Credit Card Debt Low in Yancey

08/28/15 01:54 PM
Yancey County residents are among the most responsible with their credit cards in North Carolina, with one of the lowest per capita credit card debts, compared to income and net wealth. A new study from SmartAsset shows the top ten counties in North Carolina where people have the least credit card debt. Yancey County ranks specifically as number two on the list right after Transylvania. (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 8/21 - 8/28/15

08/28/15 01:18 PM

New Yancey Senior Center Opening Delayed

08/28/15 11:13 AM
The Yancey County Senior Center opening in their new location has been delayed until September 3rd. The opening had been planned for August 31st. They will remain closed until the opening on the 3rd . The Yancey Senior Center’s new facility is located at 503 Medical Campus Drive in Burnsville, behind the Anspach Building on the Mayland Campus near the Health Department.  

Mitchell Ties With Buncombe

08/27/15 12:35 PM
Mitchell County is tied with Buncombe County in one very important statistic. DWI statistics for the western part of the state were released on Wednesday showing that Mitchell and Buncombe are tied for having the best conviction rate in Western North Carolina for driving while impaired.  The DWI statistics are for the fiscal year ended June 30th. Both Mitchell and Buncombe counties have an 82 % conviction rate for impaired driving. That is 20 percent higher than the state average.

Single Car Accident Kills Two

08/26/15 10:26 AM
A single car accident killed two people Sunday evening, August 23rd.  The accident happened on Old Mine Fork Road when the 1999 Grand Prix, driven by Donald Hall Jr of Old Mine Ford Road left the highway at a high rate of speed and crashed into a tree, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol. Both Hall, age 35 and his passenger, 33 year old Tiffany Cox of Spruce Pine, were killed in the accident.  

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 8/16 - 8/23/15 (Details)

08/24/15 12:36 PM

Yancey Sheriff Report 8/14 - 8/21/15 (Details)

08/24/15 09:14 AM

Yancey Senior Center Moving

08/21/15 04:09 PM
The Yancey County Senior Center will be closed the week of August 24-30 while they make the much anticipated moved to their new facilities.  The new facility will open to the public on August 31st.  The Yancey Senior Center’s new facility is located at 503 Medical Campus Drive in Burnsville, behind the Anspach Building on the Mayland Campus near the Health Department.  

Important Community Survey Underway

08/20/15 12:04 PM
An important community survey is underway in Mitchell and Yancey counties. The survey, being sponsored by the Toe River Arts Council, is designed to get the public’s opinions on how to brand the area as an arts area and market it as such in order to help our local economy.  Feedback from the community is critical for the success of this project. To take the survey go to and follow the instructions.  For further information about the project email

Yancey Commissioners Support In God We Trust Motto

08/19/15 01:06 PM
Yancey Commissioners have voted to display the words “In God We Trust” at the Yancey County Courthouse. Yancey joins Mitchell and several other counties and municipalities throughout the state in displaying the national motto. In July Mitchell County passed the resolution to display the motto on the exteriors of both the new and old Courthouses plus inside the Courtroom and Commissioner’s Chamber in the Administration building. The project in both counties will be paid for through private donations. The action came as a result of a request from Rick Lanier, co-founder and vice chairman of U.S Motto Action Committee. “In God We Trust” is the national motto and the words are inscribed on the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Chambers and on all U.S. currency.

Mitchell Puts All Schools On Same Scale

08/19/15 12:53 PM
The state Board of Education mandated that high schools go to a new grading scale and Mitchell County is taking that one step further by instating the new scale in other grades also. In order to be consistent with the new high school scale, Mitchell will use the 10 point scale in third through eighth grades. The new system will make grading consistent across the state, allowing students to more easily move from one school system to another and also is consistent with the grading scale that colleges use. 

Sheriff Banks Encourages School Bus Safety Measures

08/17/15 12:17 PM
Every day millions of students use school buses as transportation to and from school.  Although school buses represent the safest form of highway transportation, there are a number of safety factors of which both student and drivers should be aware.  Hoping to ensure school bus safety, Sheriff Gary Banks of Yancey County encourages caution whenever school buses are (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 8/9 - 8/16

08/17/15 10:01 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 8/7 - 8/14

08/17/15 09:58 AM

Another Waterfall Accident

08/17/15 05:59 AM
Another weekend and another waterfall accident.  A man in his mid-30s slipped on the rock face of Catawba Falls in McDowell County around 11 a.m. Sunday and fell about 30 feet to the ground after bouncing off other rocks. EMS workers were called to the scene and it took several hours to get the man to safety, primarily because of the remote and rugged terrain. The man was airlifted to Mission Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and is expected to be ok. Last weekend a 26 year old University of Charlotte student died in Avery County after jumping off of Elk River Falls.  

MCC S.O.A.R. Program Receives Grant

08/14/15 09:39 AM
S.O.A.R. (Support Options for Achievement and Retention), a Student Support Services TRIO program funded by the U.S. Department of Education, has received a grant award of $1,474,965, continuing the program that has been in operation at Mayland Community College since 1988. (more)

Detoured School Traffic

08/14/15 05:36 AM
With schools around the mountains starting back on Monday,  all traffic going to Bald Creek Elementary School in Yancey County will have to make a detour because of a damaged bridge. While paving the bridge at Bald Creek, the asphalt truck broke through the bridge floor. Traffic is being detoured on to Possum Trot and over to Pleasant Valley Hill Road to reach the Bald Creek Elementary School.  The repairs are expected to take several weeks for completion. 

