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Newsletter of the High Country Council of Governments Vol. 35 / Issue 2 / October 2015


41st Annual Banquet The banquet was a time to celebrate service, dedication, consensus, relationships, and cooperation among local governments and stakeholders. During the event, local elected officials, government employees, and board members were recognized for exemplary leadership and service.

Also in this issue . . .


New Town Manager Beech Mountain Town Council hires Ed Evans


Apps Developed for Ashe 3 apps showcase unique features of Ashe County


Wilkes County Ag Center New agricultural center dedicated


HCCF Fundraising Events Fundraising for High Country Caregivers



Incumbent Worker Training Funding now available for the fall 2015 cycle

New Officers for HCWDB Meet Sallie J. Woodring and Justin Ray

2014–2015 Executive Board Chairman: Gary D. Blevins Vice-Chair: Brenda Lyerly Secretary: Johnny Riddle Treasurer: Valerie Jaynes Minority Representative Paul L. Robinson, Jr. Alleghany County Tom Smith, Chair Chris Jones, Councilman, Sparta Ashe County Dale Baldwin, Mayor, West Jefferson Mark Johnston, Alderman, Jefferson Brien Richardson, Commissioner Brenda Reeves, Alderwoman, Lansing Avery County Valerie Jaynes, Mayor, Newland Gunther JÜchl, Mayor Pro Tem, Sugar Mountain Brenda Lyerly, Mayor, Banner Elk Rick Miller, Councilman, Beech Mountain Maxine Laws, Commissioner Tudor Vance, Mayor, Crossnore Joel Whitley, Alderman, Elk Park Mitchell County Rocky Buchanan, Mayor, Spruce Pine Bill Slagle, Commissioner Charles Vines, Mayor, Bakersville Watauga County Rennie Brantz, Mayor Pro Tem, Boone Larry Fontaine, Mayor, Seven Devils J.B. Lawrence, Mayor, Blowing Rock Jimmy Hodges, Chair Wilkes County Gary D. Blevins, Chair Victor Varela, Mayor, Ronda Jimmy Hayes, Mayor Pro Tem,Wilkesboro Robert L. Johnson, Mayor, North Wilkesboro Yancey County Theresa Coletta, Mayor, Burnsville Johnny Riddle, Chair

High Country COG Staff 828-265-5434 828-265-5439 Administration


Mickey Duvall Executive Director / x.125

Sammy J. Ragsdale Finance Officer / x.109

Kathy Combs Receptionist / x.100

Mary Goodnight Finance Assistant / x.103

Tanna Greathouse Clerk to the Board / x.101

Planning & Development

Fred Sides Information Systems Specialist / x.110

Area Agency on Aging

Julie Wiggins Director / x.126 Nicole Hiegl Aging Services Coordinator / x.113 Cindy Lamb Local Contact Agency Program Coordinator / x.118 Brenda Reece Family Caregiver Support Specialist / x.128 Diane Tilson Aging Program Assistant / x.141 Laura Jane Ward Regional Ombudsman / x.126

(P) (F)

Phillip Trew Director / x.121

Michelle Ball Community Development Planner / x.115 Jessica Brannock GIS Planner / x.134 Kelly Coffey Senior Planner / x.114 David Graham Transportation Planner / x.135

Workforce Development

Adrian Tait Director x.130 Misty Bishop-Price Systems Manager x.119 Rebecca Bloomquist Special Projects Coordinator x.136 Don Sherrill Operations Director x.120

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41st Annual Banquet On September 4, 2015, High Country Council of Governments (Region D) held its annual awards banquet to recognize outstanding achievements and contributions by elected officials, local government employees, and advisory committee members. High Country Council of Governments (HCCOG) is a planning and development agency serving local governments in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties. Award winners were selected by elected and appointed officials from the seven-county region. HCCOG Executive Director, Dr. Mickey Duvall, presented the first four awards. Alleghany County Manager Don Adams was recognized by the region’s managers and administrators as this year’s Outstanding Local Government Manager in the High Country region.

Don Adams, Outstanding Manager/Administrator

The award acknowledges the contributions a manager has made to local government through his/her professionalism, leadership, and accomplishments as manager or chief administrator. Adams has served Alleghany County as its manager for 18 years, and was nominated for his fair and forwardthinking judgement. He serves on numerous boards and commissions to further advance the needs of Alleghany County citizens, and accomplishes great things by always looking for ways to do things better for less cost without harming citizens or employees. Nominators describe Adams as a pleasure to work with, extremely knowledgeable, and has excellent visioning skills.

Ed Rosenberg, Outstanding STHL Member

Watauga County resident, Dr. Ed Rosenberg, was recognized as this year’s Outstanding Senior Tar Heel Legislature / Advisory Committee on Aging member. Dr. Rosenberg has served as the alternate for Watauga County since 2010. He was the first chair of the NC Gerontology Consortium which was the first group to organize and make available online gerontology courses across the state. Dr. Rosenberg has been published in numerous gerontology journals and reference works, and currently serves on the Watauga County Home and Community Care Block Grant Advisory Committee. The NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature consists of two representatives from each county who advocate for Continued on next page...

Mike Inscore, Outstanding RPO RTAC Member

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the needs of older adults to the North Carolina General Assembly. The High Country delegation also serves as the Advisory Committee on Aging for the region. Wilkesboro Mayor Mike Inscore was recognized as this year’s Outstanding Rural Transportation Advisory Committee (RTAC) Member by his fellow board members. This award recognizes an individual’s contribution to the region as a whole and their knowledge of the region’s transportation needs. Mayor Inscore has served on the RTAC for 4 years with superb attendance. He’s a very active and engaging member of the committee and represents it well. As a member of his county’s Comprehensive Transportation Plan Steering Committee, he has provided, and continues to provide, valuable input from a local perspective.

Rhonda Herman, Outstanding HCWDB Member

Ashe County resident Rhonda Herman received the Outstanding Workforce Development Board Member award from her peers on the board. The High Country Workforce Development Board is a volunteer group of business and community leaders charged with developing regional workforce policy. Members support and encourage the local economy by working together to build a stronger workforce. Herman has been a board member since July 2012, and led efforts to create a region-wide comprehensive labor market report that was released in 2013. In the same year, she helped develop and implement a regional strategic plan for workforce development. Herman has advocated for the High Country Workforce Development Board during multiple trips to Washington, DC and served as the board’s chair for the 2014-2015 program year. Executive Board Chairman and Wilkes County Commissioner, Gary D. Blevins, presented the next two awards, and applauded all local government officials, local committee members, and citizen volunteers for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. West Jefferson Mayor Dale Baldwin was recognized by elected officials as the Outstanding Local Government Elected Official in the High Country region. The award honors outstanding leadership and service to the community and region by a town or county elected official.

