Watch Where You Park

05/30/16 03:19 PM
As summer arrives many people in our area visit Lake James. In a press release The Burke County Sheriff’s Office warns that illegally parked cars around the lake will be towed. There are posted no parking zones around portions of the lake that many people violate weekly, if not daily to reach Lake James, according to information from Burke County Sheriff’s Office.  Vehicles have been found by patrol officers to be impeding the flow of traffic and sometimes in the roadway in these blind dangerous curves. These violations can lead to traffic accidents and possible injuries, according to Burke County Sheriff’s Office. These no parking zones will be enforced. If the owner/operator of the vehicle is not located for removal of the vehicle in a timely manner, it will be towed at the registered owner’s expense. There are designated areas, including the Lake James State Park, that meet the needs of those using the lake. Burke County Sheriff’s Office asks that residents please use designated areas for swimming while in or around Lake James.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 5/22 - 5/29/16 (Details)

05/30/16 10:02 AM

Possible Parkway Suspect Arrested

05/30/16 06:56 AM
A possible suspect in a Blue Ridge Parkway incident in which a 64-year-old female hiker was assaulted and left tied to a tree on May 12 was arrested Saturday morning in Asheville.  43 year old Christopher Michael Campbell has been described by authorities as their strongest lead in the case after another hiker recognized him during an encounter the two had on an area Trail. (more)

Serious Accident on Highway 80 South

05/28/16 11:55 AM
Six people were transported to three different hospitals following a head on collision on Highway 80 South Friday afternoon.  Authorities reported that the accident occurred around 3:30pm, near Popular Grove Store, when a Volkswagon car apparently crossed the center line and collided with a truck that was delivering milk to South Toe Elementary School. (more)

Edwards Sentenced as Habitual Felon

05/27/16 11:41 AM
On May 23, Danny Ray Edwards was convicted of failing to report a change of address as required due to his status as a registered sex offender.  Mr. Edwards was required to register because of a previous conviction for the abduction of children 15 years ago.  Additionally, the District Attorney’s Office identified him as a habitual felon, which enhanced his (more)

Shepherd Convicted of Child Abuse

05/27/16 11:35 AM
On May 25th a Yancey County jury convicted Jon Shepherd of felony child abuse and assault on a child under twelve.  The child, who was six months old at the time of the offense, suffered fractured ribs, a skull fracture, and bruising on the face and abdomen.  The child, who is currently in an adoptive foster home, later fully recovered from his injuries. Superior Court Judge Alan Z. Thornburg sentenced Mr. Shepherd to a minimum of 4 years and 3 months, and to a maximum of 6 years and 9 months in prison. “Child abuse has no place in our community,” District Attorney Seth Banks said in a statement.  “I remain committed to holding those who would hurt the most vulnerable among us accountable for their actions. I appreciate the hard work of Assistant District Attorney Milton Fletcher and the efforts of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in bringing Jon Shepherd to justice.”

Early Voting Begins

05/27/16 09:32 AM
Early voting has begun for the June 7th primary. In the 11th Congressional District,. Incumbent Republican Mark Meadows is unopposed. Voters will decide between Democratic candidates Rick Bryson or Tom Hill as to who will face Meadows in November. Voters in Yancey County will also be making the final decision in a run-off between incumbent Republican Angela “Angie” Dawn Weatherman and Democrat Erica Griffith Edwards on who takes the open seat on the Board of Education. Early Voting is being held at the Board of Elections office on the bypass next to Rio Mexican restaurant in Burnsville. Today voting hours are running from 8:30am to 5:00pm. After today early voting will be closed for the weekend and will open again on Tuesday, May 31st from 8:30am to 5:00pm and will be open for those same hours through June 3rd. Early voting will end in Yancey County on June 4th where voting will be open from 9:00am until 1:00pm.

