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)

Expect Significant Traffic Delays

06/23/15 01:14 PM
Young and McQueen Grading Company has released a statement saying that motorists should expect significant traffic delays in the Burnsville area over the next six weeks. The company is trying to get all of the underground pipe crossings completed before the added traffic of a new school year. School will begin August 17th in Yancey County. 

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.  

Mitchell Schools Awarded Technology Funds

06/16/15 09:11 AM
Mitchell County Commissioners have awarded $88,000 to fund a 1:1 Laptop Initiative for middle school students. This will greatly enhance the newly implemented STEM program, which incorporates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.   The system was recently awarded $350,000 from Golden LEAF to implement Discovery Labs in every school.  These innovative STEM Discovery Labs will provide students valuable hands-on manipulative and interactive resources, which build a strong foundation of math and science skills.  This will integrate with the current economic development plan in Mitchell County which is centered around occupations that are focused precisely on areas of emphasis in the STEM program.  The allocation is a reflection of the schools system and county’s efforts to develop a workforce that can think critically and understand and apply engineering design processes. Superintendent  Spurling said "I am grateful to our Board of Commissioners for their financial commitment in funding the middle school 1:1 Laptop Initiative.  This will enhance our STEM program and provide a laptop for every 5th through 8th grade student. This technology supports the twenty first century classrooms digital teaching and learning which is our school district's objective."

Three Sentenced For Fish Hatchery Kill

06/15/15 02:27 PM
In district court on June 13th 23-year-old Jack Daniel Brown, of Spaulding Road, Marion; 21-year-old Gabriel Paul Miller of Wayne Street, Marion and 20-year-old Adam Timothy Mitchell of Virginia Road, Marion all pleaded guilty to misdemeanor count each of polluting hatchery water, robbing or injuring hatcheries or aquatics and injury to personal property.   Each received a 30-day suspended sentence, 36 months supervised probation, 100 hours of community service. They must also pay a restitution of $5,000. They are also not allowed on wildlife property without permission, according to the court docket. The three are accused of killing 150,000 rainbow trout at Armstrong Fish Hatchery in Marion, on April 4th. The men supposedly opened a gate, which diverted the supply of water and oxygen away from the 150,000 fish. The fish that were killed were valued at approximately $150,000. Armstrong Hatchery is responsible for stocking catchable-size trout in the public trout waters of 11 counties in the northern section of North Carolina's mountain region.

Relay For Life Events Coming Up

06/15/15 02:15 PM
Relay For Life will be taking place in the next couple weeks in both Mitchell and Yancey counties. The first Relay For Life event will be in Yancey County this Friday, June 19th from 6pm to midnight at Mountain Heritage High School. The theme for this event is “Cirque De Relay”. Relay For Life of Mitchell County will be held Friday, June 26th, also from 6pm to midnight at Mitchell High School. The theme for this event is “Holidays of Hope”  Both events, which raise money for cancer, include carnival type games, lots of good food, music, dancing, and   the celebratory cancer survivors lap, as well as   Luminaria Ceremonies where candles will be lit in honor and memory of those  who have battled cancer.   Both events are open to the public and everyone is invited to come out for a good time for a good cause.

East Yancey Water and Sewer Bid Awarded

06/12/15 02:28 PM
The East Yancey Water and Sewer District Board of Directors met on Thursday, June 11th to award a bid for the completion of the collection system lines for the East Yancey Sewer project. The sewer project will bring vitally needed sewer service to the eastern section of Yancey County in the Micaville community. The contract was awarded to Bryant Land and Development, a Burnsville company. The first phase of the project will be completing the sewer line from the new wastewater treatment plant on Wyatt Town Road to HSM Solutions on Bowditch Road. This line will also allow Micaville Elementary School to connect to the sewer system along with a number of businesses and residents in the Micaville area. The next phase of the project will be to complete the section of sewer line from Micaville along the 19E corridor toward Burnsville. The project packet now goes to the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources for final review and approval. Construction will begin in July.

Spruce Pine Police Searching for a Man

06/12/15 08:06 AM
Spruce Pine Police are looking for a man they say, Kidnapped, Beat and threatened to kill a woman who had a protected order against him.  The warrants issued for Margaro Luna-Alveres say that he bruised the victims face, threw her to the ground by her hair and kicked her.  Anyone who knows where this man is should contact Spruce Pine Police. 

High School Graduations This Weekend

06/11/15 01:44 PM
Graduations are taking place this weekend in Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey Counties. Avery High School will be holding their graduation on Friday evening starting at 6:30. Roughly 172 seniors will be graduating from Avery this year. The Valedictorian is Zackery Lindsey and the Salutatorian is Raina Wiseman. Both Mountain Heritage High School and Mitchell High School will  be holding their graduation ceremonies on Saturday starting at 10 am. Mountain Heritage has around 160 graduating seniors this year. The Heritage Valedictorian is Seth Flynn and tthe Salutatorian is Isaac Boulter. Mitchell High has about 100 seniors graduating tomorrow. The Valedictorian is Suzanna Schultz and The Mitchell High Salutatorian is Duncan Nielander. 

