Metcalf Cousins on the Run


07/30/14 05:20 AM
McDowell County deputies say two inmates who escaped custody in Avery County have been arrested. Cousins Calvin and Phillip Metcalf were arrested in Gordon County, Georgia

The SBI is now working with Mitchell, Avery, McDowell County Sheriff's Deputies to arrest two McDowell inmates on the run after escaping from custody Tuesday. 20-year-old Calvin Lee Metcalf, of Bakersville, and 25-year-old Phillip Nicholas Metcalf, of Spruce Pine could be in Tennessee investigators say. The two suspects who are cousins, and were in jail on previous theft charges, took the detective's three guns and patrol truck. Authorities believe the Metcalfs are now driving a grey four-door Dodge truck with a camper cover, tinted windows and black running boards. The license plate number for the truck driven by the escaped inmates is AEW-7350. The suspects dumped the camper and some of the detectives belongings from inside the truck in Buncombe County around 7pm Tuesday. The two over powered a guard who was with the two men while they were describing the locations of several break ins they were accused of on July 21st in Mitchell County. They are considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information regarding the suspects is asked to call 911 immediately.

Madison County Man Arrested


07/30/14 03:55 AM
A convicted sex offender in Madison County now has more legal problems. Deputies arrested 32-year-old Gary Wilkie of Hot Springs Monday afternoon.  Wilkie was released from prison in 2010 after serving a year and eight months for taking indecent liberties with a child.  Investigators say he is part of on-going narcotics investigation. While deputies were executing a search warrant at his home they say they found an assault rifle, marijuana and moonshine. Wilkie is back behind bars facing several felony and misdemeanor charges.  His bond is set at $51,000.00.

Mission Center for Telehealth Receives $700,000 Grant


07/29/14 05:06 PM
The Mission Center for Telehealth has received a two-year grant of more than $700,000 from The Duke Endowment to make comprehensive healthcare for children in rural communities more convenient and accessible by expanding the Health-e-Schools program, a collaborative telemedicine effort with The Center for Rural Health Innovation (CRHI). (more)

Liberty Hill Back to School Bash Big Success


07/29/14 10:42 AM
Liberty Hill Baptist Church, located in the Estatoe community of Mitchell County, held its third annual Back-to-School Bash on Saturday, July 26, and approximately 1,500 people attended. Over 400 students from Mitchell, Yancey, Avery, McDowell, and surrounding counties received (more)

Severe Storms


07/28/14 07:15 AM
Severe thunderstorms rumbled across Western North Carolina last night, leaving behind isolated damage and power outages, including a tree that blocked the main road in West Asheville. The storm knocked over a large tree along the north side of Haywood Road, which reached to the south side of the street and completely blocked the road between Swannanoa and Michigan avenues at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Crews cleared the tree overnight. The storms left some power outages in Western North Carolina. As of 6 a.m. Monday, about 2,000 Duke Energy customers were without power, according to the company’s website. Hardest hit was Buncombe County, with 780 outages. Tornado watches for all Western N.C. counties expired overnight. The National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Avery County yesterday evening. The Weather Service reported a 70 mph wind gust in Asheville.

A 12-hour standoff Friday in Spruce Pine


07/28/14 07:14 AM
A Spruce Pine Police officer was dispatched to a home on Sunnybrook Drive Friday after a neighbor reported a woman screaming for help. The officer found a woman in the street and said she had been seriously assaulted. Police report that 54 year old Mark Robinson was at the front door of the home, pointing a rifle at the officer and the woman. The Spruce Pine Police were able to get the woman to safety, and then called for backup from the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department, Yancey County Sheriff's Department, McDowell County Sheriff's Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.  The woman was transported to Blue Ridge Regional and treated for injuries. Law enforcement officers made several attempts to contact Robinson throughout the day.  Robinson discharged a firearm at least once. That night, an SBI robot made it inside the home to find Robinson had died from a self inflicted gun shot. Officers say Robinson had a long history of assaults on law enforcement officers.

Toe River Project Access Receives Grant


07/24/14 03:55 PM
The Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Foundation has received a grant in the amount of $109,987.00 from The Duke Endowment to support the Toe River Project Access (TRPA) program for underserved citizens in Mitchell and Yancey counties. (more)

New Law May Hurt Area Farmers


07/24/14 07:09 AM
A change in the state’s tax exemption laws may hurt some local farmers. In the past farmers could purchase inputs, which are one time use items, such as fertilizer, seeds and feed, essentials in farm production, without paying taxes on those items. The new regulations will remove those exemptions to smaller scale farmers. According to House Bill 1050, to qualify for the tax exemptions now farmers must make $10,000 or more in gross farm income from the preceding tax year or have an average annual gross income from the three preceding income tax years of $10,000. Mitchell County Cooperative Extension director Jeff Vance said that the new legislation will hurt a significant amount of farmers in the area where the majority of farms are small operations. All current agriculture exception certificate holders are to reapply based on the new changes and a conditional exemption is in place for beginning farmers who have no history of farm production. To receive the exemption farmers must certify that they intend to engage in farming and file timely state and federal income tax returns that reflect income and expenses incurred by the farming operation during the year. 

SmArt Initiative Begins in Burnsville


07/24/14 07:08 AM
After being selected as one of five areas in the state for a North Carolina Arts Council pilot project called the SmArt Initiative, Burnsville is now seeing the project get up and running with the a meeting last week with state officials and an urban planner from Seattle Washington who was chosen to lead the implementation of the program in Yancey County. At the forefront of the plan that will be developed with the community and local artists is to create a historic and cultural district in the center of Burnsville and help promote public arts programs that will enhance tourism in the town. TRAC secured funding for the planning and concept development for three major gateways for the new Highway 19 Scenic Byway into downtown Burnsville. The inclusion of area artists in the development of concepts for the gateways is a priority. Planners want to take the new four-lane highway in Burnsville and have it flow as just another town street rather than a bypass, planning to enhance the road with inviting entrances on the east and west ends of town and at South Main Street. All the SmArt projects around the state involve public and private partnerships.

Two Arrested for Restaurant Break-In


07/21/14 11:03 AM
(Press release provided by Mitchell Sheriff's Department)
Mitchell County Detectives arrest two men for breaking into a local restaurant. Phillip Nicholas Metcalf, age 25, of 910 Bent Road, Spruce Pine and Calvin Lee Metcalf, age 20, of 4686 NC 226, Bakersville are facing several felony and misdemeanor charges. Captain R.V. Wiseman advised around 9:30 p.m., Sunday night deputies (more)

TRAC Receives National Award


07/18/14 07:12 AM
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the Toe River Arts Council a grant of $75,000. TRAC was one of only five arts councils in the country to receive an award this year.  The local project will promote the arts industry in Yancey and Mitchell Counties.  TRAC Executive Director Denise Cook said "Through this grant we look forward to being able to make visible to the world what we know is an incredibly rich, diverse, and attractive arts community."