McDowell County Forest Fires

08/14/15 05:35 AM
A community meeting was held yesterday for an update on the forest fires burning in McDowell County. Community members were reassured no structures are in danger. The closest structure to the Bald Knob fire is three quarters of a mile from one home. Community meetings will be scheduled for updates as long as the fire is still burning. The Bald Knob fire was started by a lightning strike on July 17 and now has burned more than 1,000 acres in the Pisgah National Forest. According to U.S. Forest officials, that fire is 30 percent contained and more than 200 firefighters are helping contain the fire. . The Wolf Creek fire near Old Fort is 60 percent contained and has burned 305 acres. As of Thursday, crews are just monitoring that fire from helicopters. Forest officials say two to three days of consistent rain will knock out both wildfires. Until that happens, out-of-state crews will remain on the scene to help battle the blazes.


08/13/15 03:26 PM
While paving the bridge at Bald Creek, the asphalt truck went through the bridge floor. Traffic is being detoured on to Possum Trot. 

Woman Dies at Avery County Waterfall

08/13/15 02:01 PM
Over the weekend a 26 year old University of Charlotte student died in Avery County after jumping off of Elk River Falls.  People were spotted jumping from the same place that the lady died, less than 24 hours after her death. Numerous warning signs have been stolen from the area over the past few years. The falls are about 50 feet high and people do not realize the rocks beneath the surface come out into the water. Local people know of the danger of the waterfalls while visitors and tourists seem to ignore the warnings and decide to jump from high atop the rocks anyway. Local firefighters report that there have been at least 10 deaths at Elk River Falls since 1985.

New Grading Scale for Mtn Heritage High Students

08/12/15 02:18 PM
In October 2014 the North Carolina State Board of Education mandated a new 10 point grading scale for all North Carolina high schools beginning with the 2015-16 school year.  With this new grading scale, the quality points which students earn for Honors and Advance Placement classes have been changed from 5 to 4.5 for honors classes and from 6 to 5 in AP classes.  This change will be in (more)

Gas Prices Continue to Drop

08/12/15 12:56 PM
Wondering about the changing gas prices? The national price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 26 consecutive days and gas is definitely cheaper than it was a year ago. In our local area on Wednesday gas was cheapest in Spruce Pine at Walmart with a charge of $2.28 per gallon. In Bakersville both Exxon and Valero were $2.35. In Burnsville four stations. Citgo, Andy’s, Fastop and QP posted $2.39 per gallon. In Newland the BP and the Valero were each charging $2.25.  In Mars Hill the Ingles was lowest at $2.44. However drive on to Asheville at the Ingles at Leicester to find it for $2.14. The average price is North Carolina is $2.38 and nationwide it is $2.59. Compared to last year gas is an average of 89 cents per gallon cheaper. 

McDowell Authorities Looking for Little Debbie Snack Cakes

08/11/15 03:40 PM
McDowell County Sheriff’s deputies are looking for a black SUV pulling a white enclosed cargo trailer filled with Little Debbie snack cakes.  65 cases of Little Debbie snack cakes were stolen from a truck earlier this month. John Wrenn, of Marion, who works for Rector Distributing of Rutherfordton, reported that someone forced their way into his 1994 Chevrolet box van that he parks at Economy Mini Storage on U.S. 70 West when he’s not working. A hole was cut in the fence surrounding the storage units, the van broken into and peanut butter cookies, caramel cookies, donuts, brownies, fudge rounds, honey buns, Swiss rolls, nutty bars, donut sticks, oatmeal pies and granola bars taken. The crime, which was caught on a surveillance camera, occurred sometime between 2 p.m. on Friday, July 31 and 5:55 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 3. Anyone with information about the crime, the vehicle or the suspects is asked to call Lt. Andy Manis of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office at 652-2237 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.

Walking Against Domestic Violence (more pics)

08/11/15 10:10 AM
On Saturday, August 8th Mitchell County men stepped up and stepped out  in red shoes and silver high-heeled boots to  bring awareness and raise funds for Domestic Violence Prevention. 

Brush Fires Update

08/11/15 08:19 AM
Fire Fighting Crews fighting two wildfires in McDowell County enjoyed the weather yesterday. Higher humidity and cooler temperatures slowed advancing flames of two big brush fires. Both fires are burning on Pisgah National Forest land. The 305-acre Wolf Creek fire is 60-percent contained. The Bald Knob fire is larger. It has grown to a thousand acres and is at zero-percent containment. Crews started fighting it back on July 17th; a fire they believe was likely caused by a lightning strike. Crews will continue setting back-fires to cut off the fuel supply, trying to stop the flames from advancing beyond the national forest boundary. The closest structures are still about three-quarters of a mile away. Officials say it could take two-to-three weeks to get the Bald Knob fire under control.

Mitchell Sheriff's Activity Report 07/26 - 08/09/2015 (Details)

08/10/15 10:05 AM

Dedication of Central Park in Spruce Pine (more photos)

08/10/15 09:59 AM
The ribbon cutting for the Central Park Project on Lower Street in Spruce Pine was held Friday evening, August 7th. The first Friday night concert band was The Alligators from Morganton.

Water Fall Accident

08/10/15 06:12 AM
A Henderson County man is being treated in Asheville after taking a tumble from lower Catawba Falls in McDowell County. The accident was reported around 5pm yesterday afternoon. Because of steep terrain, it took several hours before the patient was able to be airlifted to Mission Hospital. 19-year-old Devin Rhinehart, from Fletcher, fell about 30 feet from the lower falls. Crews had to use ATVs to reach the victim, and it took almost three hours to get him to the waiting helicopter, staged just off I-40 at the Old Fort exit. Rhinehart suffered a leg injury and was in stable condition at the time he was airlifted to Mission Hospital.

Sheriff Deputies Apprehend Another Florida Fugitive

08/07/15 03:25 PM
On August 6, 2015 Yancey County Sheriff’s Office and North Carolina Highway Patrol were conducting a drivers license check-point at the intersection of State Hwy 197N and Double Island Rd. The fugitive, Jarah Paul Goldman, attempted to evade the license check-point. Deputies stopped Goldman on Toe River Rd and it was discovered that Goldman had outstanding warrants in the State of Florida for Felonious Possession of Firearm and Aggravated Assault. In addition to the Florida charges, Yancey County Deputies charged him with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Felony Flee to Allude Arrest, Careless and Reckless Driving and No Operators License. Goldman remains in the Yancey County Jail under a Secured Bond, scheduled to appear in court on August 18th, 2015.