Board of Transportation Approves Plan for 1,100 Projects Over Next 10 Years

06/11/15 12:22 PM
The 2016-2025 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) has recently been approved by the North Carolina Board of Transportation. This 10-year transportation plan includes somewhere close to 1,100 projects within the state that will take place within the next decade. Projects in all 100 counties of North Carolina and all transportation modes are included in the State Transportation Improvement Plan, making it one of the NCDOT’s most comprehensive state transportation plans to date. Locally, the State Transportation Improvement Program includes replacing bridges over Jim Creek, Bald Creek, Possum Trot Creek, Cat Tail Creek, Browns Creek, Colbert Creek, Little Brush Creek, Cub Creek, Bean Creek, Rock Creek, Brummetts Creek, and three over Crabtree Creek. The widening of the road from Yancey County to Mitchell County will also continue and is included in the plan. For details click here

Radford Charged With Felony Possession

06/11/15 11:18 AM
Mitchell County Deputy Daron Holmes stopped Danny Lawrence Radford, age 44 of 93 Culprit Hill Road, Burnsville  in the Loafer' s Glory community and charged him with Driving While Impaired. Upon search of Radford, Deputy Holmes found Oxycodone. Radford had a previous drug conviction, which bumped this drug charge to a felony. Radford has been charged with Felony Simple Possession with a court date of July 1st

Baxley Charged With Child Abuse

06/11/15 11:10 AM
On June 9, 2015 Spruce Pine Detectives charged Michael Mitchell Baxley age 41, of 65 Fairground St, Spruce Pine with Felony Intentional Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury, a Class B2 Felony. The charges were in relation to a call received on May 19 by Paramedics and Law Enforcement of a report of a child that had fallen and was unresponsive at the Fairground Street Apartments. The 2 year old child was transported to Blue Ridge Regional and then transported by air to Mission Memorial Hospital. 

Barron Retires, Briggs Named New Regional Library Director

06/11/15 10:41 AM
Amber Westall Briggs, an employee at the Yancey County Public Library, has been chosen to replace Dr. Daniel Barron as director of the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library System. Barron recently announced that he would retire July 1 after serving as regional director for the (more)

Forgery Charges

06/10/15 01:03 PM
Linda Marie Edwards age 46, of the Green Mountain community is facing several charges for stealing over $3,000 through the forgery of checks from an elderly family member she had been caring for. Edwards was arrested by Mitchell County deputies after reportedly dipping into her relative’s checking account several times over the first half of the year. Employees of the United Community Bank noticed Edwards was cashing checks using the bank account of an elderly customer during this time and notified the family of the victim about Edwards’ activity. Edwards confessed to forging her elderly relative’s signature on 19 checks during a span of time between January and April, withdrawing over $2,600. She also admitted to taking $600 from an ATM using the victim’s stolen debit card, according to reports. Edwards was charged with four counts of larceny of chose action, four counts of forgery of an instrument, and five counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. 

Flag Disposal Ceremony June 13

06/10/15 12:31 PM
In honor of Flag Day which is this Sunday, June 14, Sgt. E.L. Randolph Chapter 57 Disabled American Veterans will be holding a flag disposal ceremony on Saturday on the Burnsville Town Square at 1 pm. Flags that are worn, tattered, or soiled beyond the point of being able to be repaired should be respectfully retired. If the flag is currently flying, lower it slowly with respect and remove it from its pole then fold the flag into its traditional triangle fold. The flag is more than just a simple piece of fabric or a decoration. The flag represents justice and freedom as well as commemorates the sacrifices made by brave men and women who have fought to uphold these ideals so it needs to be treated with great respect. That respect extends to the flag’s eventual retirement and destruction. “The flag when it is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem of display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning” as stated by the United States Flag Code. As the flag burns, you can show respect in your words or actions by saluting the flag or observing a moment of silence. Whatever you do, make sure that you remain respectful and reverent as the flag is retired. Do not crack jokes, chat with others, or divert your attention (for example, to a cell phone) as the flag burns. Take a moment to honor the flag with the Pledge of Allegiance as it is destroyed. This is a noble and fitting final duty for your flag. If you have a flag that needs to be retired you can drop it off at the Yancey Times Journal office at 22 North Main Street in Burnsville now through Friday, June 12.

New Yancey Budget Adopted, No Tax Increase, Pay Raise for County Workers

06/10/15 09:31 AM
At their regular business meeting on June 8, 2015 the Yancey County Commissioners adopted the spending plan for county government for the coming fiscal year.  Just like North Carolina, Yancey County’s fiscal year is from July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016.  This marks the second year in a row that budget adoption has occurred in early (more)

Yancey School Board Recognition

06/09/15 04:03 PM
At its regular meeting on Monday, June 5th, the Yancey County Board of Education recognized several people for their contributions to the school system this past year, including Yancey County Schools 2015 Teacher of the Year, Jeremy Dotts.  The East Yancey Middle (more)

Bald Creek Child Development Center To Close

06/09/15 03:07 PM
The Bald Creek Child Development Center in Burnsville is closing on July 3. The center is operated by a nonprofit called Inter-Mountain Children Services. Since 2008 the county has allowed the center to operate without paying rent on the county-owned building. Yancey County Manager Nathan Bennett says the county has been trying to work with the group to either buy the building or lease it because the county can no longer afford to maintain it. The county has also been paying all the utilities and maintaining all the building and the grounds. Bennett says the facility's director refused to even take over the utility payment, saying she would just close the center. The closing will affect about 30 children.

