memorial Park to Main Street Blowing Rock (EB-5798) Construct sidewalk along US 221, Construction 2019 Middle Fork Greenway Section I From Blowing Rock along US 321 to the Blue Ridge Parkway (EB-5924) Construct Greenway along US 321, Construction 2019 US 421 Multi-Use Path from Grove Street to Brookshire Road (EB-5983) Construct multi-use path, Construction 2025
Ashe County Airport (AV-5750) Acquire land and existing hangers north of runway 10 threshold and adjacent to airport property, Right-ofWay in Progress Ashe County Airport (AV-5848) Construct apron expansions, Construction 2022 Wilkes County Airport (AV-5894) Extend runway to 7,000 feet, Construction 2024
US 221 (R-2915): US 421 to US 221 Business/NC 88
Workforce Development Staff Keith Deveraux Rebecca Bloomquist
Director email@example.com ext.130
NCWorks Operations Manager firstname.lastname@example.org ext.119
Communications and Business Services Coordinator email@example.com ext.136
Lynda H. Greene
Financial and Compliance Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org ext.120
Department Highlights | www.highcountrywdb.com | Welcome to Workforce! The High Country Workforce Development Board would like to welcome the following new staff to its local career centers: Jeffrey Cope, Career Advisor at the Ashe NCWorks Career Center Scott Hinkson, Goodwill Employment Specialist at the Watauga NCWorks Career Center Laura Patrick, Career Advisor at the Watauga NCWorks Career Center Alan Wyatt, Career Advisor in the Alleghany and Ashe NCWorks Career Centers
Congratulations from the Watauga NCWorks Career Center The NCWorks Career Center in Boone is very proud to announce that two of its customers, Joseph Gilmore and Mindy Trivette, have accepted positions as Registered Nurses with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Joseph and Mindy come highly recommended by Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and NCWorks as they have showed discipline, perseverance, and refinement in their studies and in the community. Mindy will be starting her career in Nursing as a Surgical Orthopedic Nurse, and Joseph will begin his career in Nursing as an Intensive Care Unit Nurse. We are all very proud of everything they have accomplished!
Partnership for Hospitality Through a partnership with Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina and with support from the Boone Chamber of Commerce, Watauga County employers have the opportunity to participate in a new Guest Service Professional skills training initiative. The Guest Service Professional is a comprehensive 6-hour program to train service-oriented employees to provide memorable customer service. Class activities are centered on seven brief stories designated to motivate and inspire hotel and other hospitality employees to go above and beyond the call of duty. Upon completion, students will receive a certificate from Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute and have the opportunity to test for the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute for Guest Service Gold Certification.
Employees from The Inn at Crestwood Restaurant & Spa
Employees from Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Boone
Photo Credits: Wysteria White, Boone Chamber of Commerce
Wilkes NCWorks Career Center and Samaritan’s Kitchen On Friday, December 7, 2018 the staff of the NCWorks Career Center in North Wilkesboro took a tour of Samaritan’s Kitchen in Wilkesboro. Samaritan’s Kitchen of Wilkes operates Project Backpack which provides a backpack of meals to children identified teachers and school counselors as food insecure as well as a Food Pantry which provides 60 pounds of groceries to those in need each month. While on the facility tour, the career center staff performed various community outreach tasks, which included assisting with the backpack, pantry, and pet projects.
Mitchell County Maximizes The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the High Country Workforce Development Board, received $75,000 Maximize Carolina grant through the NC Department of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions for a workforce education and awareness outreach campaign. The Mitchell County Economic Development, Duke Energy, and the NC General Assembly are providing additional funding for the project. The goal of the campaign is to educate students, young adults, and their parents about the career opportunities available in Mitchell County and the pathways they must take to obtain jobs in these fields as well as create a pipeline of talent for local industries. Project funding will be used for content creation such as a website, videos, and other outreach mediums. Student involvement is key to the initiative. In March, focus groups facilitated by Patti Jensen of the Mitchell County Chamber, were held with Mitchell County High School students to get their input on branding for the project. Then during the schools Career Fair, students were asked to vote on their choice for the initiativeâ€™s name and look. The selected choice will be unveiled in the Fall of 2019. Photo Credits: Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce
Mitchell County High School students participating in a focus group facilitated by Patti Jensen of the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce
Students voting on the initiative branding at the Mitchell County High School Career Fair
Wilkes County Partnership Receives Workforce Development Innovation Grant On Tuesday, February 26, 2019 Governor Roy Cooper announced awardees of the Innovation Grants as part of his NC Job Ready initiative. NC Job Ready workforce initiative is built on three core principles: helping North Carolinians get the skills and education they need to be ready for jobs available now and in the future; using employer leadership to keep training relevant to evolving industry needs; and taking great local innovations and applying them statewide. The NCWorks Local Innovation Fund supports projects addressing an underserved community or population currently disconnected from the education and workforce system; bringing together diverse community organizations; helping workers increase their education and skills; and developing talent pipelines for indemand, high-wage occupations. The Wilkes Partnership grant of $98,013 will support the development of an action plan for workforce transportation in the area. Partners include Wilkes Community College (project lead), High Country Workforce Development Board, North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions, the NCWorks Career Center in Wilkes County, North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Goodwill Industries, Wilkes Economic Development Corporation, Wilkes County Department of Social Services and the North Wilkesboro Housing Authority. The grant is a one-year capacity grant to help build additional ability to strengthen partnerships, identify community needs and resources, and build local support.
Pictured: Keith Deveraux, HCWDB Director; Governor Roy Cooper; and Debbie Woodard, Dean, College & Career Readiness, Wilkes Community College 30
Administrative Staff and Meeting Schedule
www.regiond.org | (828) 265-5434 Administration Staff Julie Page
Executive Director email@example.com ext.125
Finance Officer firstname.lastname@example.org ext.109
Finance Technician email@example.com ext.103
Communications & Marketing Manager firstname.lastname@example.org ext.101
Receptionist email@example.com ext.100
Information Systems Specialist firstname.lastname@example.org ext.110
Meeting Schedule High Country Council of Governments
Executive Board Meeting 7:00pm on the 3rd Monday of the month (except January and September)
Workforce Development Board 2:30pm on the 2nd Thursday in January, March, May, July, September, and November
Area Agency on Aging
Planning & Development
Regional Advisory Council on Aging Meets Quarterly
RPO Rural Transportation Advisory Committee 2:00pm on the 3rd Wednesday in February, May, August, and December
Senior Tar Heel Legislature Meets in March, June, and October AAA Provider Meeting Meets Quarterly
RPO Rural Transportation Coordinating Committee 10:00am on the 3rd Wednesday of February, May, August, and November
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A biyearly newsletter of the High Country Council of Governments