Yancey Sheriff Report 7/31 - 8/6/15 (Details)

08/06/15 04:58 PM

TRAC Seeks Community Feedback For Branding Project

08/06/15 04:07 PM
A year ago the Toe River Arts Council was awarded an Our Town grant of $75,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts.  That grant along with funding from four other sources is allowing TRAC to carry out a multi-year initiative to bring attention to the rich arts resources of (more)

Burnsville American Legion Post 122 Reactivated

08/06/15 01:35 PM
On Tuesday Evening, August 4th, twenty-one local area veterans from Burnsville, Spruce Pine, and Bakersville met in the Army Junior ROTC Classroom at Mountain Heritage High School to stop forth coming action by the National Headquarters to close the historic post. Burnsville Post 122 had been classified as inactive for five or more years. Had not the men and women who “stood up” for (more)

Warning of Area Scam

08/06/15 12:34 PM
Yancey County Sheriff Gary Banks is warning area residents of a breaking and entering scam that has been reported in North Asheville and Weaverville. According to reports, a Hispanic male and female targeted elderly citizens by posing as utility employees. The couple knocks on the door and lures the victims outside to discuss work taking place around their residence. The male suspect then walks away from the conversation pretending to survey the area and makes his way into the residence. Once inside he starts stealing valuables. The male is described as 5’3”-5’6” with dark hair and olive skin. The female is described as being 5’3” with dark hair and olive skin. The couple was seen driving a newer model, light colored, GMC Silverado. If any utility service worker visits your home contact the utility company in order to verify that service is being done in the area. If individuals matching this description and utilizing this method visit your home call the Yancey County Sheriff’s Department at 682-2124. 

Avery County Police K9 in Training Killed

08/05/15 01:31 PM
A five month old K9 in training has been killed by a stray dog after a training session at his partner’s residence just across the Tennessee line. Gunner, a yellow lab, was in training to work for the Avery County Sheriff’s Office and was in line to become partners with Avery County Sheriff Deputy Brett Stockton. The incident happened on July 25th when a stray dog apparently came out of the wooded area close by and attacked Gunner as he was playing off the leash while Stockton was packing training aids in his patrol SUV. After hearing his dog yelp, Stockton ran to his aid, kicked the attacking dog unconscious and hurried Gunner into the SUV before rushing him to veterinarians’ office where he ultimately succumbed to massive hemorrhaging. When SRO Stockton returned to the scene of the incident, the stray dog was nowhere to be found.  

Yancey Schools Issue Retiree Badge of Honor

08/05/15 01:17 PM
In recognition of a lifetime of educating the children of Yancey County, retirees of Yancey County Schools can now stop by the YCS Central Office at 100 School Circle on Tuesdays and Thursdays, have their picture made, and receive a Retiree Badge of Honor. This ID badge is a YCS Events Pass giving retirees free admittance to any Yancey County School-sponsored event.  (Because of NCHSAA (more)

Mt Mitchell 100th Birthday Celebration

08/05/15 01:00 PM
Governor Pat McCrory has issued a Proclamation for Mt Mitchell’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. The Proclamation will be presented at the Mt Mitchell Crafts Fair on Friday at 10:45 am on the Burnsville Town Square. The Proclamation proclaims August 7, 2015 as a day to recognize Mt Mitchell 100th Anniversary in North Carolina and commends its observances by all citizens. NC House Representative Michele Presnell and NC State Senator Ralph Hise will be a part of the Anniversary Celebration along with North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson who will present a poem he has written commemorating the event. Part of the celebration includes singing “Happy Birthday” to Mt Mitchell, releasing Monarch butterflies and free ice cream to everyone, while it lasts. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy this very special, once in every 100 years event.  

Three Charged with Murder in Madison County

08/05/15 08:16 AM
Three people are facing murder charges in Madison County where a heroin overdose turned deadly. Glenda James, Anthony Justice and Edward "Taco" Whitsitt appeared in Madison County court Tuesday. They're charged with second degree murder in the death of 46 year old Anthony Melville. Investigators say toxicology reports helped get an indictment. Those reports showed the heroin Melville injected was cut with another powerful painkiller, Fentanyl. On Feb. 28, Melville's body was found in the bathtub of a home on Dry Pond Road in Marshall. Investigators believe Glenda James gave Melville the heroin, and the deal was traced back to Anthony Justice and Edward Whitsitt. All are being held on a $500,000 bond in the Madison County jail.

Two Fires Continue to Burn in McDowell County

08/04/15 10:47 AM
Two fires in McDowell County have consumed nearly 300 acres of wooded terrain.  The causes of both fires are still under investigation but are believed to be as a result of lightning.  The Wolf Creek area fire in Old Fort was reported on Friday, July 31. It is over 75 acres. The fire is located northwest of Old Fort in steep terrain between Heartbreak Ridge and Jarrett Creek. Heartbreak (more)

Stolen Fuel Card

08/03/15 01:55 PM
Two men have been charged with using a stolen gas card. Branson Harrison and Daryl Bennett were charged after they were caught on a convenience store camera using a lost Fleet fuel card to put gas in their personal vehicles. Daryl Bennett claimed that he got the fuel card from Branson Harrison who is from Alabama. Harrison was charged with Obtaining Property by False Pretense and released on a $1000 bond. Bennett was charged with Conspiracy to Obtain Property by False Pretense and released under a $500 bond. Both men have an August 10th court date. 