Mountaineer Shrine Club Appreciation Day

06/09/15 02:44 PM
Mayor Chuck Vines and the Town of Bakersville have proclaimed Saturday, June 13th as Mountaineer Shrine Club Appreciation Day. According to the Proclamation issued by the Town the Mountaineer Shrine Club is an excellent example of Shrine Clubs who work in cooperation with private citizens to meet human needs including funding the Shriners Childrens Hospital that provides treatment for children at no cost to their families.  Mountaineer Shrine Appreciation Day corresponds with the Shriners Parade and Cruz-In planned for Saturday in Bakersville. All proceeds from the event go to Shriners Hospital. The event includes the Cruz In, music, food and inflatables for the kids and will be from 10 to 4 with the parade at noon in Bakersville.  

Avery Commissioners Lower Tax Rate Significantly

06/08/15 03:09 PM
The Avery County Commissioners have lowered the property tax rate by 7.38 cents per $100 valuation. The Commissioners adopted a budget of over $25 million. That budget was a decrease by over $553 thousand from the previous year. The fire tax remained the same at 6.7 cents. Some departments received increases while others received cuts.  The new budget caused some controversy at the public hearing, however Chairman Reo Griffith said they made cuts that they thought were sensible and that the Avery County citizens had been overtaxed and this would put money back in the citizens’ pockets. The budget passed with a 3 to 2 vote.  

Another Lawsuit Filed in Boone Hotel Deaths

06/08/15 02:09 PM
A second lawsuit has been filed in relation to deaths at the Best Western Hotel in Boone in June of 2013.  The suit was filed Friday just prior to the 2 year state law deadline. Monday two years ago was the day that 11 year old Jeffrey Lee Williams died in room 225 and his mother was critically injured as fumes from a faulty pool heater seeped into their room. The suit names several (more)

Unemployment Rates Decrease

06/08/15 01:17 PM
Unemployment rates decreased in 89 of North Carolina’s counties, increased in six, and remained unchanged in five according to employment figures recently released by the state. The April, not seasonally adjusted, statewide rate was 5.2 percent. Yancey’s dropped slightly to 5.4 percent, Mitchell dropped to 6.3, Madison dropped to 4.9, Avery dropped to 5.6 percent and McDowell dropped to 5.2 percent. Graham County and Hyde County both had the highest unemployment rate at 12.8 percent while Orange and Buncombe Counties both had the lowest at 3.9 percent. 13 of the state’s metro areas experienced rate decreases while one increased and one remained unchanged. 

Flake Found Guilty of First Degree Sexual Offense

06/05/15 04:03 PM
On June 4, 2015, Richard George Flake, age 52, was found guilty by a jury of three counts of First Degree Sexual Offense with a Child, one count of Taking Indecent Liberties with a Minor, and one count of Misdemeanor Child Abuse after a trial in Madison County Superior Court. In 2010, Flake sexually abused a minor child to whom he was related. The child was 4 years old at the time the offenses were reported in 2011. In addition, the jury found there were aggravating factors present in that Flake had used a position of trust in order to perpetrate the crimes and the named victim was very young. Judge Marvin Pope sentenced Flake to serve an active sentence of between 500 and 618 months in the North Carolina Department of Corrections. In addition, in the event that Flake is ever released, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. District Attorney Seth Banks stated, “my office continues to work hard to bring justice to those who have preyed on the most vulnerable among us, our children. I appreciate the hard work of the Mars Hill Police Department, Mission Children’s Hospital, and Assistant District Attorneys John Honeycutt and Milton Fletcher in working to bring resolution to this tragic situation.”

Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department Awarded Grant

06/04/15 02:47 PM
The Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department has received a $19,219.50 grant from the 2015 Volunteer Fire Department Fund from the State of North Carolina. Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department has received $39,736.22 total from the fund since the program began 27 years ago. The Volunteer Fire Department Fund was created by the General Assembly in 1988 as a way to help these volunteer departments get enough money for supplies and equipment. This most recent check for the Burnsville Volunteer Fire Department will be used by the department to acquire much needed equipment.  

No Increase in Spruce Pine Property Taxes

06/04/15 02:42 PM
Property taxes will remain the same for Spruce Pine for next year. According to Finance Director Dave Lindsey the budget is currently balanced and  the property tax rate will remain at 51 cents per every $100. Water and sewer rates inside and outside of town limits will also remain the same. The town’s general fund is balanced at $2,018,973. This also includes an increase of (more)

Detour to Start For Velvis Hollifield Road Near Spruce Pine

06/04/15 09:50 AM
Starting June 15, drivers on Velvis Hollifield Road near Spruce Pine will be directed on a short detour, as the N.C. Department of Transportation installs a new culvert.
The bridge over Grassy Creek will be closed during the project.  Drivers can follow signs to an adjacent private road providing access to Dale Road and Lynn Gap Road. The work is scheduled to be finished in the fall. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the Traveler Services section of the NCDOT website or follow NCDOT on Twitter. You can also access NCDOT Mobile, a version of the NCDOT website especially for mobile devices. Visit m.ncdot.gov from your mobile browser.