Yancey Sheriff Report 5/19 - 5/26/16 (Details)

05/27/16 09:29 AM

$100,000 Powerball Ticket Sold in Buncombe Co. About to Expire

05/26/16 10:12 AM
Time is running out for one lucky Powerball player to claim a $100,000 prize. The ticket, sold for the Dec. 5 drawing, expires on Thursday, June 2. The winning ticket was sold at Mountain Energy on Airport Road in Arden. “You have to be lucky to win a prize like this and we would hate to see this prize go unclaimed,” said Alice Garland, executive (more)

NC Heritage Awards Honor Area Resident

05/26/16 09:58 AM
Since 1989, the North Carolina Heritage Award has honored the state’s most eminent artists. On Wednesday night, May 25th five new recipients of the Heritage Awards were honored.  One of this year’s recipients is from this area. Honored was Sheila Kay Adams from Madison County. She is a seventh-generation ballad singer, storyteller, and musician, who often performs in our area. Also honored were Maceo Parker from Kinston, who was a saxophone side man to stars like James Brown, Prince and George Clinton before launching his solo career and Marc Pruett from Haywood County, renowned banjo player, songwriter, and part of the well known bluegrass band Balsam Range. Also honored was H Ju Nie and H Noach Rahlan of Greensboro, weavers who brought the Montagnard Dega tradition to North Carolina from the Vietnamese highlands and fourth-generation traditional boat builders, James Houston  and Jamie Lewis of Harkers Island. You can learn more online at

Ledger VFD Gets Funds for New Equipment

05/25/16 03:55 PM
Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin announced the awarding of $16,475 grant to Ledger Volunteer Fire Department. The grant is from the State of North Carolina through the 2016 Volunteer Fire Department Fund.  According to Chief Mike Young the funds will be used to purchase equipment for the new pumper truck.

Sketch of Suspect Released

05/24/16 01:25 PM
National Park Service Investigators have issued a sketch of the suspect sought in an assault that occurred near Craggy Gardens on the  Blue Ridge Parkway on May 12, 2016 between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm. First responders found a 64-year-old female victim tied to a tree near Potato Field Gap, which is less than four miles from the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center.  Investigators say the (more)

Area Forest Service Officer Top in Nation

05/23/16 02:47 PM
Out of the entire nation a forest service officer from our area has been chosen as National Forest Service Officer of the Year. Wade Keener is a district ranger for the Pisgah National Forest serving in the Grandfather Ranger District. Keener is the only law enforcement officer in the Grandfather Ranger District, which encompasses more than 192,000 acres, five counties and more than 300 miles of trails. Keener was recognized out of nearly 600 U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officers nationwide. Keener issued more than 1000 violation notices, warning and incident reports during the past year, showing his dedication to caring for the land and serving the people. 

Yancey BOE Facilities Needs Meeting

05/23/16 10:04 AM
The Yancey County Board of Education held a special meeting on Monday, May 16, 2016, to hear a preliminary report of the Facilities Needs Assessment from Architectural Design Studio (ADS) Architect Mike Cox and design staff member Amy Dowty.  The meeting was recessed and relocated to the upper meeting room of the public library to accommodate several members of the public who attended the (more)

Madison Co. Man Sentenced to Prison for Sex Offense

05/23/16 09:58 AM
On May 20, 2016, Daniel O’Neal, age 34, was found guilty by a jury of Felonious Child Abuse by Committing a Sexual Act and Taking Indecent Liberties with a Minor. He also plead guilty to Second Degree Sexual Offense.  The case began after a report to Mars Hill Police Department.  After an investigation, investigators determined that O’Neal had sexually assaulted his own (more)

Brown Sentenced for Assault

05/23/16 09:49 AM
On May 20, 2016, Jamie Brown, age 29, plead guilty to Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill Inflicting Serious Injury, Discharging a Weapon into an Occupied Conveyance While in Operation, and Burning Personal Property.  The charges arose from an incident in August of 2015 wherein Brown was involved physical altercation with another Madison County resident.  Over the course of (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 5/15 - 5/22/16

05/23/16 09:10 AM

Gossett Named New McDowell Tech President

05/20/16 02:27 PM
Dr. John D. Gossett has been named by the McDowell Technical Community College Board of Trustees to succeed Dr. Bryan W. Wilson as president of McDowell Technical Community College following Wilson’s retirement on August 1st. Wilson has been with the college since 1983 and has served as president since January, 2004 . Gossett will be the college’s fifth president since it was (more)