Yancey County Sheriffs Deputies Capture Fugitive from Florida

07/31/15 07:00 AM
At approximately 5 P.M on Sunday July 23rd, Yancey county deputies located and arrested 51 year old Jonathon Bernard Miller, of Lee County Florida. Florida authorities had listed Mr. Miller as a fugitive from justice in 2014. Acting on a tip, Yancey County Deputies found Mr. Miller at 11270 Hwy 19w and took him into custody without incident. Mr. Miller is currently in the Yancey County Jail awaiting extradition to Florida.

Ribbon Cutting at Mauzy-Phillips Center

07/30/15 03:58 PM
The ribbon cutting was held Thursday for the new Mauzy-Phillips Center at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital. The Center will offer a centralized location of services including family care physicians, surgical specialists, lab, general diagnostics and retail pharmacy. (more)

McDowell Man Held on Firearms Charges

07/29/15 04:08 PM
A McDowell County man remains in custody on federal firearms charges. Mark Schmidt, age 49, of Quail Hollow Road, Marion was arrested Monday, July 27 and is charged with possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon. Investigators say seven firearms were found in Schmidt's apartment and three inside his parents’ home, which is on the same property. Two bullet proof vests, a journal, a book about making explosives, ball bearings and a type of powder were also seized. According to the FBI there were too many boxes of ammo to count. A witness said that Schmidt dressed in a Nazi uniform and would take the weapons into the woods to "train," and also made comments about being unhappy at work and planned to kill his co-workers. Schmidt worked at a marina in Nebo and as a cook at several Marion restaurants. In 1992 Schmidt was accused of planning a bank robbery while using a pipe bomb at Black Mountain Town Hall as a diversion. He was arrested before that plan was carried out and served 30 months in prison.

Update from Mitchell County Board of Education (Details)

07/29/15 02:35 PM

Unemployment Up in June in Area Counties

07/29/15 02:26 PM
Unemployment rates rose in 95 of North Carolina’s counties, decreased in four, and remained unchanged in one according to employment figures recently released by the state. The June, not seasonally adjusted, statewide rate was 6.1 percent. Yancey’s rose to 6.5 percent, Mitchell rose to 7.2, Madison was up to 6 percent, Avery was up slightly to 5.8 percent and McDowell rose to 5.9 percent. Graham County   had the highest unemployment rate at 12.3 percent while Buncombe had the lowest at 4.7 percent.  

Mitchell County Adds More School Bus Cameras

07/29/15 02:10 PM
Mitchell County Schools has received four high-definition camera systems to equip their buses for the new school year. Eight of the school system’s 27  yellow buses will now be equipped with cameras from all angles with the hope of catching drivers passing stopped buses. Each bus is equipped with cameras covering the front, sides, and rear. All are taking video in real-time. The camera (more)

New Mauzy Phillips Center at Blue Ridge Regional Grand Opening

07/29/15 06:52 AM
The new Mauzy-Phillips Center at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Grand Opening Ceremony will be held at 2 pm tomorrow. Guided tours will be held every 15 minutes from 1:30 to 6 pm. The new center offers a centralized location of services including primary and family care physicians to a full-spectrum of surgical specialists, lab, general diagnostics and a retail pharmacy.  

Sources of North Fork Fish Kill

07/27/15 03:50 PM
The Environmental Resources Group has found three possible sources for the five hundred pounds of dead fish that led to the closing of part of Lake James and the injury of a fireman earlier this month. Environmental Resources Group was hired to investigate by Coats North American after the dead fish were found floating near the thread company. The first cause stated in their report was that six floor drains in the Coats filtration plant were routed to the storm drain, even though facility personnel believed that these floor drains had been re-routed to the waste water treatment plant. The report says that steps have been taken to stop discharges to the floor drains and Coats has retained contractors to connect all floor drains in the filter plant to the wastewater treatment system. Another potential cause of the backed up substance in the beaver dam could be seeps from the wastewater treatment plant lagoons that were slow flowing. And thirdly the beaver dam retaining contaminants.  Coats Regional Finance Director Steve Kinsey said that the company is taking active steps to ensure this doesn’t occur again on their property.   The plant will do ongoing monitoring and inspections, ongoing vegetation removal, wastewater screening, dye testing, floor drain disconnect and storm water audit.  

Yancey Sheriff Report 7/24 (Details)

07/27/15 12:36 PM

Confederate Flag Flies

07/27/15 09:25 AM
Men and women gathered on the Burnsville Town Square Sunday afternoon to show their support for their fallen ancestors and their right to fly their flag. Photo by Larry Gortney. 

Hicks and Pritchard Sentenced on Meth Charges

07/27/15 05:22 AM
On July 23, 2015, Levi Hicks, 27, pled guilty to attempted trafficking in methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell and deliver methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell and deliver a counterfeit controlled substance,(More)

Fight Over Sales Tax Dollars

07/24/15 12:40 PM
On Tuesday, July 21st officials from Yancey County traveled to Raleigh to support fairness in the way that sales tax is distributed to counties across North Carolina.  Currently, sales tax distribution has 75% of the sales tax being returned to wherever the sale is made, called point of sale, with the remaining 25% being distributed across the state on a per capita basis.  This means (more)

Notification of Waste Spill in Yancey County

07/23/15 11:16 AM
The Town of Burnsville had a wastewater spill Wednesday on Hillside Drive. An estimated 100,000 gallons of untreated wastewater spilled into Pine Swamp Creek of the French Broad River Basin. The broken main was abandoned and replaced with a new main to prevent further damage.The Division of Water Quality was notified of the event on Wednesday and is reviewing the matter. The Town of Burnsville issued a news release  in accordance with House Bill 1160, which the General Assembly enacted in July 1999, requiring that municipalities, animal operations, industries and others who operate waste handling systems issue news releases when a waste spill of 1,000 gallons or more reaches surface waters. For more information you can contact the Town of Burnsville at 682-2420.