Dale Baldwin, Outstanding Local Elected Official

Mayor Baldwin began his career in local government in 1968 as Alderman for the Town of West Jefferson, and he served in that role for 15 years. His service continued as Mayor of West Jefferson for a total of 14 years – and he happens to be the 2nd longest term mayor in West Jefferson during its 100-year history. As a public servant, he has passionately advocated for his town and the surrounding High Country. In 2008 he received the Order of the Long

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Leaf Pine from the Governor. The High Country Council of Governments’ Executive Board chose Yancey County Commissioner Johnny Riddle as their Outstanding Executive Board Member (not pictured). This award honors service and effort in promoting cooperation among local governments in the region and the state. Riddle has served on the Executive Board for 5 years, and currently serves as Secretary. He has served his county for 7 years as a Commissioner – with 5 of those as Chair. Commissioner Riddle is described by his nominators as having the ability to listen to different perspectives and come up with solutions all parties can agree to. He’s a problem-solver, coalition builder, and genuinely cares about what’s best for people in his county and the region. HCCOG would like to congratulate all award recipients and thank them for their dedicated service to High Country citizens.

Photo Highlights from the 41st Annual Banquet All photos © Sarah Weiffenbach 2015

Click Here for Online Photo Album

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All photos © Sarah Weiffenbach 2015

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Beech Mountain Hires New Town Manager Beech Mountain’s Town Council voted unanimously Friday, September 18, 2015 to hire Ed Evans, who has worked as Seven Devils Town Manager since April 2009, to take the helm as their new Town Manager. In their search for a qualified candidate, the Town Council recognized the positive momentum that the Town has gained in moving towards its goals and sought a leader capable of sustaining and leveraging this momentum to continue making Beech Mountain a wonderful place to be in the High Country. Ed Evans stood out among candidates with his extensive education, experience, and character. Ed holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Planning and a Master’s degree in Public Administration, both from Appalachian State University. In addition to these degrees, Ed has furthered his education in the field of Local Government development and administration by earning a Certified Zoning Official (CZO) designation and pursuing a certification as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). As the Town Manager for Seven Devils, Ed has hands-on experience in managing a resort town and tourist destination in the mountains of Western North Carolina. He is familiar with the numerous unique challenges faced in such communities and has succeeded in many of the same roles he will hold in Beech Mountain. His work included extensive involvement with areas such as public relations, grant writing, and project management. These strengths will be advantageous to Beech Mountain as the Town Ed Evans, Beech Mountain Town Manager continues to implement its long-range Comprehensive Plan and the recommendations of the Beech Mountain Water and Sewer Study. Perhaps most importantly, Ed has demonstrated character and the ability to lead others through his distinguished service in the U.S. Marine Corps and his leadership of the Town of Seven Devils. In his role with Seven Devils, Ed successfully cultivated productive working relationships with his staff, elected officials, and the community which enabled the Town to improve services while maintaining sound fiscal policies. Ed’s diverse and extensive background and experiences make him exceptionally qualified to lead Beech Mountain as the Town continues to move onward with its current and future projects and programs. He will assume his duties as Beech Mountain’s Town Manager on Monday, October 19, 2015.

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Wilkes County Agricultural Center Dedication, Ribbon Cutting, and Open House

NC Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Wilkes is well positioned to benefit from efforts to add value to North Carolina’s agricultural products. Troxler said Gov. Pat McCrory created the Food Manufacturing Task Force to play to North Carolina’s strength, which he said is agriculture. He said it’s the top industry in the state, accounting for $76 billion of its gross product. “We‘re going to try to recruit industry into North Carolina to add value to our (agricultural) products instead of shipping them to Ohio or somewhere else where they will be manufactured” into products ready to sell. “We want all this money to stay right here in North Carolina,” said Troxler, a member of the task force. New Wilkes County Agricultural Center

To explain the initiative, he said a can of beans has about 10 cents worth of beans, but to make it ready for sale “you’ve got to process it and can it and there has to be a label made. It’s got to be transported, and wholesaled, then retailed. So it goes from about 10 cents paid to the farmer to up to a dollar by the time the customers get it.” 38,000 More Jobs Troxler said a study conducted by NCSU and the NC Department of Agriculture determined that the value-added initiative could add $10 billion to the state’s agri-business economy and create 38,000 jobs. “The good news is that we believe those 38,000 jobs will be in rural counties of North Carolina like Wilkes” because it doesn’t make sense to have the manufacturing facilities outside the counties where the agricultural products originate. “We’ve got people with expertise in private industry from all across the state working with us,” he added. Troxler said confirmation of plans to hire a person working fulltime to recruit agri-business industries to North Carolina is expected by the end of October. He said his goal is for agriculture and agribusiness to be a $100 billion industry in North Carolina by 2020. “Wilkes County will be able to share in spoils of this as time goes along.” Troxler also said that according to the United Nations, farmers need to produce 60 to I00 percent more food by 2050 to feed the 9 billion people in the world by then. He said the United States is well positioned to do that.

Receiving the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service County Partnership Award. Left to Right: Vice Chairman David Gambill, Commissioner Greg Minton, Chairman Eddie Settle, Commissioners Keith Elmore and Gary D. Blevins, and NC Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler.

He said it’s a goal that needs to be met because hungry people are mean people, which he said translates to political unrest, acts of terrorism and similar problems. Troxler said food producers in the U .S. must utilize technology and take care of the soil to meet these worldwide needs, but agricultural research is essential.

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Wilkes “A Hidden Secret” He said Wilkes County government showed its commitment to farmers and agricultural agencies by investing in an agriculture center. Noting the county’s high rank in several agricultural categories, Troxler said Wilkes has been a hidden secret. Eddie Settle, chairman of the Wilkes County commissioners, began the event by saying Wilkes County is seventh among the state’s I00 counties in agricultural receipts and North Carolina is seventh in the nation in the same. Settle said Wilkes is third in the state in broiler production, hay production, beef cattle and all cattle combined and second in corn silage production. Troxler emphasized the importance of partnerships in North Carolina and said having numerous ag agencies in one facility, as they are in the new Wilkes Agriculture Center, improves efficiency. The US General Services Administration is leasing 5,000 square feet of the 33,000-square-foot building for the US Farm Service Agency, US Natural Resources Conservation Service, and US Rural Development, all now are in the Johnson J. Hayes Federal Building. Offices in the new facility are also being provided for the Wilkes Soil & Water Conservation District, also moving from the Hayes Federal Building, and the Wilkes Cooperative Extension Service, now on Curtis Bridge Road in Wilkesboro. “In agriculture, time is money and having all these agencies here in one place for a farmer to come in and do their business and be able to get back to the farm is just great,” said Troxler, a farmer in Guilford County and state agriculture commissioner since 2005. Troxler also recognized Kirk Mathis, a farmer in the Cranberry community, for serving on the NC Board of Agriculture for many years. He said Mathis does a good job representing the interests of Wilkes, western North Carolina and the state. Settle also noted that county government didn’t borrow any money to purchase the former Northwestern Bank property that included the two buildings renovated to become the Wilkes County Agriculture Center and the Wilkes Sheriff’s Department offices.