Mitchell BOE Looks at Drug Policy Change


07/18/14 07:09 AM
The Mitchell County Board of Education is in the process of reviewing its drug testing policies for Mountaineer athletes at Mitchell High School.  Mitchell is currently the only school in the Western Highlands Conference to drug test their athletes, while Avery County has a policy to randomly test all students who are engaged in any extra-curricular activities. Although the school system has outside companies randomly test 20 athletes at the cost of around $1200 per year, in the eight years that the program has been in place no athlete has been caught with the testing. Results like these have caused some in the community to question the policy, asking for more focus on drug prevention efforts instead. As the policy now stands the school can investigate something an athlete supposedly did outside the jurisdiction of the school. The School Board has asked that changes be made to the student/athlete handbook for the board to review and discuss before taking a vote on the policy at their next meeting.

Teensafe SmartPhone Monitoring


07/16/14 10:18 AM
TeenSafe, creator of an advanced iPhone and Android monitoring software, announced today the importance for parents across the nation to become aware of their children’s social lives, teaching them responsibility and potential dangers around sexual communication on their smartphones. Developed to give parents a window into their child’s life, TeenSafe allows parents the ability to monitor their child’s iPhone or Android activity (text messages, deleted text messages, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, location, web browsing history, contacts and call logs). (more)

Burnsville Man Dies in Motorcycle Accident


07/15/14 10:21 AM
A 41-year-old Yancey County man, who had been reported missing on Sunday July 12th after he did not return home from a motorcycle ride, was found deceased Monday afternoon near Whitt Bottoms in western Yancey County. The body of Thomas Fortner was found in the woods just off the highway where NC Highway Patrol officials surmise that the 750 Honda that he was riding left the road in a curve and struck several trees. The Highway Patrol stated that Fortner had ridden the bike only twice before the accident happened, according to family members, and that he was not speeding but was probably going a little too fast for his level of experience riding on the curvy road. The Patrol cautions motorcycle riders to slow down and be aware of the dangers of riding on mountain roads this summer and throughout the year.

Nunn Charged with Child Abuse


07/14/14 12:47 PM
On June 16th  Mitchell County Sheriffs Office Chief Deputy Josh S. Sparks received a report from Mitchell County DSS that a 13-month-old male had reportedly fell off a bed onto a hardwood floor and sustained a skull fracture along with retinal hemorrhages.  Chief Deputy Sparks learned that the child was in the sole care of Eric Shane Nunn, the child's mother's fiancé, when the incident occurred.  Mitchell County DSS Social Worker Amanda Jennings informed Chief Deputy Sparks that Mr. Nunn rushed the child to the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital around 7 a.m. on the morning of June 16th and the child was airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville later the same day. Later in the evening   the injured child was airlifted from Mission Hospital to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill for treatment. Chief Deputy Sparks met with Eric Shane Nunn later on June 17th to discuss the incident with him. Nunn stated that he had the child lying on his bed changing the child's diaper when the incident happened.  Nunn further stated that he briefly walked out of the bedroom to retrieve the child's sippy cup when he heard a loud "thud" in the bedroom.  Nunn said he stepped back into the bedroom and found the child lying unresponsive in the bedroom floor. After reviewing reports and discussing the incident with medical professionals from Mission Hospital as well as UNC Hospital, Chief Deputy Sparks determined that the severity of the child's injuries were inconsistent with a short fall from a bed as Mr. Nunn had described. On July 7th Eric Shane Nunn was arrested by Chief Deputy Sparks and was charged with one count of Felonious Child Abuse Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury. Nunn is currently in custody under a $250,000.00 secure bond.  Nunn is scheduled to appear in Mitchell County District Court on 08/15/2014. The injured child was treated and released from UNC Hospital and is to receive follow-up treatment from Mission Hospital.

NCDOT Wants input on New Criteria


07/10/14 11:12 AM
A ruling requiring the NC DOT to consider input when ranking community transportation needs around the state has spurred a series of public meetings across Western North Carolina. State officials want mountain residents’ opinions to help determine the criteria that will influence which transportation projects will be funded in the area. The comment period for Division 13, which includes Mitchell, Yancey, Madison, McDowell and Buncombe Counties, will be held from July 15th through August 14 while the public meeting is set for 4 p.m. July 15th at the Marion Community Building. You can leave a comment by filling out a form on the Strategic Transportation Investments public meeting webpage and find out for information on the criteria for each division by going to ncdot.gov.

Slagle to Continue as EDC Interim Director


07/10/14 11:05 AM
Mitchell County Commission Chair Bill Slagle will continue as interim director of the Economic Development Commission indefinitely after the EDC board interviewed three other candidates for the position, it was announced this week. The search committee has been looking for a permanent director since early this year. Slagle filed for the position and it was determined that he is the most qualified of the candidates according to EDC Chairman Joe Street who noted that Slagle, who has served as interim director since June 2013, “has done a good job more so than has been done many years in the past.”  Street said that the search for a permanent director will continue as the organization focuses on creating jobs in the manufacturing, agribusiness, mining and tourism industries in the county.

Yancey County Schools Meet the Challenges of Read to Achieve


07/08/14 10:41 AM
The preliminary end of year assessment results for all grades K-12 are currently being analyzed at the local and state levels, and the early indications show gains being made across the board in the second year of the heightened standards of the NC Career and College Ready Standards initiative.  Of particular interest are the results for 3rd Grade Reading in light of the NC (more)

Disaster Relief Money for Woodfin


07/08/14 07:09 AM
Hazardous weather rolled across the state April 29. The storms caused flooding, uprooted trees and damaged town-owned roads in the Woodfin area of Buncombe County. Governor Pat McCrory has issued a state disaster declaration for the Town of Woodfin to help the community recover from that severe storm. The declaration makes state funds available to help cover the costs of removing debris, providing emergency protective services and repairing local roads and bridges.   The powerful storm brought high winds and dumped more than five inches of rain on the Town of Woodfin.   The state declaration means state funds will help pay the Town of Woodfin for 75 percent of the cost of those emergency protective measures.  Estimates indicate the city spent nearly $450,000 to respond to the storm.  Eleven families were displaced by the flood and  One rescue operation was performed to remove a family from their home due to rising flood waters.  The level of damage did not meet the threshold for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  

Highway Patrol Reports Seven Fatalities


07/08/14 07:07 AM
RALEIGH – The Highway Patrol announces a preliminary number of seven motorists who died on North Carolina highways during the July 4th holiday period. In 2013, fourteen people died. This year’s number resulted in a 50 percent reduction when compared to last year. (more)

Area Events Aplenty to Celebrate the 4th of July


07/04/14 07:14 AM
Events to celebrate our Independence Day in 2014 are many in our area with plenty of fireworks, a parade, live music and food with activities planned in both Mitchell and Yancey Counties. (more)

Town of Spruce Pine Raises Property Tax in Latest Budget


07/04/14 07:12 AM
The fiscal budget just passed by the Spruce Pine Town Council included an 11 cent tax increase after the Town Council voted unanimously to approve the measure during a special session meeting on June 30th. The Property tax within the town limits rose from the previous 40 cents per $100 of property value to 51 cents. The Town of Spruce Pine general fund is currently balanced at $2,004,000 while the water and sewer fund is balanced at $2,141,355. The budget uses $87,236 out of the fund balance to balance the budget. There were no public comments during the scheduled hearing and no further discussion from council members following the vote.