Scheduled Water Outage in Burnsville

07/23/15 11:04 AM
A water outage is planned for Friday, July 24 beginning at 5:00 pm  and will last 6 hours. The water outage will be from Charlie Brown Rd. to Cane River bridge. This will include Mountain View Dr, Crest View Rd. Wheeler Hills, and the west end of West Side Rd. This water outage is needed to relocate fire hydrants for the widening of 19E.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 07/12 - 07/26/2015

07/23/15 10:43 AM

Yancey Man Charged with Robbery in Marion

07/22/15 04:43 PM
Jessie Daniel Mizell age 27, of Double Island Road, Green Mountain has been charged with one felony count of attempted robbery by Marion Police for trying to rob a Marion woman at knifepoint.  According to the McDowell News, Wednesday, July 15 Marion Police officers responded to Murphy’s gas station on Sugar Hill Road around 9 a.m. for a report of a suspect who brandished a knife and tried to steal from a 68-year-old woman. The woman started blowing her horn and yelling for help. The suspect then got into an older model Subaru Forester and drove away. Nothing was stolen and no one was injured. On Tuesday, July 21st,    officers received a tip about Mizell’s identity after images of him were released to the media as a suspect in the case. Warrants were issued for Mizell and he was located by the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office. He was then transported to McDowell. On his way to McDowell he was taken to Mitchell County where he was served with outstanding warrants on drug charges. Mizell has a $15,000 bond in that case and is under a $75,000 bond in McDowell.  Detectives are still searching for the other man seen in surveillance photos with Mizell. The other suspect  is described as a white male with short dark hair, between 5 feet 4 inches and 5 feet 6 inches in height with a slender build. If you have any information on the second suspect, contact the Marion Police Department at 652-5205, or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME. With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous and you could receive a cash reward.

Grant for New Fire Truck in Bakerville

07/22/15 09:46 AM
The  Bakersville Fire Department has received a $700,000 federal grant to purchase a new ladder truck that can reach heights of over 100 feet.  They plan on replacing one of the older ladder trucks. With the ability to reach the expanded height they will be able to properly service the three story apartment buildings on North Mitchell Avenue and any other tall buildings. After they receive the funds the truck will have to be designed and built so it is expected to be about a year before it will be in service. 

Breakdown Causes Delay in NC Registration Stickers

07/21/15 01:42 PM
If you are one of the people who are wondering where your registration sticker is for your license tag you will be glad to hear that The Division of Motor Vehicles has had problems with a machine that processes their mail. The machine that handles 7500 pieces of mail each day broke earlier this month causing the delay in getting North Carolina motorists their registration stickers that were due June 30. The Division of Motor Vehicles usually mails 600,000 stickers each month. But due to the broken machine they are a week behind the normal turn-around  of five to seven days. The database used to check registration is up to date, even though the mailing of the stickers is behind schedule. Motorists that did not get their stickers will not be ticketed if they submitted their request in time.

Forest Fire in McDowell County

07/20/15 04:52 PM
No structures are at risk but fire has burned over 20 acres of Forest Service land in McDowell County as of Monday afternoon. The Bald Knob Fire was reported July 17.  Due to the steep slopes, thick brush and downed timber where the fire is burning, firefighters are using a confine and contain strategy, shoring up existing containment lines in the fire's potential path and scouting out new ones. Predicted hot and dry weather will increase the potential for fire growth.  However the fire is burning adjacent to multiple prescribed burn areas that have recently been treated which will limit the fire's ability to spread rapidly. But without significant rain, the fire could potentially burn for several days. Members of the public near Woodlawn and Sevier and those travelling along U.S. 221 can expect to see and smell smoke, with heaviest smoke likely in the afternoons when temperatures are high and humidity low. The cause of the fire was probably lightning from recent strong thunder storms, though the ignition source remains under investigation.  

Combating Prescription Drugs and Pain Pills

07/20/15 02:53 PM
Prescription drugs and pain pill abuse were the main topics of conversation at the Mitchell –Yancey County Substance Abuse Task Force Meeting on July 14. Bill Westall with RHA Behavioral Health Services said they are making significant changes in their protocols and policies for prescriptions and specifically tightening their screening for clients receiving prescriptions for benzodiazepines (more)

Yancey County Jail- Weekly Booking Report- 07/10/2015 to 07/17/2015

07/20/15 10:40 AM

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 07/05 - 07/19/2015

07/20/15 10:36 AM

MCC Ranked As One of Top in Nation

07/20/15 01:08 AM
Once again ,Mayland Community College ranks as one of the top community colleges in the nation.  “We are pleased to be ranked as both the top community college in North Carolina and the as the 4th best in the United States” said Dr. John C. Boyd, President of Mayland Community College. “This is certainly an acknowledgement of the quality of our faculty and staff at Mayland (more)

Candidates File for Towns Positions

07/17/15 02:57 PM
Today at noon was the deadline for candidates in both Yancey and Mitchell counties to file for municipal elections. The Town of Burnsville had two seats open on the Town Council. The four candidates who have filed for those two seats are Judy Buchanan, Shannon Peterson, Bill Wheeler and Bill Whiteside. In Mitchell County Bakersville is looking to fill two Town Council seats. Charles Nash and George Wilson have filed for those positions. Spruce Pine will vote on the mayor and two council seats. Filing for Mayor are Darla Phillips Harding and Larry McKinney. Three people have filed for the two open Spruce Pine Town Council seats. They are James H. Acuff, Jr., John Boone and Rocky Buchanan. 