Two Yancey Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

05/20/16 12:56 PM
On May 15th, 2016 Burnsville Police Department and Yancey County Sheriff’s Office conducted a traffic stop. The occupant, Charles David Hall, 33, of Burnsville was arrested after the search of the vehicle. Hall was charged with Felony Possession Schedule VI Controlled Substance, Possession With Intent to Manufacture Sell Deliver Marijuana, Maintain Place Controlled Substance, Possession (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 5/12 - 5/19/16 (Details)

05/19/16 12:22 PM

Madison High School Closed

05/19/16 07:21 AM
Madison High School had extra security on campus Wednesday as deputies investigated two bomb threats found in both the boy's and girl's bathrooms. Investigators say they have now identified at least two students responsible and they say the students will be charged. (more)

Help Needed for Cemetery Preservation and Heritage

05/18/16 02:38 PM
Yancey County Commissioners have declared June Cemetery Preservation and Heritage Month.  Elaine Dellinger, well known in the area as a Yancey County cemetery historian, appeared before the board at the Monday, May 16th meeting requesting the designation. She would like to encourage people to form teams and clean up some of the over 200 cemeteries that are overgrown. (more)

Avery Bus Driver Receives State Award

05/18/16 01:58 PM
A school bus driver in our area has been named the best school bus driver in the state at the annual State School Bus ROADeo held at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. Mitch Banner of Avery County won after completing a difficult written test and navigating a school bus through an obstacle course that tested drivers’ skills in mastering events including diminishing clearance, backing, making a tight turn and parallel parking. Banner has been driving a school bus in Avery County since 1981. He received a $500 cash prize and a trip to represent North Carolina at the national school bus driving competition July 14-15 in Milwaukee.

Hise Proposal Sends Money Back to Yancey

05/18/16 01:47 PM
Senator Ralph Hise has filed a proposal in the NC Senate to help Burnsville and Yancey County recover costs for damage done by extensive delays in the Burnsville section of the U.S. 19 E widening project. Hise said in an interview Monday with Carolina Public Press that the delays, caused in part by a tandem waterline replacement project, have led to extensive backups and now is expected to be delayed into yet another fall tourism season. “It is absolutely devastating,” Hise said Monday. The roughly eight mile project started in 2011 and was supposed to be completed in the summer of 2015. Starting at the end of the month, the contractor, Young and McQueen, will draw a daily fine of $2,500 until the project is completed. Senate Bill 839 directs the state Department of Transportation to send half of the damages collected on the project to the Yancey County/Burnsville Chamber of Commerce. The money, which would be paid each month out of the Highway Trust Fund, could only be used for promoting travel and tourism in Yancey County.

Beware of Tax Scam Going Around....Again

05/17/16 04:38 PM
The McDowell County Sheriff’s Department reports that numerous fake calls were received last week in that area from people posing as US Treasury officials.   It appears that once again scammers are calling people in this area and demanding that you pay taxes right away or face a lawsuit or arrest. In the most recent version, the calls often begin with a pre-recorded message that you’re asked to return. Sometimes the caller says there’s an issue with your pension, and other times he says an action has been filed against you by the US Treasury. Anyone who calls to demand immediate payment for taxes is not from the Internal Revenue Service. If you have been contacted by a phone scammer, McDowell Sheriff’s Office urges citizens not to send the callers money or give them any personal information. Simply tell them not to call back and hang up. You can report the call to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online at 
The following link is from the IRS website and identifies five ways to spot a suspicious call:

MCC Pinebridge Project Update

05/17/16 03:17 PM
Mayland Community College is currently assessing potential use opportunities for the Pinebridge coliseum and hotel facilities in Spruce Pine as part of the college’s masterplan update. The Pinebridge facilities will replace the need to build two new buildings planned on the Mitchell Campus. MCC and a panel of community members identified needs for the college and the (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 5/08 - 5/15/2016 (Details)

05/16/16 09:27 AM

Yancey School Board Meeting

05/16/16 07:09 AM
There will be a special meeting of the Yancey County School Board tonight at 6:30pm at the Board of Education office.   A preliminary overview of Facilities needs assessments from architect Mike Cox will be presented. The public is invited to the meeting.


05/16/16 07:08 AM
The highway patrol has confirmed a traffic fatality that occurred on Pensacola Road in Yancey County Saturday night. Cory Jake Holifield was killed in a single vehicle accident. More details are not available at this time. 