Area Events Aplenty to Celebrate the 4th of July


07/03/14 09:24 AM
Events to celebrate our Independence Day in 2014 are many in our area with plenty of fireworks, a parade, live music and food with activities planned in both Mitchell and Yancey Counties. The Town of Bakersville will have their annual fireworks display at Gouge Primary School on Friday July 4th. You can enjoy live music by the local band Sugardaddy, while concessions will be provided by the (more)

Yancey County Man Stole a Fire Truck


07/03/14 07:32 AM
Mitchell County Deputies have arrested a Yancey County man who stole a fire truck. 19 year old Matthew Ernest Miller of Burnsville faces misdemeanor and felony charges. Mitchell county Deputies, on Monday, responded to Parkway Fire Station 21 on Altapass Road. Parkway Firefighter Kevin Hughes called and advised that the station was missing a ladder truck.  Before deputies could arrive Hughes heard the sound of a siren coming down Humpback Mountain Road. Miller came down the road driving the ladder truck with lights and siren on and told officials he was a volunteer firefighter from Burnsville and that he took the ladder truck up to PRC because of a fire alarm.  The plant managers from PRC confirmed that Miller was an employee of PRC and had left work sick. Arrest warrants were issued on Miller for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, felony operation of red lights and siren, and impersonating a fireman. Miller is being held on a $11,000.00 secured bond.

Drop in Unemployment Figures from May to June


07/03/14 07:31 AM
Unemployment rates increased in 92 counties  in North Carolina with Western NC doing better than most of the state. With the exception of Avery County, whose unemployment rate remained the same at 7.3 percent, each county in our area saw a drop in their jobless rate from May to June. In Buncombe County the rate fell from 4.9 percent to 4.5 percent while in Madison County the rate plummeted from 5.6 percent to 4.6 percent and in McDowell the figures showed a drop from 7.2 percent in May to 6.7 percent in June. Yancey County saw its rate fall from 7.1 percent to 6.6 percent and Mitchell's unemployment rate dropped from 7.5 to 7.2 percent. Scotland County continued to have the state's highest unemployment at 12.7 percent while Currituck County turned in the lowest figures in the state with a 4.6 percent unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for the state during the period was 6.6 percent.

Weaverville Teen Struck and Killed Near Barnardsville


07/01/14 07:08 AM
A Weaverville teen was killed after being hit by a vehicle on Barnardsville Highway early Sunday morning.  The accident happened around 2 a.m. near the intersection of Creek Side Lane.  Troopers say 15 year old Brieana Dial was walking near the edge of the road with her friend when they were both struck.  Dial was pronounced dead at the scene.  The 14 year old boy was taken to Mission Hospital and is listed in good condition. Friends and family have placed a memorial on the side of the road where the teen died. Authorities say they do not believe alcohol or speed was a factor in the collision. The accident is still under investigation. 

NCVMA Gives $2500 Grant to Mitchell Animal Rescue


06/27/14 03:14 PM
The North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association has announced it has awarded a $2,500 Animal Welfare Grant to Mitchell County Animal Rescue to help replace deteriorated windows on the shelter’s dog kennels. Since 2013, the NCVMA has granted more than $17,000 to improving shelters across North Carolina. (more)

NC Highway Patrol Booze it and Lose it


06/27/14 02:32 PM
Raleigh— The Fourth of July is a favorite holiday for many North Carolinians.  Families and friends gather across the state to celebrate our nation’s independence with parades, parties and fireworks. (more)

Former Village of Penland Lots Sold


06/27/14 07:00 AM
As part of a settlement from a real-estate scheme, 132 lots from the former Village of Penland have been auctioned off. An auction company from Rockingham auctioned off the lots in Mitchell County formally owned by Peerless Real Estate Services, the group that was involved in the Village of Penland Ponzi scheme that attempted unsuccessfully and fraudulently to develop the resort property at Penland. The auction company said that the majority of the bids on the property were from Florida. An online auction ran from June 18th thru June 24th with bids starting at $100. The majority of the lots are located off Penland Road and Rabbit Hop Road with others near the Toe River on Deer Park Lake Road. Most lots are between a tenth of an acre and an acre.

Mitchell Budget Includes Tax Increase


06/27/14 06:59 AM
Mitchell Commissioners have voted to raise the property tax in the county for the first time since 2010. The Commissioners approved the 2014-15 budget which includes a tax increase to 53 cents per $100 of property value, up from the previous rate of 40 cents per $100 of value. The budget also includes the hiring of two new social workers to meet state mandates as well as a large increase in the county’s growing jail cost which have increased from over $230,000 in 2009-2010 to over $860,000 in 2013-2014. The new tax rate puts Mitchell County below the state average of 64 cents per $100 of value but one cent above the average of the 27 counties in WNC.

BRP Spruce Pine Plant to Produce Parts for New Engine


06/27/14 06:58 AM
Bombardier Recreational Products Spruce Pine plant has announced plans to manufacture parts for a new line of eco-friendly engines. BRP revealed a new outboard engine design that produces 75 percent fewer emissions with 15 percent better fuel efficiency and 20 percent more torque than their competitor engines. Parts for the next generation of Evinrude E-Tec Outboard Engine will be manufactured in Spruce Pine, securing BRP’s future in Mitchell County where the company has made a large investment in a 5300 square foot expansion to their engineering department which is a necessary move to produce parts for the new advanced engine. BRP currently employees around 170 people at their Spruce Pine plant.

Burnsville Drinking Water Receives Honor


06/27/14 06:57 AM
Officials in North Carolina have announced that the drinking water for the Town of Burnsville is among the 38 water systems being honored by the state for surpassing both state and federal requirements. The 38 systems received the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award from the state N.C. Division of Water Supply Section. The awards are part of a program to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities. While most drinking water systems meet strict state and federal standards, these systems met performance goals that are significantly more stringent.