Over 1700 DWI Arrests

07/17/15 09:28 AM
Raleigh— State and local law enforcement officers arrested 1,785 drunk drivers during “Operation Firecracker”, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s July Fourth holiday “Booze It & Lose It” enforcement campaign. (more)

Yancey Commissioners Support Bond Referendum

07/16/15 09:42 AM
Mayland  Community College President John Boyd asked the Yancey County Commissioners to support a bond referendum at the Commissioners’ meeting Monday night, July 13th.  The referendum would be for November of this year and would fund infrastructure and facility needs for the college. Governor Pat McCrory has proposed the bond referendum called Connect NC. A portion of the proceeds from the bond would go to community colleges. The bond initiative must pass the North Carolina General Assembly to be put on a ballot. Then if it passes Mayland Community College would receive $2,282,065 from the bond proceeds. According to Governor McCrory the bond would not require an increase in taxes and all costs for the referendum would be paid for by the state. The Yancey Commissioners passed a resolution in support of the bond referendum being put on a ballot for a vote.  

In God We Trust Motto on Mitchell County Buildings

07/15/15 04:20 PM
Mitchell County Commissioners have voted unanimously to display “In God We Trust” on three government buildings in the county. The large black letters will be on the exteriors of both the new and old Courthouses plus inside the Courtroom and Commissioner’s Chamber in the Administration building. The lettering will be paid for through private donations. The action came as a result of a request from Rick Lanier, co-founder and vice chairman of U.S Motto Action Committee. 32 counties in North Carolina and 17 municipalities have voted to display the motto. “In God We Trust” is the national motto and the words are inscribed on the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives Chambers and on all U.S. currency. The “In God We Trust” Motto resolution is expected to be on the Yancey County Commissioners agenda for their August meeting. 

Avery and Yancey Among Lowest in Tax Burden

07/14/15 01:54 PM
Though it may not feel like it, Avery and Yancey Counties were among the top ten lowest in tax burden in the state according to a recent study by SmartAsset. SmartAsset calculated the amount of money a specific person would pay in income, sales, property and fuel taxes in each county in North Carolina, and ranked them lowest to highest in terms of tax burden. (more)

Filing Period Open for Town Elections

07/13/15 02:33 PM
The filing period for municipal elections is now open and will close on Friday, July 17th at noon. In Spruce Pine the positions of Mayor and 2 seats on the town council are up for election. In Bakersville, two town council seats are up for election. The Mitchell County Board of Elections office has relocated to room 108 of the Historic Courthouse on Mitchell Avenue in downtown Bakersville.  More information is available at 688-3101. In Burnsville: There are 2 town council seats up for election The Yancey County Board of Elections telephone number is 682-3950. Their office is located in the Burnsville Town Center. 

Man Injured in Waterfall Accident

07/13/15 02:24 PM
A man from Miami, Florida fell from the top of Roaring Fork Falls on Saturday, July 11th. Mission Health’s helicopter was called out around 3:30 pm. According to reports the 20-year-old man’s back was injured but fortunately he survived the fall. Roaring Fork Falls is located near Black Mountain Campground in the South Toe section of Yancey County.  In October of last year a 50-year-old Florida man lost his footing and was killed when he fell from Glen Burney Falls near Blowing Rock. 

Yancey Sheriff Report 7/13 (Details)

07/13/15 09:50 AM

Florida Fugitive Arrested

07/13/15 06:57 AM
On June 30th the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office received information on the whereabouts of a wanted fugitive residing in Yancey County. Deputies with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office then located 34 year old Robert Paul Smith at a residence located at 401 Sidewinder Drive in the Clearmont area of Yancey County. Smith, who was entered as a wanted fugitive for a 2001 Felony Aggravated Assault with Weapon in Holmes County Florida, was taken into custody without incident. Smith also had outstanding arrest warrants in McDowell County from a 2005 Assault on a Female case, and a 2010 case for offenses that included Resisting a Public Officer, Careless Driving, No Operators License, and Revoked Tag.     

Driver Education Funding In Limbo

07/09/15 02:19 PM
North Carolina has traditionally provided funds to school districts to pay for driver’s education. However, at this time, lawmakers are undecided on whether or not they will continue to fund this program. This uncertainty has left school systems and students wondering who will pay for the required training. Because guaranteed state funding ran out when the 2014-15 fiscal year ended (more)

Uncertainty Over Teacher Assistant Funding

07/09/15 01:49 PM
School districts across the state are waiting to see if North Carolina lawmakers will cease to provide funding for as many as 8,500 teacher assistant positions during the next two years. While the House budget plan proposes to maintain current funding levels for teacher assistants, the Senate proposes to cut teacher assistants, using those funds to pay for teachers to reduce class sizes in (more)

Mayland To Be New Owner of Pinebridge

07/08/15 02:16 PM
The former Pinebridge Coliseum and hotel property is expected to change ownership soon. Current property owner, Robert Bailey has offered the property as a donation to Mayland Community College. Mayland has accepted and is now moving forward with plans to take ownership of that property. The transfer of ownership requires state approval before the project can move forward. That decision is expected by mid-August. For now Mayland is bringing in architects and engineers for preliminary work on the project.  The plan for the project is to create a new educational facility. Some of Mayland’s current programs will also move to the new facility, creating more room on the main campus for expanded programs.   

No Swim Advisory Still in Effect

07/07/15 02:58 PM
A no-swim advisory is still in effect for the North Fork River, Lake James Landing and Burnette’s Landing. Crews continue to test the waters for a substance which was discovered last week that resulted in the death of many water animals and injury to one firefighter. Booms were put into place immediately after the initial report to contain the pollutant. The firefighter had skin irritation (more)

Mars Hill University Receives National Community Service Recognition

07/07/15 12:47 PM
Mars Hill University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction for 2014. Since the inception of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2006, Mars Hill University has been named to the honor roll five times, including twice being named to the honor roll with distinction. The President’s (more)

TRAC To Send Out Branding Survey

07/06/15 09:55 AM
The Toe River Arts Council recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and four other agencies to undertake a branding and wayfinding project for Mitchell and Yancey counties. Working with North Star Destination Strategies and 18 government and local cultural agency partners, a branding strategy is being developed that will offer an arts focused message and logo. In the (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Report (Details)

07/06/15 09:13 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report (Details)