State Highway Patrol Increasing Focus on Interstate Highway Parked Vehicles

06/04/15 08:18 AM
RALEIGH – The State Highway Patrol will be stepping up its enforcement on illegally stopped vehicles along North Carolina’s Interstate Highways in an effort to save lives and increase safety for the motoring public.  (more)

Biltmore Estate Featured in Novel

06/03/15 09:00 AM
The Biltmore Estate is the setting of the new book “Serafina And The Black Cloak”. This novel is the tale of a 12 year old girl who secretly lives in the Biltmore Estate. Her father has told her that she has to hide herself and never let herself be seen so she sneaks around in the darkened shadows. She prowls through the secret passages of the estate. (more)

Rozelle Sentenced For Indecent Liberties

06/02/15 09:11 AM
Sixty four year old John Abner Rozelle, of Burnsville, was convicted May 21st of seven counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor and one count of felony indecent exposure. The charges stem from reports of his exposing himself to a six year old child. He was arrested and charged in February of 2014. Rozelle was registered on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry at that time. Judge Jerry Cash Martin sentenced Rozelle to prison for a minimum of 76 months and a maximum of 128 months. After being released from prison, Rozelle must wear an ankle bracelet for the rest of his life that tracks his movements. District Attorney Seth Banks stated, “My office continues to be committed to aggressively prosecuting offenders who would take advantage of the most vulnerable among us, our children. I appreciate the hard work of Assistant District Attorney Milton Fletcher and the efforts of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in bringing John Rozelle to justice.”

Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter

06/01/15 02:02 PM
The United States Mint will feature the Blue Ridge Parkway in its America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The quarter features one of the many tunnels on the Parkway, and a dogwood, the North Carolina state flower in the foreground. On June 25th at 10:00 a.m., Asheville will host a Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter Launch and Coin Exchange event at Pack Square to commemorate the release of the coin. According to that release, the coin exchange will begin immediately following the quarter launch event with one roll of quarters ($10) minimum and a 10 rolls ($100) maximum available. Every child in attendance younger than 18 years old will receive a free quarter and U.S. Mint coin box. Festivities will include music by David Holt, Blue Ridge Parkway partners, and Parkway rangers, who will have activities to "bring the parkway into the city". The quarter is the 28th coin to be released in the United States Mint's America the Beautiful Quarters Program. It was designed by Frank Morris and engraved by Joseph Menna. The America the Beautiful series was started in 2010 by the U.S. Mint to capture the beauty of the country's natural landscapes. The 12-year initiative includes 56 quarters featuring reverse designs depicting some of the most cherished national parks, including Arches and Everglades, which were minted last year, and other national sites.

Special Burnsville Town Council Meeting Re-Scheduled

05/28/15 04:44 PM
The special meeting of the Burnsville Town Council scheduled for Friday, at 10:00 a.m. has been rescheduled due to the lack of a quorum. The meeting will now be held at 6 pm on Monday, June 1st. The purpose of the meeting   is to consider and possibly take action on a Resolution to schedule a public hearing on the annexation of a parcel of property located between US Highway 19E and West Main Street that is a portion of the old Avondale Mills parking area (the new Pizza Hut location) and the proposed 2015-2016 budget. In addition, the Council will participate in a workshop regarding zoning ordinance provisions, Board of Adjustment variances and enforcement.

Branding Consultants Hired

05/28/15 04:22 PM
The Toe River Valley is one of the most memorable areas in the country. Meandering streams and rivers, impressive mountains, and inviting valleys make Mitchell and Yancey Counties a region of unparalleled beauty. In the summer, the rhododendron infuse the green hills with brilliant pinks and magenta. In winter, the air is so crisp it snaps, and snows quiet the landscape. Add into this diverse mix (more)

Update on Fire

05/28/15 03:13 PM
(News Release from the Yancey County Sheriff's Department)
On the night of May 27, 2015 around 10:30 pm, Yancey County E911 received a call reporting a house fire located at 1628 Phipps Creek Road.  West Yancey Fire Department Burnsville Fire Department, Clearmont Fire Department and the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office responded and were advised that it was believed that an 84 (more)

Elderly Woman Dies in a House Fire

05/28/15 07:19 AM
An Elderly woman who lived alone died in a house fire last night on Phipps Creek road in Yancey County. The home was fully engulfed in flames when the fire was reported by a passing motorist around 10:30pm.  The West Yancey Fire Department responded to the call. The SBI is investigating the cause of the fire. We will have more details as they become available. 

Special Burnsville Town Council Meeting Scheduled

05/27/15 04:40 PM
There will be a special meeting of the Burnsville Town Council on Friday, at 10:00 a.m. The purpose of the meeting   is to consider and possibly take action on a Resolution to schedule a public hearing on the annexation of a parcel of property located between US Highway 19E and West Main Street that is a portion of the old Avondale Mills parking area (the new Pizza Hut location) and the proposed 2015-2016 budget. In addition, the Council will participate in a workshop regarding zoning ordinance provisions, Board of Adjustment variances and enforcement.