Two Buncombe County Residents Arrested on Drug Charges


06/26/14 01:16 PM
(Yancey Sheriff’s Department Press Release)
On Monday, May 5th, 2014, Sheriff Gary Banks and Detective Mark Letterman conducted a vehicle stop near the intersection of US Hwy 19E and Possum Trot Rd. As the male subject exited the vehicle, Sheriff Banks observed a syringe fall to the floorboard from the driver’s lap. Upon searching the vehicle and subjects, several syringes and a (more + photos)

Three Arrested in Yancey County Break-ins (Photos)


06/26/14 07:29 AM
The Yancey County Sheriff’s Department is reporting that three people have been arrested and charged with a break-in at West Burnsville Baptist Church on Tuesday and a break-in in the Jacks Creek area last week. 27 year old Chad Allen Trumps of Hemlock Road, Burnsville is being held on a $25,000 bond. He has several related charges from the Church Break in and well as larceny of a firearm and other stolen goods from a home in Jacks Creak. Trumps is also charged with larceny of a 1996 Chevy Tahoe as well as outstanding warrants in other states.  39 year old Joe Chandler of Swiss Loop is being held on a $25,000 bond related to the Church larceny and the home in Jacks Creek. 33 year old Samantha Leigh Ann Cole of Ed Young Road is also being held on a $25,000 bond for the same events. 

Mitchell EDC Expresses Need for High Speed


06/26/14 07:26 AM
In this global world that we live in, the need for high speed fiber optic internet service is becoming a must for industry. Getting high speed internet service to all businesses and residents is at the top of the priority list for the Economic Development Commission in Mitchell County.  (more)

Burnsville Drinking Water Receives Honor


06/26/14 07:21 AM
Officials in North Carolina have announced that the drinking water for the Town of Burnsville is among the 38 water systems being honored by the state for surpassing both state and federal requirements. The 38 systems received the N.C. Area Wide Optimization Award from the state N.C. Division of Water Supply Section. The awards are part of a program to enhance the performance of existing surface water treatment facilities. The awards are given each year to water systems  that demonstrate outstanding turbidity removal,  which is a test of the cloudiness or haziness of the water caused by that be a medium for microbial growth particles and could potentially contain harmful bacteria and viruses. While most drinking water systems meet strict state and federal standards, these systems met performance goals that are significantly more stringent.

McDowell County Manhunt Ends


06/25/14 07:07 AM
A manhunt that started yesterday morning came to an end last night in McDowell County.  McDowell County Sheriff’s Deputies went to the home of 24 year old Joseph Mills around 9:45 Tuesday morning is serve him with warrants.  Mills fled in a vehicle and after a brief chase, wrecked his car and ran into the woods around Tatertown Loop.  According to the McDowell County Sherriff's Office Mills was captured in Burke County yesterday evening. 

Rhododendron Queens Crowned


06/23/14 12:44 PM
The crowning of the 2015 NC Rhododendron Queens was held Saturday evening in Bakersville. Crowned Queen was Andrea Marie Hall and 2015 NC Jr Rhododendron Queen was won by Eaavan Corinne Smith. Andrea was the 2010 NC Jr Rhododendron Queen, she is 17 years old, (more)

North Carolina Unemployment Rate Ticks up a Notch


06/23/14 07:21 AM
North Carolina’s unemployment rate increased slightly in May as the percentage of people losing their jobs outpaced job growth. (more)

Spruce Pine Attorney Hal Harrison Appointed to Judge Position


06/19/14 07:16 AM
Upon the recommendation of the judicial bar association, NC Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed Spruce Pine Attorney Hal Harrison to fill the vacant district court judge position for the 24th Prosecutorial District. Harrison, who will replace Judge Alexander Lyerly who resigned in April, has previously served as resident Superior Court Judge in the 24th District, which covers Mitchell, Madison, Yancey, Avery and Watauga Counties. A partner at Harrison and Poore in Spruce Pine, Harrison was the top vote getter among five finalists considered for the position. He will serve as judge for the remainder of Lyerly’s term, set to expire in 2016,  and then will face an election after his term ends.

Mitchell Commissioners Vote to Continue One-On-One Program


06/19/14 07:15 AM
Mitchell County school board members voted unanimously last week to continue the high school program of supplying each student with a laptop computer for school work. The Board approved the lease of 605 new Apple Macbook laptops that will allow Mitchell High’s “one on one program” to continue providing laptops to students from their freshman year until they graduate at no cost to the student. The program started at the high school four years ago and has now been integrated into the curriculum helping students submit their assignments online and stay up to date on their grades and is seen by educators as technology vital to modern learning in the classroom. Since the program began the school has seen a noticeable improvement in test scores and student interest with the graduation rate increasing from 80 percent in 2011 to 88 percent this past year. End of school course and SAT test scores have also improved since the laptops were introduced to the student-body as a whole.   

Firefighter Steals Money (from WLOS)


06/19/14 07:13 AM
A volunteer firefighter in McDowell County is accused of stealing money from the Marion Firefighters Association. Jonathan Morrow is charged with one felony count of embezzlement. Marion Police say he stole $800 earmarked for firefighting equipment. The money had been raised at the Firefighters Association's annual carnival. Investigators say Morrow confessed to taking the money and he was dismissed from the fire department immediately. He has reimbursed the money. Morrow's first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.

Mars Hill Police Officer Charged (from WLOS)


06/19/14 07:12 AM
A Mars Hill Police Officer is off the job after an alleged late night joy ride that included guns and underage drinking. Jacob Ballard joined the Mars Hill Police force three months ago. He's charged with multiple counts including aiding and abetting in a D.U.I. case, carrying a concealed weapon and allowing underage drinking.  Sheriff's investigators say he was out with 20 year-old James Fender, who is charged with D.W.I. and was driving Ballard's truck at 1:50 a.m. Wednesday morning. Sheriff's reports show the two were with three other underage men who were drinking and cited for underage drinking.

NCDOT to Begin Bridge Project Next Week in McDowell County


06/18/14 03:57 PM
SHELBY -- As part of a continuing effort to improve and upgrade North Carolina's infrastructure, the N.C. Department of Transportation will begin next week replacing a culvert on Harmony Grove Road with a bridge. (more)

Court Ruling Change for DES Confidential Materials


06/18/14 03:28 PM
RALEIGH — The Division of Employment Security (DES) now has the legal authority to cease providing Ap- peals Hearing Notices to attorneys who pay for that information. (more)

Teacher Petition Comes to Yancey County


06/17/14 01:58 PM
Over 61,000 people have signed Aim Higher Now’s petition telling the General Assembly to raise North Carolina teacher salaries to the national average. At 1 p.m. Tuesday, on the Burnsville Town Square, those petition signatures came to Yancey County as teachers, parents and (more)

Yancey Commissioners Adopt 2014-15 Budget


06/16/14 10:04 AM
At their regular business meeting on June 9, 2014 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, 2014-June 30, 2015.  This is one of the earliest budget adoptions in recent memory for the (more)

DVM Taking Credit and Debit Cards


06/16/14 06:55 AM
In another effort to make NCDMV visits shorter and more efficient, the acceptance of credit and debit cards at the state’s license plate agencies and state registration offices has brought an easier, quicker way to pay registration renewals and vehicle property taxes. (more)

Spruce Pine Town Council Votes for Property Tax Increase


06/13/14 06:58 AM
In an attempt to keep from losing sales tax revenue to the county, the Spruce Pine Town Council has voted to raise the property tax rate from 40 cents to 51 cents per $100 of value on property in the town. Mitchell’ County’s latest revaluation of property in the town showed a decrease in value of 8.62 percent. Due to the formula used to calculate how the county and town split sales tax and the county rate being 52.5 cents per $100, the council had to increase the tax rate to insure that the town got their share of the sales tax revenue. Council members agreed that they did not need to lose sales tax revenue to the county and voted unanimously to raise the rate. 