Ribbon Cutting. L-R: Wilkes Cooperative Extension Agent John Cothren, Vice Chairman David Gambill, Commissioner Gary D. Blevins, Chairman Eddie Settle, Commissioner Keith Elmore, NC Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler, Commissioner Greg Minton, Wilkes Cooperative Extension Director Bill Hanlin, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dale Folwell.

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Workshop Topics Survey In September, HCCOG distributed a survey to local members to gauge interest in possible workshop topics. There were a total of 31 participants.

Ranking Workshop Topics

We asked members to rate the following workshop topics on a scale of “not at all interested” to “very interested.” Below you will see the highest ranked topic at the top, with the lowest ranked topic at the bottom. Economic Development (Strategies, partnerships, and networking) Grant Related Issues (tips on applications, talking with granting agencies, learning about available funding) Regional Branding Campaign (marketing the region as a whole, coordinated tourism promotion) Long-Range Planning (comprehensive transportation plans, greenway plans, pedestrian plans, regional trail plans) Customer Service Training Human Resources (policies, conflict resolution, sexual harassment training, discrimination, overtime and comp time) Quarterly Manager Meetings (focusing on how the COG can assist with various projects, programs, and training) Mandatory Training for Elected/Appointed Officials IT Technologies and Solutions GIS/GPS Services Additional topics suggested were: • Finance courses • LELA Academy courses • Discount pricing for SOG webinars • Clerk and Payroll training

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Regional Highlights

Celebrating Our Successes and Achievements

New Finance Director for HCCOG The Finance Director is a key organizational position for the High Country Council of Governments in its administration of numerous federal, state, and locally funded programs and grants in coordination with seven counties and nineteen municipalities in the High Country. Sammy J. Ragsdale of Temple, Texas filled this crucial position on September 1, 2015. Mr. Ragsdale has an impressive list of accomplishments and experience during his career. For 21 years, Mr. Ragsdale served his country in the U.S. Navy and retired as Master Chief Petty Officer. During that time he was responsible for formulating personnel policy affecting 1,200 people, and taught numerous classes on Equal Opportunity, Sexual Harassment, Ethics and Leadership, and Total Quality Management. Mr. Ragsdale served as Senior Auditor for the Office of Inspector General with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 15 years. He performed Sammy J. Ragsdale, Finance Officer forensic audit procedures, documented client processes and procedures, and prepared reports for management concerning the scope of the audit process. More recently, Mr. Ragsdale has served local governments in Texas as an Interim Finance Director, City Administrator, and an Audit and Compliance Manager. He has managed budgets with general funds in excess of $22 million and has extensive experience with public fund administration. Mr. Ragsdale received his BA in Business Administration from Troy University, majored in Accounting at Texas A&M University, and received his MBA from University of Central Texas.

New Finance Assistant for HCCOG Mary Goodnight has joined the HCCOG team as the new Finance Assistant. Her education and career began over 30 years ago in Boone, NC when she moved here from Winston-Salem to attend Appalachian State University. Her studies were focused in the College of Business with a concentration in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems. Over the years, she gained much experience in the field of accounting and finance, working in the private sector and non-profit organizations. Some of those businesses include Goodnight Brothers, the Watauga County Children’s Council, Hospitality Mints, and Luke Copeland, CPA. Not only does she excel in the finance profession, but she enjoys the work. She’s a true numbers person! It’s obvious Mary loves the High Country since she has not left except for short periods of time to travel or visit family. She has raised two daughters here who are now in Raleigh and Chapel Hill pursuing their Mary Goodnight, Finance Assistant education. Her interests and favorite activities are ACC basketball, soccer, hiking, kayaking, cooking and hanging out with friends. She mostly enjoys playing ball with her three-year-old Puggle, Ollie.

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HCCOG Ombudsman Receives National Scholarship The Area Agency on Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman, Laura Jane Ward, has received the Howard Hinds Memorial Scholarship from the National Association of Local Long Term Care Ombudsmen (NALLTCO). This prestigious scholarship is nationally competitive and awarded to only one person each year. NALLTCO reported in their newsletter that there were many qualified applicants but ultimately chose Laura Jane as the recipient for her essay entitled “A Newbie’s Lesson in SelfAdvocacy.” For more information on long term care and residents’ rights, please contact Laura Jane Ward (; 828265-5434 x126).

Laura Jane Ward, Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Maximizing Business Engagement On September 17, 2015 the High Country Workforce Development Board hosted a one day Business U Boot Camp, an invitation-only event to continue the region’s work to build partnerships in a collaborative environment and expand the region’s portfolio of services to foster longterm relationships with area businesses. A group of about 30 attendees from regional career center staff, chambers of commerce, community colleges, economic developers, partner agencies, as well as Appalachian State University participated in the day-long event. During the day the group focused on identifying a regional network of assets to support and grow business and industry; worked on a business engagement plan to support business-facing organizations; and long-term relationship building strategies for improving business engagement. The main outcomes of the day were the asset mapping work to help create a structured business services network and launching a customer relations management tool, which will be used by the network of business-facing partners to share information and eliminate duplication of services. About Business U: Business U specializes in three vertical markets: workforce development, education, and economic development to help these organizations better engage business and industry individually and collectively resulting in economic growth and jobseeker success. Business U creates capacity and sustainability through regional business engagement strategies, customer relationship management technology, and professional development learning events that result in attracting businesses as a partner (in sector strategies and work-based learning), as a customer (with business services), and as a funder (to invest and leverage).

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Beech Mountain Ground Breaking Ceremony The Town of Beech Mountain held a ground breaking ceremony on a new Water Treatment plant Friday, September 18, 2015. Frizzell Construction has planned an 18-month timeline to completion. The state-ofthe-art plant will enable the town to be responsive to changes in water conditions due to snow melt and heavy rains, and will meet Public Water Supply standards and EPA goals. Says Mayor Rick Owen, “We are pleased to be able to improve our services to our residents and visitors. The new plant will have a 40year life expectancy and will be capable of processing 1.5 million gallons per day. The plant will replace the current treatment plant, which has been in operation since 1986.” L-R: Town Council Members Alan Holcombe, Cindy Keller, Rick Miller,

When the plant is ready to go online, it will be Mayor Rick Owen, Paul Piquet operated simultaneously with the current Water Plant for a period of time while local and state staff conduct quality assurance testing so that there will be no break in provision of water service to the community.