MHU Ramsey Center Closed for Summer Renovations

05/27/15 03:12 PM
The Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University will be closed for renovations over the summer months. During this period, the holdings and collections in the Ramsey Center and in the Southern Appalachian Archives will only be available to the public by appointment only. According to Dr. Karen Paar, Director of the Ramsey Center, planned renovations will double (more)

New Executive Director at Grandfather Mountain

05/26/15 10:00 AM
After an exhaustive nine-month search, the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation Board of Directors has named Jesse B. Pope Jr. of Newland the nonprofit’s next executive director. Pope, a 13-year employee of Grandfather Mountain, most recently served as assistant vice president and director of education and natural resources. During his time at Grandfather Mountain, Pope also (more)

The Orchard Celebrates Protection Agreement

05/26/15 06:54 AM
The Orchard at Altapass will have a celebration Saturday, May 30th from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. There will be live music, refreshments and more to celebrate the conservation agreements purchased by the Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund that will ensure permanent protection for the historic Orchard. Each year, 50,000 people visit the nonprofit Appalachian cultural and history center and the apple orchard to reconnect to the land and its history. The Orchard at Altapass is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 328.3 near Little Switzerland in McDowell County.

NCDOT Employees Take Part in Division 13 Roadeo

05/23/15 03:47 PM
Morganton— It’s a friendly competition where inches and instincts make a difference on the scorecard, as participants maneuver large machinery on the course. When the challenge ends, everyone's a champion. (more)

Spruce Pine Police investigating 2 Year Old Girl Injury

05/21/15 07:12 AM
The Spruce Pine Police Department is investigating the incident after a 2-year-old girl was taken to the hospital with serious head injuries. Law enforcement and paramedics were called Tuesday afternoon to the Fairground Street Apartments.  The call reported that the child fell off the bed and hit her head. Police say the child was unresponsive. She was taken to the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital by ambulance, then airlifted to Mission Hospital. Police say she is stable but are fearful of whether she'll recover from the injury. The Spruce Pine Police Department, the SBI, and the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office are investigating how it happened. Spruce Pine Chief Bill Summerlin said they are obligated to investigate. No charges have been filed and no one arrested. 

Click it or Ticket

05/20/15 07:41 AM
The Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) launched its Memorial Day “Click It or Ticket” education and enforcement campaign Monday morning. It runs through the Memorial Day holiday weekend, ending on May 31. (More)

Health Department Encourages Residents to Protect Themselves from Stomach Illnes

05/19/15 03:47 PM
A number of people have contacted the local health departments in the past few weeks concerned about outbreaks of the “stomach flu”.  While not a true flu, widespread outbreaks of stomach and intestinal illness are often caused by viruses, with Norovirus of cruise ship fame, being one of the most common.  Most often these illnesses resolve on their own after a few (more)

TRAC Announces Scholarship Winners

05/19/15 01:20 PM
The Toe River Arts Council is pleased to announce the annual award of two art scholarships. Taylor Hutchison and Richard Isaac Boulter will each receive $500 towards furthering their careers in art or art education. Taylor has plans to attend East Tennessee State University where she plans to major in Theatre and Spanish with a minor in dance. Her short term goals will lead her back (more)

Info From Creating Prosperity Now Forum (Details)

05/19/15 12:14 PM

Search and Rescue Operation

05/18/15 04:25 PM
The Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department conducted Search and Rescue operations Monday on the north end of the county around John Sparks Road. K9 was used on the ground and a helicopter from Salisbury searched the area from above. The search apparently is in relation to the disappearance of Justin Miller, who was last seen March 28th at his parents’ house near Loafers Glory. Miller is thirty years old about 5"11,  250 lbs. with prominent scars around his right eye from a car accident. He was wearing a black jacket, ball cap and brown work boots when he was last seen. As the search continues, if you have any information please contact the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department.

Man Charged for Shooting at Yancey Humane Society Shelter

05/18/15 03:39 PM
On Saturday May 16th shots were fired toward Yancey Humane Society employees as they were unloading animals from an adoption event they had attended. Yancey Humane Society Executive Director Tim Tipton and four other employees were outside with the dogs when the shots came close to hitting them. According to Tipton, a neighbor of the shelter had been shooting guns around the shelter for several months. He said the shooting had become progressively worse and that they found bullets in the kennels, under the roof line last week. The Yancey County Sheriff’s Department has arrested 59 year old Veniamin Grebenchichikov and charged him with Assault by pointing a weapon. Sheriff Gary Banks said the arrest comes about 5 years after he came to the Sheriff’s office complaining about the barky dogs. According to the Sheriff’s Department the investigation is ongoing.

Gates and Robinson Receives Governors Volunteer Service Awards

05/18/15 09:23 AM
The North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is honored to present the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Service Award to two recipients from Yancey County. This year’s award recipients recognized by the Yancey County Board of Commissioners were Hope (more)

NC D.O.T. Survey

05/15/15 03:18 PM
The N.C. Department of Transportation has begun mailing out the department’s first-ever customer survey.  Randomly selected citizens will receive a paper copy in the mail to help NCDOT find out what North Carolina residents think about various services. Additional citizen feedback will be collected online. This survey’s purpose is to gauge how the department is doing in their effort to provide good customer service. Participation can help NCDOT identify ways to make North Carolina transportation services safer, more efficient and customer focused. The survey will be conducted annually with the results used as the basis for measuring the department’s performance in the area of customer service. Mailed surveys must be returned by mid-June. The online survey will close June 12. If you’d like to participate by taking the survey, please visit: go.ncsu.edu/customerservice2015. It takes about 15 minutes to complete, and the survey link is mobile friendly. The results will be available to the public on NCDOT.gov this September.