Drivers Slowing Down as BPD Monitors Traff


06/13/14 06:58 AM
Efforts by the Burnsville Police Department to slow down speeding traffic through town has had a dramatic effect on the driving habits of motorists according to Police Chief Brian Buchanan who said today that his department has seen a big decrease in the number of citations that it has had to issue over the past couple of weeks of the campaign that has been underway for about five weeks now. The issue of speeding and motorists not yielding to pedestrians came to light at a recent Town Council meeting. Chief Buchanan said that several merchants in town have made positive comments about the improvement in the situation and that his department will continue to monitor traffic in Burnsville and adjust their patrols as needed. A total of 220 citations have been issued for various offenses in the town over the past month according to Chief Buchanan.

New Database Helps Law Enforcement Track Stolen Items


06/12/14 07:15 AM
With a new database called, LeadsOline, area law enforcement agencies now have access to thousands of transactions from secondhand stores and pawn shops nationwide. The tool will help the sheriff’s departments and other agencies more easily find stolen goods and the thieves that took them. After testing the program out in Mitchell County for thirty days before purchasing the service, the Sherriff’s Department was able to close three separate cases in a month’s time proving that the system works. The program forms a database with neighboring counties as well as nationwide to track stolen items such as firearms, metal thefts and even pharmacy purchased prescription drugs. Secondhand merchants are required by law to report their transactions to local law enforcement agencies and merchants who choose to use the system can check out the items that they wish to purchase and see if any red flags pop up on the merchandise before they buy them.

Click It or Ticket Results


06/12/14 07:05 AM
The N.C. Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program announced today that 14,600 drivers and passengers were cited for seat belt and child passenger safety violations during the May “Click It or Ticket” campaign held May 19 through June 1.(more)

Meal Contract Saves Money


06/11/14 04:24 PM
(Press release from Yancey Sheriff's Department)
Sheriff Gary Banks was pleased to announce this week that his office was able to reduce the inmate meal budget from $175,000 to 125,000 a total savings of $50,000.  As of January 1st 2014, the Blue Flame Grill, a Madison County based business, became responsible for the inmate meals. Sheriff Gary Banks says “A Bid offer was put out by my office and we did receive four bids, of which the Blue Flame Grill was by far the lowest.” Currently the Blue Flame grill is delivering meals to the Yancey County Jail from the Blue Flame Restaurant in Madison County, but they are actively seeking a location to open a new restaurant here in the county. A portion of these savings will go to help fund the Sheriff’s Office Inmate work program. This program uses sentenced inmates and community service workers to complete various tasks around the county. To date they have made many improvements to the court house and grounds, picked up road side trash, helped mow county parks, painted a fence and removed an old structure from the grounds of the Yancey History Society, polished floors at Pensacola VFD and the Yancey County Bus garage, and have cleaned around many other county and state owned properties. 

New Jobs in Weaverville


06/10/14 06:59 AM
New jobs are on the way to Weaverville. Transportation Safety Apparel is a company based in Hilton Head Island and plans on opening a new distribution center in a vacant warehouse in Weaverville this month. The company makes high visibility vests, reflective neon jackets and other safety gear for businesses around the world. The move will create 25 jobs in Weaverville. Transportation Safety Apparel says it plans to gradually consolidate its operations to the Weaverville location by 2017.

New Children's Advocacy Center to Be Dedicated


06/09/14 06:49 AM
The Children’s Advocacy Center of the Toe River is dedicating their new facility tomorrow at 5 pm.  As a program of Southmountain Children Family Service, The Children's Advocacy Center is committed to reducing the trauma of children who have been abused.  The Center will be dedicated in memory of Allison Hillis The Center serves both Yancey and Mitchell counties and works in conjunction with the Department of Social Services, Law Enforcement, District Attorney’s Office and other local community services to provide forensic interviews, Evidence-based treatment, and coordination of services.   The public is invited to join in celebrating the expansion and growth of the Children’s Advocacy Center.  The center is located at 49 Rock Wall Lane, across from the Post Office in Micaville.

Yancey BOE Recognizes Volunteer, Support Person and Teacher of the Year


06/06/14 12:54 PM
At its regular meeting on Tuesday, June 03, 2014, the Yancey County Board of Education dedicated much of its time of the last meeting of the school year recognizing several individuals and groups for recent achievements and accomplishments. Volunteer of the Year 2014  (more)

Teen Shot in McDowell


06/05/14 07:24 PM
McDowell County sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who reportedly shot a teenager outside the boy's home in Old Fort Wednesday night. Sheriff's deputies were called to a residence at 284 Boulder Rock Drive around midnight, where they found 13-year-old Ralph Walker Hughes suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper left arm. The teen was at home with his 14-year-old brother and their parents were at work according to reports. The victim told investigators that he heard a noise outside, so he grabbed a gun and went to investigate. He said he was met by a tall, skinny black man who walked awkwardly. The man reportedly shot Hughes in the arm and fled on foot through the woods toward Moffitt Hill Road. The teen was taken to Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville, where he was treated for his injury and released. Anyone with information concerning the incident is asked to call the McDowell County Sheriff's Office at 828-652-4000 or 828-652-2235 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME. 

Seth Banks Swearing In Ceremony (more)


06/05/14 07:20 PM
It was standing room only in the Yancey County Courthouse Thursday evening for the "Swearing In Cermony" of Seth Banks as the new Disctict Attorney of the 24th District. (Seth, Gretchen, David Banks, Supreme Court Associate Justice Mark D. Martin)

Yancey County Set to Adopt Budget Next Week


06/05/14 09:51 AM
Yancey County Commissioners will adopt a budget next week following a 6 p.m. public hearing in the courtroom on Monday, June 9. Officials say that the new budget fully funds all critical services for the county and does not raise property taxes, keeping the tax rate at 50 cents per $100 in property valuation. The budget will come in nearly $600,000 less than last year’s budget. Copies of the budget are available for public inspection in the county manger’s office. 

Mitchell County Budget Raises Tax Rates


06/05/14 05:17 AM
A decrease in property values from a recent revaluation of county property has forced Mitchell County Commissioners to ask for a tax hike in the proposed budget presented to the Board during a special session last week. The proposed budget is balanced with an increased property tax rate of 52.5 cents per $100 dollars of value, up from the 40 cents per $100 which has been the Mitchell County property tax rate since 2010. County Manager Chuck Vines said the county needs the tax revenue to be able operate and provide services. However the purposed budget is likely to change depending on what the general assembly budget in Raleigh looks like after its passage at the end of the month. County officials fear deep cuts in the State Department of Health and Social Services will impact cost on the local level and drastically affect the budget.