Government and TRAC Partner to Renovate Old Library

05/13/16 03:41 PM
Yancey County Government has agreed to partner with the Toe River Arts Council and NC High Peaks to renovate the Yancey County Library building on the Burnsville Square. The building formerly used as the Yancey County Library and currently as the Yancey County Technology (more)

Register of Deeds Pilot Project

05/13/16 02:06 PM
Mitchell, Yancey, Madison and McDowell counties are part of an eight county Register of Deeds pilot project to make the e-recording of maps and plats a reality in Western North Carolina. Buncombe, Haywood, Transylvania and Henderson are the other counties involved.  Johnston County is the only other county in North Carolina to have electronically recorded surveyor maps. North Carolina is at the vanguard of e-recording in the nation.  Surveyors can record their documents electronically which is more cost effective and allows for moving and tracking the status of maps and plats. The new system is also environmentally friendly.  

Yancey Sheriff Report 5/6 - 5/12/16 (Details)

05/13/16 09:25 AM

Tennessee Girl Still Missing Possibly in Danger (Update)

05/12/16 02:44 PM
Update: The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says Carlie Trent has been found safe and her uncle is in custody.
A Middle and East Tennessee AMBER Alert, issued by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on behalf of the Rogersville Police Department, remains in effect for 9-year-old Carlie Marie Trent and now the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has added Gary  Simpson to its Top 10  Most Wanted list.  On Wednesday, May 4th,  Carlie’s uncle by marriage, Gary Simpson, removed her (more)

Risks of Underage Drinking

05/11/16 04:31 PM
Kat Haney, Coalitions Director for the North Carolina Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking, Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission spoke at the Mitchell Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force Meeting on Tuesday, May 10th.  Kat provided background on the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission which includes 18,000 retailers, 2,226 products, 166 local ABC systems, and 425 (more)

Farmers Look for Ways to Increase Income

05/11/16 02:12 PM
Local farmers are invited to join the Yancey County Agriculture Task Force for a series of community meetings about how to increase farmer income in the county. The Ag Task Force is looking to develop projects to help farmers make more money, increase farm acreage and build a stronger local food economy and they want your ideas! This ongoing project to help Yancey farmers, as well as the (more)

Woman Wanted By McDowell and Yancey Police

05/11/16 01:59 PM
Lakken Nicole Bowman, age 26, of Nebo is wanted in McDowell County for purchasing items with a stolen credit card and for probation violations.  In Yancey County she is wanted on charges of breaking and entering and stolen property. Bowman is thought to have used a credit card at Walmart and Dollar General in Marion that was reported stolen on April 16th. The suspect and her vehicle were (more)

Mental Health Center Opens To Serve Area

05/10/16 03:45 PM
A regional comprehensive mental health facility has opened in Asheville.  The new facility aims to provide a “one-stop shop” with a range of mental health services in a single location including 24-hour crisis services. RHA operates the center located at 356 Biltmore Avenue, in Asheville. Though located in Asheville the new C3356 Comprehensive Care Center serves several counties including Mitchell, Madison and Yancey counties. The facility should relieve some pressure on Mission Hospital’s emergency department, officials say. The Mission emergency department has been overwhelmed with people that are in psychiatric crisis even though that’s not the best way for individuals to get treatment for their psychiatric needs. Right now, the facility offers behavioral urgent care 12 hours a day, seven days a week. RHA hopes to expand that to 24 hours a day in early June.In addition, RHA plans to move the 16 beds for adult crisis and detox from the Neil Dobbins Center to the C3356 Comprehensive Care Center. That move will likely take place in early fall. The facility also has eight observation areas. Eventually, the Comprehensive Care Center will be able to handle involuntary commitments, which  law enforcement currently drops off at Mission ER. For more information go to or call 828-254-2700 for more information about services offered through the C3356 Comprehensive Care Center.