Moving Company Man Pinned by Truck

05/13/15 07:26 AM
A moving company man has died after he was pinned by a truck against a house on Monday morning in Madison County. 28 year old Curtis Hartis was watching for the driver as he backed toward the home on Wilds Branch Road in Marshall.  The highway patrol reported that the driver took his foot off the clutch, which is when the vehicle rolled backward into Hartis' chest and pinned him. Curtis Hartis, of Arden, was transported to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries. 

Mitchell/ Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force Meeting

05/12/15 02:20 PM
The Mitchell/Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force meeting on Tuesday, May 12 in the Holtsclaw Boardroom at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine included a “Drugs 101” presentation given by Donna Bruce, CSAPC from Addiction, Recovery & Prevention. This presentation talked about current drug trends that are being seen in Western North Carolina with a focus on youth from grades six (more)

Local Youth Receives Governors Medallion Award

05/12/15 10:23 AM
On Tuesday, May 5, Hope Milbry Robinson from Yancey County received the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service in the Youth category. Medallion recipients are nominated at the county level then evaluated by a panel of community service leaders from across the (more)

Graham Children's Health Receives $25,000

05/12/15 10:04 AM
The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation’s Ribbon of Hope Program supports community projects designed to have a positive impact on the lives of North Carolina’s Citizens. Graham Children’s Health Services was recently honored as the recipient of a $25,000 award from The Ribbon of Hope Program.  These funds will be used to support a strong foundation for healthy, (more)

Unidentified Body Found in Mitchell County

05/11/15 01:32 PM
An unidentified body was found Saturday, May 9th in the Buladean community in Mitchell County. The decomposed body was located at a camper in the Shootout Mountain area off Beans Creek Road near Melton Branch Road and Big Ridge Road in an area only accessible by four wheel drive. The body was badly decomposed and the person’s sex could not be determined. No foul play is suspected at this time. According to Sheriff Donald Street, the body has been sent to Chapel Hill for an autopsy. 

MHU Receives $500,000 in Golden Leaf Funds for School of Nursing

05/11/15 12:16 PM
Mars Hill University has received $500,000 in grant funding from Golden LEAF Foundation to support patient simulation equipment and other costs for the university's new Judge-McRae School of Nursing.The university was one of nine organizations across the state to receive (more)

Audubon NC Conducting Roadside Bird Surveys

05/11/15 10:46 AM
Audubon North Carolina staff and volunteers will be conducting roadside bird surveys in Yancey, Madison, and Mitchell Counties May 15-June 15. Counts are conducted by documenting species heard and seen within a 17-minute period from a fixed location. Be aware of this in case you see an unfamiliar car parked along the side of your road and a person looking skyward with binoculars and holding a clipboard. For more information or to get involved with bird research in the mountains, contact Aimee Tomcho at atomcho@audubon.org or check out nc.audubon.org.

Yancey Hospice Named 2015 Hospice Honors Recipient

05/08/15 01:27 PM
Yancey Hospice has been named a 2015 Hospice Honors recipient by Deyta, an industry leader in data-driven management. Hospice Honors is a prestigious program that recognizes hospices providing the highest level of satisfaction as measured from the caregiver’s point of view.
“This is the third year that we are presenting this award to top performers, and it’s very rewarding to (more)

McDowell County Looking For These Two

05/07/15 01:36 PM
McDowell County authorities are looking for these two men who have actively avoided probation and parole supervision. Officers with the N.C. Department of Public Safety’s Division of Adult Correction are searching for Joshua E. Benge is 33 years old and is on probation for possession of a Schedule II controlled substance. He is a white male who stands 6 feet tall and weighs 171 pounds. He (more including pics)

Mitchell Commissioners Take Over Historic Courthouse

05/07/15 01:15 PM
Due to a request from the Mitchell County Historic Courthouse Foundation, the Mitchell County Commissioners have agreed to take over the historic courthouse property. According to Dr. Daniel Barron, chairman of the Foundation, even though the first level offices are leased the operating expenses exceed the income. The Foundation had been supplementing with grant funds which are now depleted. The Foundation also still owes the county over $44,000 it had borrowed to complete renovations. Commissioners saw no alternative but to take back the Courthouse.  

Burnsville Allows Hens But No Roosters

05/07/15 12:29 PM
The Burnsville Town Board says yes to the hens but no to the roosters. Rachel Lewis had requested at last December’s town board meeting to keep chickens at her home in the town limits. The Board decided in a 4 to 1 vote that five hens are allowed, but no roosters and they must be kept at the back of the property and housed within specified chicken coop regulations. The coop also must be 20 feet from all property lines. Ron Powell voted against the ordinance since he felt it should be a part of the whole animal control ordinance which is currently under review by the Planning Commission.

NC House Passes Sunday Hunting Law

05/06/15 01:52 PM
NC House Bill 640, co-sponsored by Rep. Michele Presnell of Burnsville, has been approved by the House and awaits an NC Senate vote.  House Bill 640, the Outdoor Heritage Act, includes the controversial Sunday hunting provision. Since 2010, bow hunting has been allowed on private lands. House Bill 640 would extend this to hunters using firearms. A hunter would need to get permission from the property owner before hunting on Sunday on the landowner’s property. Hunting would be prohibited on Sunday within 500 yards of a place of worship or within 500 yards of a residence not owned by the landowner. Sunday target practice with firearms, is permitted under current law. There are hikers, fisherman and others who oppose the law. Presnell believes the bill affirms an important point regarding property rights, insuring that a landowner can use his private property as he chooses. Under the bill, Sunday hunting would be allowed statewide for two years. Beginning in October 2017, counties would have the option to pass ordinances prohibiting Sunday hunting countywide. 39 other states allow hunting on Sundays.