Modest Drops in Unemployment Rates in Our Area


06/05/14 05:16 AM
According to data recently released by the NC Division of Employment Security unemployment rates dropped across the state including the counties of Avery, Mitchell, McDowell and Yancey in Western North Carolina from March to April 2014. Mitchell Counties’ rate dropped 1.1 percent over the course of a month to 7.2 percent, while Yancey County saw its rate fall .9 percent to 6.6 percent and Avery County saw its unemployment rate fall to 7.3 percent, a .8 percent decrease from March. McDowell County had the same .8 percent decrease in its rate for the month where it stands at 6.6 percent. 
Unemployment rates decreased IN 99 Counties in North Carolina in the month of April with Scotland County still having the state’s highest jobless rate in the state at 11.6 percent and Orange County maintaining the lowers rate at 4 percent.  In WNC, Graham County had the highest unemployment rates at 10 percent with Polk County boasting the lowest rates at 4.2 percent.

Three Year Old Tests Positive for Meth


06/05/14 05:15 AM
A Marion woman has been arrested after her 3 year-old child tests positive for methamphetamine.  25 year-old Jessie Green was taken into custody Tuesday and charged with felony negligent child abuse causing serious physical injury. Investigators went to Green's Spaulding Woods Apartment home with social workers, who had been tipped off the children could be in harms way.  Investigators suspected someone was cooking meth in the home where the children, ages eight and three, lived.  The Department of Social Services took the children into their custody after finding the home was unsafe.  Drug tests on the children revealed the three year-old had high levels of methamphetamine exposure.  Their mother also tested positive for meth. Green is now in the McDowell County Detention Center and being held under a $75,000 bond.

New District Attorney to be Sworn in Today


06/05/14 05:07 AM
Seth Banks, the May 6 Republican Primary winner in the District Attorney race will take office today. Robert Orr, Interim District Attorney for the 24th District (Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey) submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday, May 27 with an effective date of June 5th. Orr has served as Interim District Attorney since his appointment by Governor Pat McCrory following the unexpected resignation of DA Jerry Wilson on March 31 for health reasons. Gov. McCrory has issued a commission to Seth Banks of Burnsville to assume the duties of District Attorney for the balance of the existing term which ends December of this year.  He will be sworn in at 6 p.m. today in the courtroom of the Yancey County Courthouse in Burnsville. The public is invited to attend the swearing in ceremony and the reception that follows at the Nu Wray Inn.

Yancey Officials on Lottery Proceeds


06/04/14 07:55 AM
Yancey County Manager Nathan Bennett, County Planner Jamie McMahan and County Clerk Jason Robinson attended the May 28 County Assembly Day, sponsored by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, and helped advocate to restore and protect the county share of proceeds from the North Carolina Education Lottery. (more)

NCDOT to Close Portion of I-40


06/04/14 06:06 AM
Beginning Thursday, June 5, at 4 a.m., the N.C. Department of Transportation will temporarily close a portion of Interstate 40 in Haywood County near the Tennessee border while crews eliminate potential rockfall hazards. (more)

Community Kitchen at MCC Opened


06/03/14 10:44 AM
The Community Kitchen at Mayland Community College is an approximately 1,000 square foot shared-use kitchen that has been outfitted to meet the needs of local entrepreneurs, business owners, and individuals who are looking to start a new food business, grow their existing (more)

Break Ins Solved, Thousands of Dollars of Stolen Property Recovered


06/02/14 07:28 PM
(Press Release from Mitchell Sheriff's Department)
A joint investigation between Mitchell and McDowell County Sheriff’s departments solve numerous break ins and recover thousands of dollars of stolen property in three counties. The following individuals were arrested in connection with the investigation; Natalie Marie Houston, age 31, of 31 Kings Lane, Newland, N.C., Joshua William Honeycutt, age 34, no street address given, Marion, N.C., Pamela Deneen Lawing, age 49, of 1216 Tempie Mountain Road, Spruce Pine, N.C., and Gene Gary Street, age 49, of 1216 Tempie Mountain Road, Spruce Pine, N.C. (more)

Spruce Pine Town Budget Shortfall


06/02/14 10:46 AM
The Town of Spruce Pine is trying to figure out a way to overcome a nearly $300,000 deficit in next year’s proposed budget. The current proposed general fund budget, which includes all town programs except water and sewer, shows revenues of $1,751,722 with expenditures at $2,051,121 while the water and sewer fund is projected to break even. The board must now decide to balance the budget with cuts in expenditures or a raise in Mitchell property taxes. The budget and any possible increase in taxes depend on the county commissioner’s approval of new property tax values, which will be determined within the next few months. A public hearing has been scheduled for June 30th.

Highway Patrol Release Operation Results


05/30/14 09:44 AM
RALEIGH – The North Carolina State Highway Patrol along with the Division of Law Enforcement Wildlife Resources Commission released the totals for “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign for the period of Friday, May 23 through Monday, May 26. (more)
 

Mitchell Approves Teacher Tenure Plan


05/30/14 06:50 AM
Mitchell County Schools is moving forward with its teacher tenure plan despite a superior court judge deeming the law unconstitutional. The Board unanimously voted to approve its criteria to select 25 percent of the school faculty who will receive a $5000 raise over the course of four years in exchange for giving up their tenure. The tenure law was originally passed in the legislature in 2013 and was later challenged and superior court judge later ordered a court injunction against the implementation of the law ruling that the action violated the protection of teacher contracts under the U.S. Constitution. The State has not yet decided to appeal the case. Because of the uncertainty the board chose to move its next meeting up to June 9th in case adjustments to the plan must be made. 

YCS Confirmed Flu Cases Prompt Preventative Measures


05/29/14 01:45 PM
Several confirmed cases of the flu at Bee Log Elementary have prompted Yancey County Schools administrative staff to begin preventative measures.  With county-wide testing beginning June 2nd, it is imperative that school staff, parents and students take extra precautions to avoid further spread of the flu. (more)

Gem Show Moves to New Venue


05/29/14 07:13 AM
The North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival will move for this year’s event from the Pinebridge Coliseum to the former Food Lion Building at the Grassy Creek Shopping Center. The accompanying outdoor festival will still take place at the Parkway Fire Department and the wholesale show will be held at the Tri-County Christian School this year. The Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce has sponsored the event since the early 1950’s and the show is the county’s largest economic event in terms of revenue for area restaurants, motels and other area businesses. The Pinebridge Coliseum was deemed unusable for the event this year after an inspection by the county building inspector. The Gem Show will run from July 29th to August 3rd.