Two Children Test Positive for Meth

05/10/16 01:45 PM
Detective Shane Vance of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 34-year-old Elisha Dawn Presnell and 31-year-old Kenneth Chad Presnell, both of 2624 Old Glenwood Road in Marion, with misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile. The couple was charged after their two children, 9 year old and 1 year old boys, tested positive for methamphetamine and (more)

myON Summer Reading Opportunity

05/09/16 10:06 AM
At the May 2nd  Yancey County School Board meeting, Technology Director Kay Ball updated Dr. Tipton and board members on the progress of implementing the free myON Reader within the school district. The myON program provides all students access to thousands of titles of digital books for reading during the summer months. Every student in Yancey County Schools now has an (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 5/01 - 5/08/16

05/09/16 09:42 AM

Shoplifting Charges

05/09/16 06:58 AM
Two women from Spruce Pine are charged with shoplifting after police say they tried to return damaged clothing to a store, but the store would not do the return. 80 year old Hazel Ledford McClellan, and 63 year old Teresa McClellan Morgan, are charged with felony shoplifting, theft of property. A release from the Johnson City Police Department reports that once the store refused their returns, the two ladies got a shopping cart and put various clothing items in it. A loss prevention officer told police that the two took the items into a fitting room where they removed the security tags, then left the store. The clothing was valued at $724. McClellan and Morgan are being held in the Washington County Detention Center on $5,000 bond, each. They will be arraigned in court there on Monday afternoon.

Traffic Stop Leads to Meth Lab

05/06/16 03:40 PM

A routine traffic stop led to 3 arrests and two 'shake and bake' methamphetamine labs in the back of a pickup truck Tuesday, May 3rd in Avery County. Detective Casey Lee's K9 partner, Kilo, indicated the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Two plastic bottles used for the manufacturing of meth, as well as precursor chemicals were found in the truck. The labs were dismantled and  James Swanger, age 43, Tammy Cox, age 45, Tabatha Hampton, age 47  were all charged with manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of precursor chemicals.

Biehl Sentenced to Prison for Meth

05/06/16 03:11 PM
On May 4th, 2016, a Mitchell County jury convicted Julie Goforth Biehl of attempted manufacture of methamphetamine, possession of precursor chemicals with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, felony maintaining a dwelling for keeping a controlled substance, and conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine. (more) 

Meeting to Address Underage Drinking

05/06/16 03:08 PM
An important meeting will be held Tuesday, May 10th from noon to 1 pm at the Yancey County Public Library about underage drinking. It is a serious problem facing youth in North Carolina, and it’s starting earlier than most parents realize. North Carolina children, on average, take their first drink by the time they are 14, and it’s happening right here in Mitchell and Yancey Counties. During this open forum meeting Kat Haney, North Carolina ABC Commission Coalitions Director, will join the Mitchell Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force to discuss underage drinking prevention and the Talk It Out Campaign. Talk It Out, now in its second phase, is a multi-media initiative designed to raise awareness and empower parents to talk with their children about underage drinking. Haney will talk about new tips and resources for parents. Research in North Carolina shows that kids want to hear from their parents, and say that if their parents talked more about the dangers of underage drinking, it would help reduce the problem.

Yancey School Board Recognizes Student Achievement (Details)

05/06/16 09:49 AM

National Travel & Tourism Week

05/05/16 02:06 PM
National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7) unites communities each year to celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being. “Just look at the numbers. Travel supports one in nine American jobs, including nearly 200 jobs right here in Mitchell County,” said Patti Jensen, Interim Director, Mitchell County Chamber. “This (more)

Four Inmates Charged with Felony Assault

05/05/16 01:52 PM
Detective Lynn Green of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office has charged 26-year-old Andrew Clifton Johnson, of 70 Maces Park Drive in Marion; 35-year-old Christopher Paul Martin, of 38 Panther Drive in Marion; 27-year-old Paul Edward Poteat, of 66 Copper Pot Drive in Marion; and 37-year-old Joel William Robinette Jr., of 729 Shady Lane in Marion, with felony assault with a deadly weapon (more)

College Graduation Ceremonies This Weekend

05/05/16 12:54 PM
Local area colleges will have their graduation ceremonies this weekend. Mars Hill University will confer bachelor’s degrees on an expected 185 undergraduates and nine Master of Education graduates during the graduation ceremonies Saturday at 9:30 am in Moore Auditorium. Keynote speaker for the graduation will be Dr. Katharine Meacham, retiring professor of philosophy. Mayland Community College will graduate over 175 students beginning at 10:00 Saturday morning. 