Lil Smokey Drive-In

05/06/15 01:17 PM
A customer apparently in a hurry for biscuits and gravy Wednesday morning drove right on in to the front of Lil Smokey's on East Main Street in Burnsville. No one was injured and the restaurant is open for business!

$2000 Award Offered

05/06/15 12:56 PM
A $2000 reward is being offered for credible information about the Mach 28th disappearance of Justin Glenn Miller. Miller, age 30 was last seen at his parents’ home in the Loafer’s Glory section of Mitchell County.  He is described as 5 ft 11 inches, weighing 250 pounds with a distinctive scar near his right eye and another scar on his right arm.  When he was last seen he was wearing a black jacket and work boots. Miller does not own a car and apparently left the house without money, phone or his prescription medication. However Mitchell County Sheriff’s detectives do not believe he was taken by force. If you have any information contact the Sheriff’s Department at 828-688-3982.

Solicitation Not Local Hospice

05/06/15 12:04 PM
Apparently residents are receiving a request for donations from The Hospice Support Fund, 2015 Burnsville Area Appeal. This is not a solicitation on behalf of Yancey Hospice and is in no way connected to the local hospice. If you desire to donate to a hospice, you can be assured that a donation directly to your local community hospice, will be utilized to provide compassionate end of life care to area residents. To donate to Yancey Hospice you can mail your donation directly to Yancey Hospice, 856 Georges Fork Road, Burnsville or call 682-9675  to talk to them. 

Pilot Over Shoots Runway on Mountain Air

05/05/15 07:41 PM
A Pilot landing at Mountain Air on Tuesday Afternoon escaped serious injury when he overshot the runway.  He landed too far down the runway and slid off the end into the grass just above the road. The Pilot was the only person on board and walked away from what could have been a deadly crash. The West Yancey Fire Department responded to the emergency call. 

Letter Carriers Food Drive

05/05/15 06:59 AM
Saturday, May 9th is the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Letter carriers will collect non-perishable food donations from customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people in Western North Carolina who need help. Asheville Branch 248 and Associate Offices collected over 185,000 lbs. in 2014.  The food drive’s timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need. Participating in this year’s Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is simple. Just leave a non- perishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on Saturday, May 9th and your letter carrier will do the rest. 

Marion Man Charged with Rape

05/04/15 07:19 AM
A Marion man is in jail charged with four counts of statutory rape. 41-year-old Larry Fox was arrested after an investigation into a report of a sexual offense against a minor. Fox is being held in the McDowell County jail under a $400,000 secured bond. His first appearance in court is scheduled for Monday.

An Increase in the Number of Foreign-Born Residents

05/04/15 07:18 AM
Like most of the United States, Mitchell and Yancey Counties saw an increase in the number of foreign-born residents over the last decade. From 2000 to 2012, the number of Mitchell County residents who were born in a foreign country grew by 270 people to an estimated 542, according to U.S. Census data. (more)

Creating Local Prosperity Session Held in Burnsville

04/30/15 07:24 PM
Around 60 people participated in the "Creating Local Prosperity Now", information and planning session held at the Burnsville Town Center Thursday evening, April 30th. The event was sponsored by The Town of Burnsville and The Yancey Chamber of Commerce. (more)

Dr. Carolyn Cort Memorial Service Saturday

04/30/15 02:32 PM
A celebration of the life of longtime beloved Yancey County pediatrician Carolyn Ray Cort will be held Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church in Burnsville, followed by a time of fellowship with the family at the Burnsville Town Center. Dr. Cort lost her battle with leukemia on April 22nd. Carolyn Cort served on the boards of High Pastures, the Parkway Playhouse, the Reconciliation House and the Yancey County Library. She was recognized recently by both the County and the Town for her lifetime of service to the community. In honor of Dr.Cort, The Parkway Playhouse Mountain Air Golf Tournament scheduled for Saturday has been changed to May 9th. The Cinco de Mayo Fiesta scheduled for the Burnsville Town Square Saturday will be ending at 1 pm, an hour earlier than planned out of respect for the Dr. Carolyn Cort Memorial Service.

Yancey County Silver Alert

04/30/15 05:23 AM
UPDATE: 12:10 p.m. According to the Yancey County Sherriff's Department, Mr. Fuller has been found and is safe. The N.C. Center for Missing Persons has issued a Silver Alert for a missing endangered man, Roger Daniel Fuller. Citizens are asked to be on the lookout for Roger Daniel Fuller, who is believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment. Anyone with information about Roger Daniel Fuller should call Det. Brian Shuford at the Yancey County Sheriff Office at 682-2124. (more)

Avery Deputy Injured in Crash

04/29/15 01:41 PM
Avery County Deputy Ridge Phillips, age 22, was driving his patrol car when he hit a heavy rain shower around 2:30 a.m. Sunday April 26th on NC 105 just south of Tynecastle, near the Linville Ridge subdivision. Apparently the vehicle hydroplaned,  left the highway, spun  around going off an embankment and struck a tree.  In the patrol vehicle with Deputy Phillips was 20 year old Walker Carswell, who has been attending Basic Law Enforcement Training at Mayland Community College.  According to Sheriff Kevin Frye, Carswell reached over an unconscious Phillips and turned on the blue lights, which led to the discovery of the vehicle by a Watauga Medics unit which had just left Cannon Memorial Hospital to return to Watauga County. Johnson City Medical Center staff are monitoring Deputy Phillips’ condition to determine the need for an operation to relieve pressure on his brain caused by a head injury sustained in the accident.  Walker Carswell was released from Cannon Hospital around noon on Monday. 