District Attorney Orr Resigns, Banks To Be Sworn In Early


05/28/14 02:07 PM
Robert Orr, Interim District Attorney for the 24th Prosecutorial District (Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey) submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday, May 27 with an effective date of June 5th. Orr has served as Interim District Attorney since his appointment by Governor McCrory following the unexpected resignation of DA Jerry Wilson on March 31 for health reasons. Gov. McCrory has issued a commission to Seth Banks of Burnsville to assume the duties of District Attorney for the balance of the existing term which ends December of this year.  He will be sworn in June 5, at 6 p.m. in the courtroom of the Yancey County Courthouse in Burnsville. The public is invited to attend the swearing in ceremony and the reception that follows at the Nu Wray Inn. Banks was elected in the May 6 Republican Primary for the office of District Attorney for the 24th Judicial District and has no opposition in November.

Mitchell-Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force Recognized, Receives $12,500


05/27/14 04:53 PM
The MYSATF was recently recognized by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) for its commitment to and role in reducing substance abuse in our area. At its May monthly meeting the Task Force announced that it had received a grant in the amount of $12,500 from the Department of Justice Consumer Protection Agency to continue to educate residents on the importance of properly (more)

Mars Hill Pizza Place Burglarized


05/27/14 05:35 AM
A Mars Hill Pizza Place was burglarized yesterday morning. Thieves threw a brick through the window at Papa Nicks on Collins Street. A little evidence was left behind because someone was cut by the broken glass, leaving blood at the crime scene. Owner Debbie Turner said $20 in the tip jar was the only thing stolen. 

Marijuana Growing Operation in Madison County


05/27/14 05:28 AM
A sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation was busted yesterday in Madison County.  Inside the house were two rooms filled with pot plants, some growing chemicals, and the oven was filled with bags of marijuana. John Ledford of the Marshall Police Department said the house is on Redmond Road. Police discovered what was once a home was now being used for business.   Ledford says police have known about the operation for several months. They finally had enough information to get search warrants and make the bust in the late afternoon. No one has been arrested at this time but police know who the owner of the residence is.  It's not the biggest indoor growing operation Marshall Police have busted, it is one of the most sophisticated. The S.B.I. will join in the investigation today. 

Pedestrian Struck and Killed by Car


05/26/14 09:02 AM
A 44 year old Yancey County Man was struck and killed Friday night west of Burnsville.  Martin Castro Patricio was a pedestrian walking on Highway 19E near Andy’s gas station. The accident occurred around 9:30pm, no charges have been filed. 

Suspected Murder-Suicide in McDowell


05/22/14 07:12 AM
McDowell County sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting death of a couple in Nebo that appears to be a murder-suicide. Authorities say 62-year-old Garry Capps and 59-year-old Judy Capps were found shot to death at their home Saturday night. It appears Garry Capps shot his wife in the head before shooting himself. The Sherriff’s Department says there was no indication of problems with their marriage, although both had health problems. It was reported that Garry Capps had been pastor of Bond Servant Ministries in Marion before he began having health issues. Investigators are waiting on an autopsy and lab results to confirm the murder-suicide ruling and are not looking for any suspects at this time.

Wanda Profitt Honored for Volunteer Service


05/22/14 07:04 AM
Governor Pat McCrory presented the state’s highest award for volunteer service in 2014 to 21 recipients recently including Yancey County’s Wanda Profitt who was presented the award for her efforts with the Yancey County Economic Development Commission, where she has served for 33 years. (more)

"Click It or Ticket" Isn't Just for Drivers


05/21/14 11:05 AM

Since its statewide launch 21 years ago, the “Click It or Ticket” education and enforcement program has consistently increased driver seat belt usage rates and reduced fatalities across North Carolina.  (more)

Move Over - It's the Law


05/15/14 03:51 PM
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is joining thousands of law-enforcement agencies across the country in promoting the "Move Over Law". (more)

Burnsville Town Council Special Meeting


05/15/14 08:57 AM
The Burnsville Town Council will hold a special meeting this evening at 6 pm in the upstairs Board Room of Town Hall. The purpose of the meeting is for consideration of issues related to annexation. 

Mitchell School Board and Commissioners Honor Wrestling Team


05/14/14 10:59 AM
Members of the Mitchell High wrestling team where honored on Tuesday at the school in Ledger with a ceremony to commemorate their 1A state dual-team championship for 2014. Members of the Mitchell County School Board and County Commission were on hand to join in the celebration of the numerous accomplishments made by the 32 young men who made up the team this past season. Mitchell won (more)

Burnsville Town Square Wins Great Places Award


05/14/14 09:31 AM
Burnsville’s Town Square won the Great Public Place award in North Carolina. The competition was held by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association.  Voting started April 9th and ended May 9th. Pullen Park in Raleigh came in second with the downtown boardwalk in Manteo placing third.    Burnsville will be presented with an award and will be recognized state-wide.

Parkway Open


05/12/14 07:38 AM
On May 1st of this year, Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Mark Woods announced that a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway near the entrance to Mt. Mitchell State Park was once again open for travel.  With this section open, the full 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway is available to travel without interruption.  Most areas became fully operational last Friday. From back country trails and camping, to favorite picnic areas and full service concession operations, the Parkway offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to experience the scenic beauty and natural and cultural heritage of the southern Appalachian region.

Positions Eliminated as Mission Health Consolidates


05/09/14 05:28 AM
Recent staff cuts at the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine were the result of the consolidation of the Mission Health administrative services, according to hospital officials.  Mission Health would not give specific numbers of the cuts to the staff in Spruce Pine but officials at the hospital say that there will be opportunities for those people who were cut to apply for different positions within the organization. Budget cuts and layoffs were announced last August by Mission including a 26% cut in the CEO’s pay and pay cuts ranging from 13 to 20 percent for other senior leaders within the system. Cuts are taking place across the region and are affecting hospitals from Spruce Pine to Cashiers.

Attorney Hal Harrison Recommended to Fill District Judge Vacancy


05/09/14 05:27 AM
Spruce Pine attorney Hal Harrison has been selected as a candidate to fill the vacant District Judge seat in the 24th Prosecutorial District which includes Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, Madison and Watauga Counties. Harrison was the top vote getter in a field of five candidates which were picked by the 24th Prosecutorial District Judicial Bar Association. If chosen, Harrison will be appointed by Gov. Pat McCory who will be filling the vacant seat left open by the retirement of District Court Judge Alexander Lyerly in March. There is no deadline for the Governor to make the replacement and he does not have to fill the position from the list provided to him.

Town Council Hears From Merchants


05/09/14 05:26 AM
Merchants and residents in the Town of Burnsville presented a laundry list of issues of ways to make the town more customer and tourist friendly to the Town Council at the latest board meeting.  Business owners told the council that the town is not pedestrian friendly and that speeding and loud mufflers on some cars and trucks were a nuisance, complaining that local law enforcement does nothing to control the problem. Others complained about the cleanliness of the town and the lack of signs directing visitors to municipal parking as well as other problems that could be corrected with some effort. Burnsville Mayor Therese Coletta told the group that their complaints were legitimate and pledged the support of the council in addressing the issues, Coletta also appointed several individuals to meet with her to come up with some ideas to fix the problems. 