Marketing Proposal Approved, New EDC Director Needed

05/05/16 12:42 PM
Mitchell County is in the process of developing a marketing plan to pair with its economic development strategy. During the county’s regular meeting in March, the Economic Development Commission gave the green light to a proposal from North Star Destination Strategies, a marketing firm based in Nashville Tennessee to work alongside the county in creating and implementing a new branding initiative that focuses on highlighting the best parts of the community to draw people as well as business to the area. North Star Destination Strategies has experience working with small towns and big cities on branding strategies. Community branding is a big industry and to some it is considered a must for further economic development. The County is continuing the search for a new Economic Development Director. 

HB2 Controversy Impacts Playhouse Schedule

05/05/16 12:06 PM
West Side Story has been pulled from the Parkway Playhouse’s 2016 season. On Friday April 29th the creators of West Side Story imposed a restriction of rights on all theatre companies in the state of North Carolina as a result of the passage of the controversial law known as ‘HB2’. According to Parkway Playhouse Artistic Director Andrew Gall, ”The planned production of West Side Story will be discarded with no means of recovering or compensating for time, energy, and creativity expended by our staff, artistic team, and board. Additional expenses of time and money will have to be allocated to deal with this unexpected development, as we will have to urgently make new plans. This is to say nothing of the impact that this imposed cancellation has on the morale of our cast; many of whom are young, early career performers and students from this region. They are most definitely disappointed that they will not get to share this production that they have been working toward realizing. Parkway Playhouse does not make political statements. Instead, we give voice to performing artists. We have done so, in this community, for seventy years. Regretfully, the cast of actors and creative team members that were working on this show have been silenced as a result of the ongoing controversy relative to this law. It is not lost on any of us at Parkway Playhouse that the messages of understanding, peace, and love that are embedded in West Side Story remain especially timely.” A different production will be substituted into the season for July 30 through August 13.

Drug Investigation Ends in Five Arrests

05/05/16 10:19 AM
Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office and Spruce Pine Police Department have ended a five month long investigation involving the sale of methamphetamine at 56 Clearwater Lane in Spruce Pine.
 Captain R.V. Wiseman advised on Wednesday night the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Team headed up by Lt. J.D. English along with Spruce Pine Police Officers executed a (more)

Hot Springs Fires Fully Contained

05/04/16 03:25 PM
Fire officials announced on Wednesday that  the Silver Mine Fire near Hot Springs has been fully contained. The final size of the fire is 5964 acres. The fire burned for two weeks, closing school, roads and trails in the area. All trails in the area are now open, but hikers are advised to stay on the trail and not to camp or linger in the burn area because of fire-weakened trees, stump holes, and dislodged logs or rocks. Crews will continue to patrol the fire area and work on fire line repair as weather permits. Hurricane Gap Road, Mill Ridge Road and Shad Road remain closed until fire line repair work is completed.  The fire was determined to be caused by a human, but the exact cause remains under investigation. Firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service, North Carolina Forest Service, local volunteer fire departments, and North Carolina Emergency Management assisted in suppression of the fire. At the height of firefighting efforts there were 179 personnel on the ground, including crews from all over the Southeast and even as far away as Arizona.

Spruce Pine Council Looks to Fill Vacancy

05/04/16 02:47 PM
Spruce Pine Town Council plans to accept applications from individuals wanting to fill a currently vacant seat created when Darla Harding was elected Mayor back in November of 2015. At its regular meeting on April 25, the council voted to begin creating an application that people seeking the seat could fill out and submit. The plan is that council members will review applications and vote on whom to select. The Council had not addressed the issue of the vacant seat until Harding brought it up at the April 25 meeting. There are no formal rules for how to fill a vacant council seat during a non-election year. The council does however follow the state statutes that govern municipalities.  Although the Council is not required by law to fill the vacant seat before the next election, having a four member council gives the potential for an impasse.