West Jefferson Recognized for Centennial Staff and elected officials from West Jefferson represented their town in Raleigh recently as both the House and Senate chambers recognized West Jefferson for its Centennial. Representative Jonathan Jordan invited the Town Board and staff to Raleigh on September 24, 2015 for the reading of a resolution recognizing West Jefferson’s 100 years as a valued part of the State of North Carolina. Representative Jordan also distributed to each House member a copy of the magazine West Jefferson at One Hundred. Senator Dan Soucek also recognized the town’s 100th birthday on the Senate floor. Both Jordan and Soucek L-R: Alderman Stephen Shoemaker, Town Manager Brantley Price, recognized each staff member and elected official from Mayor Dale Baldwin, and Representative Jonathan Jordan West Jefferson who were in attendance: Mayor Dale Baldwin, Alderman Stephen Shoemaker, and Town Manager Brantley Price. This was quite an honor and exciting moment for residents and representatives of West Jefferson.

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NC Department of Commerce Launches Mobile App for Job Seekers NCWorks Career Centers are now registering more job seekers on the new NCWorks mobile app to connect them to meaningful employment. The mobile app allows users to apply for jobs, compare their skills to job requirements, find training opportunities, and learn more about a career or industry through wage and employment projections. In the mobile app, individuals search for jobs by keyword or circling a select area and all job postings within that circumference will be displayed. “We want North Carolina’s job seekers to have access to the best jobs in the market,” said Will Collins, executive director of NCWorks. “By connecting people to jobs and training resources in their areas, we can help them get back on their feet and improve the lives of our communities.”

NCWorks App in the Google Play Store

The app also contains special features for veterans, who can review job postings up to 24 hours in advance of the general public and search for civilian careers using the Military Occupational Code. Registration for NCWorks Online is free. The app is free to download for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. NC Commerce Workforce Solutions operates the NCWorks app. About NCWorks Online NCWorks Online is a free service that provides several NCWorks App in the iTunes Store benefits to job seekers and employers. Job seekers can search job posts pulled from thousands of websites and receive alerts through email and text message. Employers can post jobs to find the talent they need, as well as take advantage of real-time labor market information that will assist them in making competitive offers to recruit talented workers. For more information about NCWorks Online, visit

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Area Agency on Aging Advertises Medicare Savings Programs The High Country Area Agency on Aging has been marketing the Medicare Savings Program and the Low Income Subsidy available under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA). MIPPA was enacted in 2008, in part, to help low-income Medicare beneficiaries access programs to make Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and prescription medications more affordable. There are many circumstances that force older and disabled adults to choose between paying for health care costs or paying for food and utilities. By calling your local SHIIP office or Department of Social Services, you may find that you or your loved one qualifies for some assistance. The Area Agency on Aging has been marketing these programs and their basic guidelines in each county’s local newspaper and radio stations. For more information on how and where to apply for assistance, contact Julie Wiggins (; 828-265-5434 x122).

HCCF Receives National Recognition and Award The High Country Caregiver Foundation was among the recipients of the prestigious 2015 Aging Innovations Award in Caregiving, administered by The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. In addition to attending the N4A Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards Luncheon on Sunday, July 12, HCCF was also recognized during the general session of the conference by Kathy Greenlee, the US Assistant Secretary of Aging. Started as a way to increase services and support for caregivers in the region, HCCF has now grown to meet the needs of the entire sevencounty region. The mission of High Country Caregiver Foundation (HCCF) is to assist families and communities with the challenges of caring for adults with chronic and disabling conditions. Established in 2007 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, HCCF is the leading provider of support services to family caregivers in the North Carolina High Country. Since its inception, the organization has helped thousands of families caring for their loved 2015 Aging Innovations Award in Caregiving ones through information and referral, comprehensive caregiver assessments, short and long-term care planning and consultation, individualized short-term caregiver counseling, caregiver training, community education and outreach, professionally facilitated support groups and consumer-directed respite services through service providers. These are the services proven to help families remain healthy, employed and keep their loved ones safe. Services are provided by trained professional staff at minimal or no cost to clients. HCCF and collaborating partners serve approximately 2,000 people annually.

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High Country Caregiver Foundation Events Supporting Our Area Caregivers

With the support of its all-volunteer board of directors and its 3 expansion committees (Alleghany/Ashe, Mitchell/Yancey, and Wilkes), HCCF has been busy conducting fundraisers throughout the region. In early spring, two events were presented by the Mitchell/Yancey Expansion Committee members, including its first annual festival of tables and trivia challenge. In May, HCCF’s Alleghany/ Ashe Expansion Committee hosted a well-attended benefit breakfast at Shatley Springs Inn. June brought the Regional Trivia Challenge Championships to the Boone Golf Club where the “Winner-Schnitzels” of Appalachian Home Care were crowned as regional champions. August events included the “Peter Pedroni Wilkes Festival of Tables Memorial Golf Tournament” hosted by Casa Rustica Italian Restaurant, followed by Wilkes Expansion Committee’s first annual Festival of Tables at the Stone Center. Most recently, on October 1, the 2nd Annual “Celebrating Caregiving” Benefit Luncheon was held at Linville Ridge Golf and Country Club with former ASU Hall of Fame football coach, Jerry Moore as the guest speaker. All of these events served dual purposes. They not only raise monies to provide direct services such as respite care to family caregivers, but they also raise awareness of the many challenges and issues facing our region’s unpaid family and kinship caregivers. In total, close to 1,000 people showed their support of HCCF and its efforts to assist caregivers in the region by attending these events.

94 $500 Vouchers have been funded in 2015

Celebrating Caregiving Benefit Luncheon

Peter Pedroni Memorial Golf Tournament

Upcoming Events Date


November 12

Avery Caregiver Appreciation Luncheon, The Pedalin’ Pig

November 13

Benefit Breakfast and Barn Quilt Raffle at Shatley Springs

November 17

Watauga Caregiver Appreciation Luncheon, Casa Rustica Italian Restaurant

December 3

Avery Festival of Tables, Linville Land Harbor Club House

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Avoiding Holiday and Wintertime Stress Tips for Caregivers