Brookside Open for Visitors


05/09/14 05:25 AM
Late last month Managers at Brookside Rehabilitation and Care, in Burnsville, notified the Health Department of an illness making people sick.  When test that were submitted to the state lab verified the disease was norovirus, Brookside then closed its doors to visitors, and restricted the residents from leaving the facility.  Yesterday afternoon at 2pm the ban was lifted and visitation is back to normal. As in all public places, Brookside reminds the public to use good hand washing hygiene.  

A Dry Winter on the Grandfather


05/08/14 07:14 AM
Winter is officially over at Grandfather Mountain, as evidenced by the complete lack of snow for the duration of April. The total snowfall recorded for the winter (Oct. 1, 2013-April 30, 2014) was 32 inches at the Entrance Gate, far short of the previous year's total of 55 inches. By April, the snow was replaced by moderate rain and temperatures that rose as high as 68.5 degrees at the Mile High Swinging Bridge. Staff recorded 4.88 inches of rain at the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The amount of rain measured in April was slightly lower than the 58-year average of 5.09 inches, and the Mountain remains more than six inches shy of its normal year-to-date rainfall.

Election Results


05/07/14 05:13 AM
It was Primary Election Day in North Carolina Tuesday.  In local races, Mitchell County was voting for 3 commissioners. Vern Grindstaff received 1728 votes and Bill Slagle had 1676, each had 25% of the vote. Joe Street was the 3rd commissioner elected with 1548 votes or 23%.  Dan McKinney had 1318 votes. Wesley Vaughn received 552 votes. In Yancey County the local race of interest was the School Board race. Incumbent Mike Orr was reelected with 25% of the vote, 1412 total votes. Jeanne Tyner was the other winner with 23%, 1313 votes. Grace Whitson had 1208, Judy Presnell 931 votes and incumbent Jack Tipton was voted off the board with 873 votes. (more)

Yancey BOE Approves Employment Contracts


05/06/14 02:13 PM
At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, May 05, 2014, the Yancey County Board of Education approved the following personnel for continued employment in the 2014-15 school year for one-year contracts: (more)

Fire Destroys Home on Cane Branch Road


05/06/14 06:59 AM
An early morning fire Friday, May 2nd gutted a family home on Cane Branch Road near Burnsville. The 911 call came in at 1:06 a.m. according to Yancey Emergency Management which reported that the fire at the Haney Family home at 124 Cane Branch Road was caused by the kitchen wood stove and that the interior of the house was destroyed by the flames. Crews from the Yancey EMS, New Dale, Burnsville and South Toe Fire Departments responded to the incident where one person was transported to Blue Ridge Medical Center in Spruce Pine. No other details were available at this time. A fund raising effort has been started for the family. For more information call 284-8791.  

Results of French Broad Meeting


05/05/14 10:48 AM
Joe Justice and Gordon Randolph of Madison County, Jimmy Ray of Yancey County, and Keith Kuhne of Mitchell County were re-elected for three-year terms on the French Broad Electric Membership Corporation’s Board of Directors at the Annual Meeting held in Marshall on Saturday, May 3rd. For District No. 1, Madison County, Joe Justice was elected with 2,543 votes while his opponent, George Lehto, received 425 votes.  For District No. 1, Madison County, Gordon Randolph was elected with 2,536 votes while his opponent, Gerald Davis, received 431 votes.  For District No. 3, Yancey County, Jimmy Ray was elected with 2,548 votes while his opponent Barron Brown received 421 votes.  For District No. 4, Mitchell County, Keith Kuhne ran unopposed and was elected by acclamation. 675 members registered in-person for the meeting from 3:00pm to 5:00pm.  French Broad Electric Membership Corporation is a member-owned rural electric cooperative providing electricity to approximately 38,000 meters in Buncombe, Madison, Yancey and Mitchell counties in North Carolina and Unicoi and Cocke counties in Tennessee.

Mars Hill Man Arrested


05/05/14 07:16 AM
18 year old Michael Cody Cross, of North Main Street, Mars Hill was charged with six counts of second-degree burglary and six counts of felony larceny, according to warrants served last Thursday. The break-ins occurred April 12 at homes on Joyner Avenue. Police said that guns, jewelry, electronic equipment and other items were stolen. Cross also was charged with two counts of larceny of a firearm and injury to property. Bond was set at $75,000. Police on Monday charged a 17-year-old with burglary and larceny in connection with the Joyner Avenue break-ins on April 12.

Voters Go To Polls Tomorrow


05/05/14 07:15 AM
Voters go the to the polls tomorrow, to cast ballots on Primary Election Day. Voting will take place from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. In Mitchell County voters will decide on who will fill three seats on the Board of Commissioners where incumbents Bill Slagle and Joe Street face challenges from Vern Grindstaff, Dan McKinney and Wesley Vaughn. In Yancey County voters will select two candidates for the school board where incumbents Mike Orr and Jack Tipton are being challenged by Jeanna Tyner, Judy F. Presnell and Grace Whitson. Republican and Unaffiliated voters choose one of three candidates in the district attorney’s race where Seth Banks of Yancey County and Nathan Miller and Britt Springer of Watauga County are vying for the position left open after former DA Jerry Wilson stepped down due to health issues. Numerous other state and federal races are on the ballots as well on Primary Election day on Tuesday.

French Broad EMC Annual Meeting Saturday


05/02/14 07:09 AM
French Broad Electric Membership Corporation will hold its annual meeting tomorrow at Madison High School. The event begins at 3 pm with a free health fair followed by Illusionist Bill Grimsley and at 5 pm the Good Shepherd Quartet. The Business Meeting will be at 6 pm. The four directors up for re-election this year are Jimmy Ray in Yancey County, Keith Kuhne in Mitchell County, Joe Justice and Gordon Randolph in Madison County. There is a group of French Broad members who have nominated three more candidates, George Lehto, Barron Brown and Gerald Davis. The three candidates are challenging on several issues including member-generated solar energy, executive compensation and environmental concerns. 

Bob Timberlake Recognition Day (more)


04/30/14 08:03 AM
Mitchell County EDC and Buck Stove Corporation has a "Day of Recognition" for Bob Timberlake on Tuesday

Wind Topples Iconic Grandfather Mountain Sign


04/01/14 09:33 AM
The iconic Grandfather Mountain sign that served as a Linville landmark for nearly 60 years was leveled Sunday morning by high winds. The large wooden sign, located at the intersection of U.S. 221 and N.C. 105, was constructed in the late 1950s and was designed by architect (more)

High Winds (more)


03/31/14 09:06 AM
High winds cause damage at Stamey's on Avery County Highway.