07/06/15 08:48 AM

Hensley Sentenced for Indecent Liberties

07/03/15 11:15 AM
On July 2nd, 2015, a Yancey County jury convicted John Charles Hensley of five counts of taking indecent liberties with children. The crimes occurred between 2007 and 2011 when the victims were between the ages of 12 and 15. According to Sheriff Gary Banks these types of cases require a tremendous amount of time and expertise to investigate. “I and my office are committed to doing everything within our power to bring predators like Mr. Hensley to justice. We must ensure that Yancey County continues to be a safe place for our children,” Sheriff Banks said. Judge Gary Gavenus sentenced Mr. Hensley to a minimum term of 80 months and a maximum term of 100 months in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. If ever released from prison, Mr. Hensley must also register as a sex offender for a period of 30 years. District Attorney Seth Banks stated “we continue to work tirelessly to hold individuals who would take advantage of children accountable for their actions. It is important that we as a community speak with one voice when we say that people who prey on our children have no place in our mountains. I appreciate the hard work of Assistant District Attorney Milton Fletcher and the efforts of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in bringing John Charles Hensley to justice.”

Swim Advisory for Lake James

07/03/15 11:10 AM
The McDowell County Health Department has issued a NO SWIM ADVISORY in the North Fork River from American Thread Road in Woodlawn to Burnette’s Landing and Lake James Landing due to an unknown substance in the water that has killed hundreds of fish. State and federal officials continue to test the water in the area to determine the cause of the fish kill. Citizens are advised to keep their pets away from the waterways as well. The advisory is in effect until further notice.

Unemployment Rates Released

07/02/15 01:41 PM
Unemployment rates increased in 97 of North Carolina’s counties, decreased in 2, and remained unchanged in one according to employment figures for May, recently released by the state. In our area Avery, McDowell, and Madison all had the lowest rate at 5.8 percent while Mitchell had the highest rate for our area at 6.7 percent. Yancey County meanwhile sat in the middle of the spectrum at 6.0 percent. Across the state Graham County had the highest unemployment rate at 12.0 percent while Buncombe County had the lowest at 4.5 percent. Within the North Carolina metro areas Rocky Mount experienced the highest rate at 8.6 percent and Asheville had the lowest at 4.7 percent. The May, not seasonally adjusted, statewide rate was 5.9 percent. 

McDowell County Bridge

07/02/15 09:58 AM
A temporary traffic light is coming to Walker Road near Dysartsville Monday, July 6, as work begins on a new bridge over Shoal Creek. The road will be down to one lane, and the signal will let theN.C. Department of Transportation keep it open during construction. (more)

Small Increase in Burnsville Water Rates

07/01/15 04:28 PM
The Burnsville Town Council has approved their new 2015-16 budget. The budget includes a one percent water rate increase for customers in order to build the funds for major water and sewer repairs and projects. In other business, the Board also approved the voluntary annexation of the new Pizza Hut property. The Board chose not to take a pay increase for themselves and they eliminated the position of Town Administrator.  Those duties will be handled by the Town Clerk and Mayor Coletta. Anthony Hensley will remain as Public Works Director. Mayor Coletta also has expanded her office hours. 

Music Pioneer Honored with Highway Marker

07/01/15 03:56 PM
Burnsville native and music pioneer Lesley Riddle will be honored Friday at 8:30 pm at the Mountain Heritage Center in Burnsville with a  North Carolina historical highway marker. The ceremony will take place during intermission of Riddlefest and will be a proclamation presented to Lesley Riddle’s family along with recognition of the people who helped to get the marker designated. People being recognized include Chris Beacham of the NC Arts Council, Wanda Profit and the Economic Development Commission, Ron Powell and the Town of Burnsville and the Yancey County Commissioners. The marker will be placed on Hwy 19E near the cemetery where Riddle is buried at a later date after the construction of the highway is completed. An official dedication will be held at that time. The proclamation ceremony is in conjunction with Riddlefest that is going on Friday night at the Parkway Playhouse and the performance of Ensley, which is a stage production based on Riddle’s life and music that is going on through July 11 at the Playhouse. Lesley Riddle is an African-American musician who is credited with influencing the Carter Family and country music in the 1920s. 

Mitchell School Board Chooses New Principal

07/01/15 12:33 PM
The Mitchell County Schools Board of Education conducted a special called meeting on Tuesday, June 30th to name the new Principal at Mayland Early College.  The opening was a result of the retirement of Mrs. Muffy Dayton.  The Board   voted unanimously to appoint Mrs. Emily Dellinger to the Principal post at Mayland Early College for the 2015-16 school year.  Mrs. Dellinger was selected from a pool of 64 applicants for this position.  All three school districts participated in the interview process.  During the 2014-15 school year  Emily served as Assistant Principal at Mitchell High School.  In that position she was responsible for overseeing curriculum, scheduling of students and staff and facilitating testing.      

Personnel Approved by Mitchell Board of Ed

06/30/15 02:47 PM
At the special called meeting of the Mitchell County Board of Education on June 25th several personnel positions were approved including Wendy Wiseman as Science teacher at Mitchell High, Marvin “Scott” Jacumin as Social Studies teacher at Mitchell High and Joshua Michael Brooks as Interim Social Studies teacher at Harris Middle School.  In other positions Trixie Briggs was approved as Substitute Bus Driver and Kellie Briggs as a volunteer.