Creating Local Prosperity

04/29/15 01:01 PM
The Town of Burnsville and the Yancey County Chamber of Commerce are joining together Thursday night in an effort to re-ignite our local economy. The event will feature Ben Hitchings, Past President of the North Carolina Planning Association with an interesting presentation and an open discussion of ideas for our area. The evening is free and begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Burnsville Town Center.  Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be served. 

Operation Drive to Live Ends

04/29/15 08:21 AM
RALEIGH – The State Highway Patrol concluded Operation Drive to Live after a week-long education and enforcement campaign.  The campaign, which began on Monday, April 20th and ended on Friday, April 24th, was focused on promoting safe driving awareness to teenage drivers.  (more)

Positive Economic Impact of Tourism

04/28/15 02:05 PM
The second annual regional tourism conference was held Tuesday at Western Carolina University and a customized county by county tourism economic fact sheet was presented. The fact sheets are designed to illustrate the impact of spending of tourists and travelers on the tax base and job creation in counties. The analysis showed that the spending by tourists has a direct impact on the tax (more)

Budgets and Chickens

04/23/15 04:45 PM
The Yancey County Board of County Commissioners will hold a special meeting Monday at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room in the Yancey County Courthouse. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss and begin the 2015-16 Budget Planning and to make adjustments to the current budget.  Also on Monday the Burnsville Town Council will conduct a Public Hearing at 10 a.m. to consider an amendment to the town’s Zoning Ordinance to include provisions allowing backyard chickens and establishing regulations for the keeping of domestic chickens within the city limits. 

Double Break-in at Bakersville Pharmacy

04/23/15 03:35 PM
The Bakersville Pharmacy is the victim of two break-is within a seven hour time period. The first occurred around 9:30 Wednesday night. The second came early this morning around 4:30 am. Deputies from Mitchell and surrounding counties searched the area after the first call but were unable to locate a suspect. Apparently around 4:30am the suspect returned and smashed the drive-thru window to get into the pharmacy. Deputies found tools which the suspect possibly used for the break in and in an attempt to cut the electrical lines. At 6:30  this morning, deputies arrested Adam Beaver, after they had questioned him and discovered   narcotic medication valued at more than $26,000, along with other items from the pharmacy, in his apartment, which is next door to the pharmacy. Beaver is charged with felony breaking and entering and felony larceny. According to the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department, there may be additional suspects, the investigation is still pending. 

Toe River Home Health Sold

04/22/15 12:11 PM
On April 14th Toe River Health District sold their Home Health Services to PruittHealth of Norcross, Georgia. The Toe River Health District Board approved the $2.9 million sale due to declining revenues. The declining revenues have come about due to increased competition from private-owned companies and declining reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, leading to projected losses. In the past the Home Health Services have been able to contribute to the Health Department’s costs whereas now there are projected losses which would have to be made up by the counties. The new contract states that PruittHealth must offer employment to all current Toe River Health employees for at least six months and cannot deny services because of a person’s inability to pay. PruittHealth says they have offered a better benefit package to current employees and a 3 percent pay increase. They will officially take over on May 1st.  PruittHealth serves communities in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

Boone Hotel Case Delayed

04/22/15 11:40 AM
The criminal case against the former manager of a Boone Best Western Hotel where three guests died of carbon monoxide poisoning has been delayed. On Tuesday, April 21st Prosecutor Matt Rupp asked a judge in Boone to delay the case against Damon Mallatere until July 6. Rupp said prosecutors and defense attorneys need more time to discuss the case. (more)

Tri County Health Report

04/21/15 12:31 PM
According to the Toe River Health State of the County Health Reports for Mitchell, Avery, and Yancey counties, the leading causes of death in 2014 were cancer in Yancey and Avery and diseases of the heart in Mitchell. And according to the State Center for Health Statistics, North Carolina, Life Expectancies report for 2011 through 2013 the life expectancy of people in North Carolina is around seventy eight years old. There are a couple of trends showing when it comes to the health priorities in Mitchell, Avery, and Yancey counties. All three counties have substance abuse prevention and increasing access to mental healthcare as a health priority while Mitchell and Yancey also have healthy living behaviors and lifestyles. The third health priority for Mitchell is access and assistance for low income households, Access to dental care services is the third priority for Avery County and cancer is the third for Yancey. (more)

Bakersville Comm Health Ctr Earns National Recognition

04/21/15 11:58 AM
The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has announced that Bakersville Community Health Center of Mitchell County has received NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term, participative relationships. The NCQA Patient-Centered Medical Home is a model of (more)

Operation Drive to Live

04/21/15 08:07 AM
RALEIGH - With the beginning of prom season, North Carolina the Highway Patrol will conduct Operation “Drive to Live” during the week of April 20,  2015.  The operation will be conducted from 6:00 a.m. through5:00 p.m. each day. (more)