The winter months in the High Country can be a stressful time. Many different holidays are celebrated which means an increase in family and social gatherings and spending more money. For a family or kinship caregiver the winter months and holidays can feel like an additional burden added to their already hectic life. The following are some ways to enjoy the winter and holiday months to avoid stress. Continue or Begin to Eat, Drink, and Exercise to Boost Your Well-Being Good nutrition and exercise habits have an impact on how we feel about ourselves, both physically and emotionally. Colder weather may also make it more difficult to exercise. In addition to providing positive physical and emotional benefits, good nutrition and exercise can also help to ward off the cold or flu which are common in winter months. Spend Less Financial issues related to taking time off work, discontinuing work, and many other costs associated with caring for a loved one are not uncommon for caregivers. The holidays do not have to be about spending additional money on family and friends, there are other ways to show you care. Try spending more time doing fun things with your loved ones like playing games or doing arts and crafts (homemade gifts are cost effective and thoughtful during the holiday season!). In addition to saving some money, you will also spend time with friends and family, which is a great way to improve your emotional wellbeing and reduce stress. Relax and Don’t Forget About YOU You may question, “How can I relax when I need to exercise, go to parties, and spend more time with family?” It is not always easy finding time for yourself during the holidays. Make sure to schedule “you time” among your other responsibilities to give your mind and body a rest from the hectic holiday season. Caregivers can many times feel they are being pulled in many different directions with many different responsibilities. If you don’t take that time to relax and care for yourself you could become sick and unavailable to care for anyone. Do something fun for yourself, go for a walk outside (but brace for the cold!), don’t isolate yourself in the house, and give yourself a pat on the back when you have done something recognizable. The holidays are about being with family and enjoying each other’s company. In order to do so it is important to take care of yourself through healthy eating and exercise, spending quality time with special people, relaxing, and spending money reasonably. Follow those steps to feel better emotionally and physically, allowing you to provide the best care possible to your care recipient. Remember, just because you are invited to 10 holiday parties, does not mean you have to attend all of them, practice saying “No” and be realistic about your schedule and time. Spreading yourself too thin could cause additional stress in your life which will make caregiving even more difficult.

New Website for Area Agency on Aging!

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Culture Change Update During the most recent NC Ombudsman Association meeting, Laura Jane Ward was nominated to be the new chairperson of the Culture Change Committee. The committee is a work group within the Ombudsman Association that seeks to assist other ombudsmen in being informed about new initiatives within the culture change movement (for person centered care). One of the projects the committee has been working on for the last year is creating a step-by-step guide that will help other ombudsmen implement personalized music programs, like Music and Memory, within their regions. Laura Jane will be leading this team and is working hard on creating easy-to-use tools to make conversations about personalized music easier. Laura Jane said “We are working very hard to make our state plan easy to use so that it can be presented to Administrators, Family Councils, Community Advisory Committees, and the public.” The ultimate goal being a personalized music program in every facility across the state eventually.

Attending the “Musical Minds” Open House at Ashe Assisted Living and Memory Care. L-R Julie Wiggins, AAA Director; Dr. Dale Hamerick, speaker and geriatrician with Ashe Memorial Hospital; Bevin South, Executive Director at Ashe ALF & Memory Care; Laura Jane Ward, AAA Ombudsman

Regionally, facilities continue to make progress with personalized music programs, like Music and Memory. On August 27, Ashe Assisted Living and Memory Care debuted their certification in Music and Memory with an Open House for families and the community. At the event, local geriatrician Dr. Dale Hamerick spoke about the clinical impact of music and the dementia population, citing several studies on the issue. The facility prepared a short video showing residents’ reactions when they were provided their personal music with their iPod. The video was very touching and inspiring to see Music and Memory in action. For more information or questions about Culture Change, personalized music, or other long term care issues in your county please feel free to contact Laura Jane Ward, Regional Ombudsman at 828-265-5434 x126 or

What can you do to help?

Volunteer time to create a music playlist

Donate an iPod!

Donate iTunes gift cards or old CDs to enhance playlists

Encourage facilities to start a personalized music program for residents

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National Falls Prevention Awareness Day AAA and Regional Partners Take a Stand to Prevent Older Adult Falls

The High Country Area Agency on Aging joined forces with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free® Coalition to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 23, 2015 – the first day of Fall. While falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injury for people 65 years of age and older, they are not an inevitable part of aging. This year’s Fall Prevention Awareness Day theme, “Take a Stand to Prevent Falls”, seeks to raise awareness about how to prevent fall-related injury among older adults. According to the North Carolina Falls Prevention Coalition, more than 1/3 of adults age 65+ will fall each year, which leads to over $450 million annually in medical costs and a collective cost of $5 billion due to medical expenses, loss of economic productivity and quality of life. We can change these alarming rates by bringing greater attention to the many preventive measures that can be easily employed to keep our seniors safe. Studies show that a combination of behavior changes can significantly reduce falls among older adults. Experts recommend: • Participating in a physical activity regimen with balance, strength training, and flexibility components. • Consulting with a health professional about getting a fall risk assessment. • Having medications reviewed periodically. • Getting eyes and ears checked annually. • Making sure the home environment is safe and supportive. The recent United States of Aging Survey polled older adults to find out about how they are preparing for their later years. It found that more than half of seniors questioned said they would be interested in the expansion of community-based health promotion programs, including falls prevention classes. At senior centers and other community-based organizations across the High Country, programs like A Matter of Balance, Tai Chi, CHAMP, and the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program help older adults gain strength, improve balance, and build confidence to help them live healthier lives and preserve their independence. North Carolina is part of the national Falls Free® Initiative, which includes 43 state-based falls prevention coalitions and 70 national organizations, professional associations, and federal agencies across the country dedicated to reducing fall-related injuries and deaths among older adults.

United States of Aging 2015 Survey Results Falls Prevention Awareness Day

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Bakersville Asset Management Plan High Country Council of Governments staff recently completed a Water and Sewer System Asset Management Plan for the Town of Bakersville. The Plan catalogs all water and sewer system assets in the Town, assigns condition of each asset, and evaluates how critical each asset is to the Town. The Plan also includes a Capital Improvement Plan, an Operations and Maintenance Plan, and a Financial Plan. The Asset Management Plan is intended to assist the Town in long-term management of its water and sewer systems. Additionally, the Asset Management Plan was prepared following NC Department of Environmental Quality (formerly Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or DENR) requirements to help the Town obtain priority scoring for CDBG grant funding.

Bakersville Waste Water Treatment Plant

The Water and Sewer System Asset Management Plan includes mapping, valuation, and condition assessment of: • • • • • • • • •

34 fire hydrants 299 water meters 131 water mains 252 water service lines 78 water valves 4 water supply wells 136 sewer manholes 136 sewer mains wastewater treatment plant components

The Town’s water system has an estimated total value of $5,552,558, and the Town’s sewer system has an estimated total value of $4,029,881. Realizing the value of these assets is critical to prioritizing maintenance, repairs, and replacement. Evaluating the condition of assets was a major component of developing the Asset Management Plan. Information on age, material, size, and condition of each asset was provided by Town staff and contractors. The following individuals provided invaluable input during Plan development: • • • •

Chuck Vines, Mayor Matthew Woody, Matthew Woody’s Construction, Inc. Jadd Brewer, Water Quality Lab and Operations, Inc., WWTP Operator Brian Brewer, Bakersville Fire Department

The Asset Management Plan provides recommendations for system maintenance, further evaluation of assets, and system improvements financing. The Town’s main priority, reflected in the Plan, is water system improvements. Specifically, the Town is pursuing development of an additional water supply well, and extensive replacement of aging water service lines.