Asheville VA Ranked Number One

06/30/15 12:56 PM
The Charles George VA Medical Center has for the second time in six months been ranked number one in the nation for patient satisfaction out of all of the VA’s Medical Centers. The center, commonly referred to as the Asheville VA, is one of two centers that serve veterans in our area. The other one, the James H. Quillen VAMC at Mountain Home, Tennessee, commonly referred to as the (more)

Booze it & Lose It - Through July 5

06/29/15 04:23 PM
Law enforcement officers representing local, state, and military agencies gatheredFriday at the Airborne and Operations Museum in Fayetteville to kick off the Fourth of July “Booze It & Lose It” Operation Firecracker driving while impaired enforcement campaign. (more)

Free Fishing Day in NC

06/29/15 02:21 PM
Free fishing day in North Carolina! Everyone is welcome to fish in any public body of water without purchasing a license or additional trout fishing license on July 4. Fishermen will still have to abide by all other fishing regulations, such as size, creel limits and lure restrictions. The Wildlife Resources Commission requires anyone age 16 and older to have a license to fish throughout the year. There are more than 500 fishing and boating areas, most of which are free, and open to the public in North Carolina. This Saturday you can celebrate your freedom by fishing for free.

Yancey Sheriffs Report (Details)

06/29/15 09:01 AM

Two Pests Affecting Oak Trees

06/26/15 02:47 PM
The N.C. Forest Service is reporting outbreaks of two forest pests that have already had significant impacts on trees in the western part of the state. “Oaks in Western North Carolina, particularly red oaks, are losing leaves as a result of oak leaf blister, a disease caused by a fungus,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “In addition, foresters are reporting (more)

DMV Starts Moped Registrations July 1

06/25/15 05:26 PM
Raleigh - On Wednesday, July 1, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles will introduce new statewide requirements for moped operators in accordance with House Bill 1145. These new regulations require all moped operators to register their vehicle with the DMV, and obtain a registration card and license plate, which must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle at all times. (more)

No Tax Increase For Mitchell County

06/24/15 01:44 PM
The Mitchell County Commissioners have approved the 2015-16 fiscal year budget with a 3-2 vote with no property tax increase. The new budget will go into effect July 1 and is balanced for $18,366,103. In the county, property tax rates are going to remain at 53 cents per $100. This will be the second year for this rate. In order to balance the new budget, $577,608 will be taken out of the county’s fund balance. There is no salary increase for any county employees included in the budget this year although Mitchell County Soil and Water did receive a pay increase of $1,800 for their administrative assistant after it was requested by their board. At the same time, a lease proposal from Mission Health to build a new EMS facility in Ledger was rejected by the commissioners. 

Stabbing Investigation

06/24/15 01:36 PM
Authorities in Mitchell County are searching for an individual after a stabbing incident that occurred on June 9 at RHA Behavior Health Services in Spruce Pine. The victim’s injuries were not lethal. If you have any information regarding this incident please contact the Spruce Pine Police Department by calling 828-765-2233.

No-Fee Voter ID Cards

06/24/15 06:50 AM
Raleigh- The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles is continuing its collaborative effort with the North Carolina State Board of Elections to issue no-fee voter ID cards and to register qualified voters at all driver license offices statewide in advance of the 2016 elections. (more)

2016 NC Rhododendron Queens Crowned

06/22/15 03:09 PM
2016 North Carolina Rhododendron Queens were crowned Saturday the 20th of June in Bakersville at the 69th Rhododendron Festival. Pictured are 2016 NC Rhododendron Queen Kellie Pittman and 2016 NC Jr. Rhododendron Queen Miranda ( Andi ) Creech. Queen Kellie (more)

Mitchell School Lunch Prices To Go Up

06/17/15 01:43 PM
A 25 cent increase to school lunches has been approved by the Mitchell County Board of Education for next year. Mitchell County Schools have been selling their lunches at a loss for several years. The vote on Monday to raise the school lunch prices is the first since 2008. Previous school boards have all voted to use local funds to pay for the shortfall so as to keep prices low for students and parents. The lunch increase is a result of rising food costs, dwindling student enrollment, and federal regulations imposed by the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. This move will increase the prices at elementary schools in Mitchell County to $2 and at the middle and high schools cost will be $2.25.  The increase in lunch price will affect roughly 800 students in the school district who pay full price for lunch at school. Around 1,100 of the district’s nearly 1,900 students are in the free and reduced lunch program. School districts across the region are facing similar issues in their child nutrition funds. Despite this new increase in school lunch prices, Mitchell County still has the lowest prices in the region. Yancey County Schools charge $2.05 for elementary schools and $2.30 for middle and high schools. The Avery County School Board recently voted to raise the price of their lunch by five cents to $2.15 for elementary schools and $2.35 for middle and high schools. Madison County schools charge elementary students $2.20 and middle and high school students $2.35. 

Yancey Schools Change Memorial Day Holiday Policy

06/17/15 10:20 AM
Historically, Yancey County students have been in school on Memorial Day.  For decades YCS has implemented the Memorial Day holiday during the week of “Spring Break,” to help students and staff benefit from a full week off in the spring. Recent questions from the public have been asked about observing Memorial Day as we do for other days in the school calendar such as (more)

Judge Bill Leavell Passes Away

06/17/15 09:03 AM
William A. Leavell, III "Bill" passed away Monday, June 15, 2015 after having fought a valiant battle with Alzheimer’s. Leavell served 4 terms as a 24th District Court Judge where he championed the safety of women and children and believed in helping those who strayed on the wrong path. He is being remembered as a devoted servant to the Lord, as a father, son and brother and as an advocate for all that bettered his community and his beloved mountains. For Bill life was an adventure and he possessed a genuine sense of curiosity in everything he encountered. His life was full of energy, wonder and love. He will be missed for his intellect, his gift of bringing joy to others and his wonderful sense of humor, but all who knew him also can rejoice as he lived his life as a pathway to heaven through Christ.He is survived by his wife Cyndi, his son Moses and daughter Miriam.  His mother Patty Leavell, a sister Melissa Leavell , a half brother Michael L. Guintard, father and mother in law Rich and Carol Ackner, numerous cousins,  nieces  and nephews, and his hiking buddy "Wally". Bill was a member of Bear Creek Baptist Church where the family will receive friends today (June 17, 2015) from 12:00PM to 4:00 PM.  Funeral services will follow.