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HCCOG Develops Apps for Ashe County Marketing Tools for Economic Development

Ashe County Economic Development contracted with High Country GIS to develop a set of three applications (apps) to showcase the County’s unique features. Cathy Barr, Ashe County Economic Development Director, wanted to use GIS as a marketing tool and resource for delivering geographic data about the County to potential developers, residents, visitors and governmental staff. In response, HCCOG developed apps using ESRI’s ArcGIS Online as a cost-efficient, digital solution. HCCOG developed three apps titled the Civic App, Environment & Infrastructure App and the Arts, Cultural & Recreational App. The apps are Screen shot of the Arts, Cultural and Recreational App. Users can view compatible with mobile and desktop devices locations, information, and thumbnail photos for Public Art, Galleries, Barn Quilt Tours, etc. including smartphones, tablets, browsers and desktop computers. Anyone can have access to a variety of data layers to research zoning across the towns, existing infrastructure in proximity to a parcel, their next paddle trip on the New River, or public art in downtown West Jefferson. These apps can be accessed from Ashe County’s homepage at HCCOG has developed similar local government apps for the Towns of North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro (accessible from or; however, this project was the first of its kind in the region due to the geographic scope. These apps are a “one-stop shop” for data pertaining to the jurisdictions of Lansing, West Jefferson, Jefferson, and the County. Users can use a variety of tools in the app to query, export to a PDF, measure distance or area, click to access pop-up boxes about each feature containing information and hyperlinks, etc. Barn Quilt and Public Art points also include a thumbnail photo of each barn quilt, mural, sculpture, etc. The Civic App features Solid Waste Facilities, Local Government Service Centers, Fire Tax Districts, School Districts, Town Zoning, Parcels, Roads and Jurisdictional Boundaries etc. The Environmental and Infrastructure App features Flood Hazard Zones, Municipal Water/Sewer Mains, 3-Phase Electric, Water Supply Watersheds, Airports, Parcels, Roads and Jurisdictional Boundaries. The Arts, Cultural and Recreational App features Public Art, Historic Districts, Barn Quilt Tour Routes, Barn Quilts, Museums, Churches of the Frescoes, Scenic Byway, Blue Ridge Parkway Accesses and Mileposts, Trails, Public Parks, Game Lands, Mountain Trout Waters (trout regulations), etc.

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Wilkes County E911 High Country COG GIS contracted with Wilkes County Planning Department to update County E911 GIS data. HCCOG was charged with three main tasks including: 1. Update address structure points and road centerlines with any changes since 2009. 2. Create one, comprehensive master geodatabase of all E911 data in the County and Towns. 3. Update the County’s Computer Aided Dispatch System (CAD) with the newly updated GIS data. HCCOG worked closely with the County Planning, Communications and Tax Departments to achieve these goals. HCCOG mapped approximately 2,600 new addresses generated since 2009 by the County Planning Department, and built a custom geolocator tool to assist with mapping these addresses. Each address was located to the actual structure using tax data, road ranges, 2014 orthoimagery and field verification. HCCOG toured the County to field validate about 275 addresses county-wide that could not be identified in the office from the new 2014 orthoimagery. The road centerline file was also updated with all new roads constructed since 2009, existing unnamed roads that were officially named since 2009, and adjusted road ranges appropriately as needed. HCCOG worked with the Communications Department to cross-check the MSAG (Master Street Address Guide) and make corrections in the GIS data or MSAG where needed. Under annual contract, HCCOG GIS assists the Towns of North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro with E911 data maintenance. This streamlined the process to create one comprehensive and updated E911 geodatabase for Wilkes County. Lastly, the HCCOG performed extensive data format editing to prepare the GIS data for importing into CAD. HCCOG worked with the County Communications Department and OSSI Sunguard (CAD vendor) to import the new data into CAD. Aside from updating address structure points and road centerlines, HCCOG made several improvements to the data for better performance in CAD including edits made to highway ranges, unique highway ramp identifiers, undivided highway geometry, etc. Previously, 911 calls mapped to the appropriate location on the road centerline according to road ranges. Now, 911 calls map to the actual structure. This is helpful to dispatchers when there are several structures located in close proximity or if the structure is located down a long private driveway. ! ( 511 HCCOG is currently under contract with the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office to update Fire, Law and EMS Response Districts for import into the CAD. This project will also establish fire response mutual aid for CAD dispatchers. ! ( 2. Carter Mill Rd high and low ! ( address ranges adjusted due to new interesection with MeShack Ln








! (


1. New road constructed

3. This portion of Deer Haven Ln no longer used

! ( ven Deer Ha




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Single Family Rehabilitation Grants High Country Council of Governments has been awarded $510,000 from The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) to administer three Single Family Rehabilitation (SFR) Programs in Ashe, Mitchell, and Wilkes Counties. Initially HCCOG will receive $170,000 per county to rehabilitate single-family, owner-occupied homes. A maximum of $45,000 per house may be spent. After the original award is expended in a county, HCCOG may then receive additional funds through a first-come, first-serve SFR Loan Pool. The focus of the SFR Program is on financially feasible, moderate rehabilitation. SFR funds are targeted to households with at least one elderly and/or disabled full-time household member or a home with lead hazards and a child 6-years-old or younger. Household incomes must be below 80% of the area median income. For example, to be eligible for the program the household income for a 2-person home in Mitchell County must be under $32,550. Each home selected to be rehabilitated shall first receive a pre- and post-rehab energy assessment performed by a Home Performance with Energy Star certified contractor. This assessment will give the Program Administrator and Contractor guidance to complete improvements to make the home more energy efficient. Issues such as Air Tightness, Ventilation, Proper Heat Sizing and Installation, and Combustion Safety are addressed in the assessment. Each home will also be tested for Radon, Asbestos, and homes built prior to 1978 will be tested for Lead-Based Paint. If any of the test results are positive, program funds may be used to treat or remove the problem. Upon completion, housing units rehabilitated under the SFR Program must: 1. meet the more stringent of local housing code standards or HUD’s Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) 2. meet the NCHFA Program Rehabilitation Standards 3. retain no imminent threats to the health or safety of the occupants or to the structural integrity of the units Assistance provided to eligible owner-occupants under SFR will be offered in the form of a loan covering only the construction/repair costs associated with the rehabilitation of the unit. The loan will be a deferred, 0% interest, subordinate mortgage, forgiven at $3,000 per year until the principal balance is reduced to zero. A Deed of Trust and Promissory Note will be executed by each homeowner participating in the SFR Program before work begins. The loan, or the un-forgiven balance on the loan, will become due and payable to the Agency upon vacancy of the home or transfer of title. However, loans may be assumed by heirs or income-eligible buyers if they use the home as their principal residence. Applications for the 2015 SFR program are available now for interested homeowners in Ashe, Mitchell, and Wilkes Counties. HCCOG is also still accepting applications for the 2014 SFR programs for homeowners located in Alleghany, Avery, and Yancey Counties. HCCOG plans to apply for SFR funding for Watauga County in 2016.

For an Application, Income Limits, and more Information Contact Michelle Ball, Community Development Planner 828-265-5434 ext. 115

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2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Program STATE TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (STIP)



JUNE 2015

North Carolina Department of Transportation

The State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) is a multi-year capital improvement document which denotes the scheduling and funding of construction projects across the state for a 10-year period. The North Carolina STIP is updated every two years and state law requires Board of Transportation (BOT) action to approve the STIP. The 2016-2025 STIP was adopted by the Board of Transportation in June 2015. The 2016-2025 STIP is the first STIP developed under the new Strategic Transportation Investments (STI) law passed in June 2013. The legislation requires use of transportation criteria and input from local communities to determine project priorities and directs the use of dollars from the state’s Highway Trust Fund for construction. The High Country Rural Planning Organization (RPO) has a project prioritization process which guides our local input. The following highway and non-highway projects for the High Country Rural Planning Organization (RPO) are included in the 2016-2025 STIP. HIGHWAY Highway Projects: US 19E - Mitchell/Yancey - R-2519: Widen to Multi-Lanes - Under Construction US 21 - Alleghany - R-4060: Sparta Western Loop, Two Lanes on New Location - Construction: 2016 US 21 - Alleghany - R-3101: Upgrade Roadway - Under Construction US 221 - Ashe/Watauga - R-2915: Widen to Four Lanes - Under Construction US 321 - Watauga - R-2237: Widen to Multi-Lanes - Under Construction US 421/321 - Watauga - R-2615: Widen to Multi-Lanes - Construction: 2025

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US 421 - Wilkes - R-5755: Construct Roundabout at US 421, SR 1001, and SR 2461 - Construction: 2016 NC 18 - Wilkes - R-3405: Widen to Three Lanes - Under Construction NC 105 - Watauga - R-2566BA: New Bridge Over Watauga River - Construction: 2019 NC 105 - Watauga - R-2566: Widen to Multi-Lanes - Construction: Future Years NC 268 - Wilkes - R-3309: Upgrade Roadway - Construction: 2024

Bridge Projects: • 2 in Alleghany County • 10 in Ashe County • 4 in Avery County • 5 in Mitchell County • 6 in Watauga County • 10 in Wilkes County • 7 in Yancey County NON-HIGHWAY Aviation Projects:

Ashe County Airport - Ashe - AV-5750: NC 268 - Wilkes - R-2603: Acquire Land and Hangers North of Runway - Right-ofWiden Roadway and Sidewalk Improvements - Way: 2020 Construction: 2016 Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects: Access Road - Mitchell - R-5528: Access Road off of SR 1129 - Under Construction Boone Greenway - Watauga - EB-5612: Construct US 421 Underpass Along Bank of River - Under Access Road - Watauga - R-5525: Construction Access Road off of US 321 - Under Construction More information about the 2016-2025 State US 221/321 - Watauga - U-5705: Transportation Improvement Program can be found at Intersection Upgrades at NC 105 - Construction: 2021 the following link. US 321/421 - Watauga - U-5715: Intersection Upgrades at College Street - Construction: 2018 US 421 - Wilkes - U-5312: Convert Roadway to Superstreet Design - Construction: 2020 NC 105 - Watauga (Boone) - U-5603: Upgrade Roadway - Construction: 2022 NC 194 - Watauga - U-5867: Widen to Multi-Lanes - Construction: 2025 Bamboo and Wilson Ridge Roads – Watauga: Widen Roadway - Construction: 2020

Click here for the full 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Program


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Blue Ridge Academy Receives Award

NC Governor’s Award for Innovative Partnership in Workforce Development An innovative partnership in Avery County is improving options for at-risk and dropout youth in economicallyimpacted western North Carolina. Blue Ridge Academy (BRA) was established to focus on recovering and preventing dropouts in Avery County. The growing list of partners focuses their energies on the academy’s staffing, mentoring, soft skills training, work experiences, individual counseling, and supportive services. Partners include Avery County Schools, Blue Ridge Academy, Daymark Recovery Services, High Country United Way, High Country Workforce Development Board, Mayland Community College Workforce Development, the NCWorks system, and Williams YMCA.

Blue Ridge Academy Graduate

The partnership employs a unique two-part strategy to provide employment and alternative academics for students. The employment portion links credit recovery to paid internships so students earn money and high school credit while gaining career-targeted work experience, which in turn is tied to academics, in that youth have to be making progress in their studies to qualify for and keep the paid internship. The academic component provides students with a flexible learning site that is both secure and relaxed. Instructors and counselors work together to help students meet their graduation goals. With a paying job attached to their academic studies, youth rarely quit BRA. Several innovative strategies are being used to recover at-risk and dropout youth. First, potential applicants are exposed to school and non-school staff to reinforce the need for a diploma. NCWorks staff, YMCA staff, Daymark counselors, and Avery County School staff work together to keep youth engaged and provide a support network as the student works toward the completion of their diploma. Second, eligible youth are co-enrolled in NCWorks youth services in order to receive comprehensive guidance and counseling. A final and important element is the use of paid internships as an incentive to enroll new youth, gain graduation credit, provide needed individual funds, and teach workplace soft skills. BRA students participate in workshops on job search, softs skills, job-keeping skills, money management, and professional networking as well as work toward their Career Readiness Certificate. Since the beginning of the BRA, more than 60 youth have attained high school diplomas. The county dropout rate has fallen from 2.66% to 1.23% since the formation of the academy. Notably in the fall of 2014, Avery County was awarded for having the lowest dropout rate in the state. The Blue Ridge Academy partnership will receive the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Innovative Partnership in Workforce Development at the NC Workforce Development Partnership Conference Awards Banquet in Greensboro on October 29, 2015.

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Incumbent Worker Training Grant Applications

Now Available

The North Carolina Incumbent Worker Training Grant offers funding to established North Carolina businesses to provide educational and skills training for current workers. It is designed to benefit businesses by enhancing the skills of employees, thereby increasing employee productivity and the potential for company growth. Over the past 10 years, more than $1 million has been funneled into High Country businesses to upgrade the skills of their workforces, thanks to the federal workforce development funding. Across the seven- Click to watch video county region, more than 2,200 employees have received training that has led to increased productivity and has made the more than 30 businesses they work for more competitive. Recent grantees include B&R Service, Inc. of North Wilkesboro, a residential and commercial HVAC contractor and weatherization company (awarded $5,000 to train 15 employees) and Blue Ridge Energy Works, LLC (BREW) of Boone, which specializes in renewable energy system design, installation, and maintenance (awarded $5,000 to help train six employees). Grants are now available for the fall 2015 cycle. Completed Applications are due by 5:00pm November 2, 2015. Applications should be saved or scanned as a PDF and emailed to • Incumbent Worker grants with an annual maximum amount of $25,000 and a lifetime maximum amount of $40,000 are designed to benefit businesses by enhancing the skills of employees, thereby increasing employee productivity and the potential for company growth. [Note: Companies that have received funding prior to July 1, 2008 remain eligible for the $50,000 lifetime maximum stated in previous Incumbent Worker Grant guidelines.] • Grants can cover the costs of the following training programs: instructional costs for training courses; classes for certification exams; online training; skills assessments related to requested training; textbooks and manuals; computer software for training purposes; and instructor travel (if the training location is not within a reasonable distance to the business). If you are interested in applying for the Incumbent Worker Grant and have questions you may call Don Sherrill at our office, 828-265-5434 x120 or email

Click Here to view Incumbent Worker Guidelines

Click Here to view Incumbent Worker Application

28 | ReCOGnition Newsletter

HCWDB Welcomes New Officers

Sally J. Woodring, Chair and Justin Ray, Vice Chair

Sallie J. Woodring is a native of Avery County and life-long resident of Banner Elk. She has been employed with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System since 2002 and currently directs the career pathways and volunteer programs for the system. Over the past several years, Sallie has been very involved in the local communities having served as a Rotary president in three different Rotary Clubs and two terms as an Assistant District Governor with Rotary. She has also served on the Avery Habitat for Humanity Board and the Avery Arts Council Board. Sallie served on the Region D Private Industry Council in the 1990’s and returned in 2009 to serve on the Workforce Development Board. She chaired the Youth Council for several years and chaired the High Country Youth Summit planning committee. Her leadership was instrumental in initiating the event and provided energy and enthusiasm during all stages of planning and promotion, and advocating for the next steps that were Sallie J. Woodring, HCWDB Chair the result of the summit. In 2014, she was selected as the High Country Council of Governments Outstanding Regional Workforce Development Board Member, an award selected by her peers on the High Country Workforce Development Board. “Since my work involves assisting students with enrolling in healthcare educational experiences, I really enjoyed my role with the [now former] Youth Council,” says Woodring. “I’m very honored and humbled to be elected as the new chair of the Board and hope to be an effective leader in this upcoming year.” Justin Ray is an Avery County native and Newland resident. After graduating high school, Justin attended Mayland Community College earning an Associate’s Degree in Science – then it was on to Appalachian State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice and Computer Information Systems. Post college graduation, Justin and his family moved to San Diego, California where he began his career in banking. Working in retail banking for a year and a half, he then transitioned into the wholesale mortgage banking division. After a year in sunny California, Justin came back to North Carolina – this time Raleigh – to help lead the transition of a West Coast bank that purchased an East Coast bank. As lead underwriter, he was underwriting mortgage loans nationwide and was promoted to Senior Account Executive – Vice President of Wholesale Mortgage Sales. Justin Ray, HCWDB Vice Chair

In 2010, Justin and his family returned to Avery County where they renovated the old Shady Lawn Motel and turned this once thriving business into a new and current thriving business. The new Shady Lawn Lodge has received Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award for the past two years. The award is given to accommodations, attractions, and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers. Justin and his wife, Britney, co-owner and co-operator of the Shady Lawn Lodge, have been actively involved in the local community since coming back home five years ago. “We want to help the local community by helping other small business owners achieve their dreams and goals of owning and operating a thriving business in our local community,” said Justin. “Let’s work together to help Avery County and the High Country region prosper.”

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NEED TO ADD STAFF? Recently our NCWorks Career Centers have hosted large, multi-employer job fairs off-site and single employer events in-house with local companies like AEV, UPS, and Zaxby's.

Contact us for help with your next hiring event.

Sparta (336) 372-9675 Jefferson (336) 982-5627 Newland (828) 737-5419 Spruce Pine (828) 766-1175 Boone (828) 265-5385 Wilkesboro (336) 838-5164 Burnsville (828) 682-6618

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Please join us for a benefit

Breakfast Friday, November 13th, 2015

Shatley Springs Inn 7-10:30 am Proceeds to benefit High Country Caregiver Foundation To provide Relief for People in Ashe and Alleghany Counties who are caring for loved ones $10.00 per person For more information or to purchase advance tickets please contact: Heather at Forest Ridge


High Country Caregiver Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax deductible. “Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Section at (919) 807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State.�

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High Country Caregiver Foundation Presents the Avery

“Festival of Tables”

Thursday, December 3, 2015 11:30-1 pm Linville Land Harbor Club House

Silent Auction §Door Prizes§ Luncheon§ Entertainment §Bake Sale $35.00 per person or Sponsor a table of 8 for $250.00 Be creative, Prize for best themed table! All proceeds to benefit Avery County Caregivers

Please RSVP to Brenda Reece by November 24, 2015 To RSVP and for additional information call or email Brenda Reece, 828-265-5434, High Country Caregiver Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All contributions are tax deductible. “Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Section at (919) 807-2214. The license is not an endorsement by the State.”

Meeting Schedule

High Country Council of Governments Executive Board Meeting :: 7:00 pm 3rd Monday of the Month. No meetings Jan. or Sept.

Mickey Duvall,, x.126 Tanna Greathouse,, x.101

Area Agency on Aging Regional Advisory Council on Aging Meets on a Quarterly Basis

Julie Wiggins,, x.122

AAA Provider Meeting Meets on a Quarterly Basis

Julie Wiggins,, x.122

AAA Quarterly Training :: 1:00 – 4:00 pm Training Dates Advertised

Julie Wiggins,, x.122 Laura Jane Ward,, x. 126 Brenda Reece,, x. 128

Workforce Development Workforce Development Board :: 2:30 pm 2nd Thursday, Quarterly (Jul., Oct., Jan., Apr.)

Adrian Tait,, x.130

Planning and Development RPO Rural Transportation Advisory Committee :: 2:00 pm 3rd Wednesday, Quarterly (Feb., May, Aug., Dec.)

Phil Trew,, x.121 David Graham,, x.135

RPO Rural Transportation Coordinating Committee :: 10:00 am 3rd Wednesday, Quarterly (Feb., May, Aug., Nov.)

Phil Trew,, x.121 David Graham,, x.135

HCCOG ReCOGnition October 2015  
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