More Casting Calls for Movie

05/03/16 01:03 PM
Here’s one more chance for you to grab your moment in the spotlight. The “Dirty Dancing” remake is now being filmed in Asheville. They are looking for six golfers for filming at Cashiers on Monday the 9th. You must know how to play golf and hit the ball and be able to attend a wardrobe fitting in Hendersonville this week. Also if you are still wearing that 70’s hairstyle they are looking for you for filming on May 18th. For more information search for Tona B. Dahlquist casting  on Facebook. Or email with heading CASHIERS  GOLFER or THE 70’S. "Dirty Dancing" is a three-hour filmed musical TV remake of the 1987 movie originally  filmed in the  Lake Lure area.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 4/24 - 5/1/16 (Details)

05/03/16 10:04 AM

McDowell Manhunt Ends

05/02/16 07:11 AM
McDowell County sheriff’s deputies were on a manhunt Thursday afternoon and Friday.  31 year old Danny Ray Pinkerton of 265 Caraway Drive in Marion ran from authorities twice Thursday.  Pinkerton was wanted on drug charges and ran from deputies when they tried to stop his vehicle. Deputies tried to stop the vehicle on N.C. 226 South at the intersection of Fairview Road, but Pinkerton sped up. Pinkerton stopped a short distance past Watermelon Lane and fled into the woods.  Deputies set up a perimeter around the vicinity and attempted to get the suspect out of the woods but were unsuccessful. The McDowell Sheriff’s Department reported that Pinkerton was taken into custody around 3pm Friday afternoon. 

McDowell Man Armed and Dangerous On the Run

04/29/16 02:17 PM
McDowell County sheriff’s deputies are actively on the hunt for a Marion man who ran from authorities twice Thursday and is likely armed. Danny Ray Pinkerton, age 31, of 265 Caraway Drive in Marion, is wanted for failure to appear on charges of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. At 11:20 a.m. Thursday, April 28, deputies were (more)

McDowell County to Expand Broadband Infrastructure

04/28/16 03:08 PM
McDowell County has joined with Skyrunner Internet to expand broadband availability in McDowell County. “This is exciting news for the community,” said Jeff Sural, director of the N.C. Broadband Infrastructure Office. “This is another example of what communities can achieve when they initiate expansion efforts. Across the state, we are seeing an increase in affordable broadband (more)

Three More Subjects Arrested for Drug Charges

04/28/16 02:53 PM
On April 24th  Deputies with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call regarding a suspicious vehicle that had been sitting at the Riverside BP Station. Upon the search of the vehicle and subjects within, Edward Steven Lewis, age 37, of Hartford, TN was arrested. Lewis was charged with Simple Possession Schedule IV Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to (more)

Marion Man Brutally Beaten

04/28/16 06:57 AM
Police are investigating a home invasion that left a man severely beaten early Monday morning in Marion. Police received a 911 call around 5am to go to 455 Ann Street. (more)

Autopsy Indicates Drowning

04/27/16 01:49 PM
Preliminary results of the autopsy on the body of 34 year old Marcus Hughes of the Plumtree community in Avery County indicated the cause of his death was drowning. Hughes' body was found in Squirrel Creek on Friday morning, April 22 after deputies responded to a report. Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye said a truck driver discovered the victim’s body Friday while crossing a one-lane bridge on Little Squirrel Creek Road, near Newland. They also report that family members and friends suspect foul play in his death. Deputies said they do not know if foul play was involved. The Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation continue their investigation.

Unemployment Rates Released

04/27/16 12:55 PM
Unemployment rates decreased in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, according to employment figures for March, recently released by the state.  The March (not seasonally adjusted) statewide rate was 5.4 percent. McDowell had the lowest rate in our area at 5.2 percent followed by Madison which had 5.5 percent. Mitchell had the highest rate for our area at 7.0 percent. Avery and Yancey fell into the middle of the scale with Yancey having a rate of 5.8 percent and Avery having 6.0 percent. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 13.3 percent while Buncombe County had the lowest at 4.2 percent. Within the North Carolina metro areas, Rocky Mount experienced the highest rate at 7.6 percent while Asheville had the lowest at 4.4 percent.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 4/17 - 4/24/2016 (Details)

04/26/16 09:41 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 4/15 - 4/23/16 (Details)

04/26/16 09:37 AM

Earthquake near Weaverville

04/26/16 06:53 AM
An Emergency dispatch operator received calls Monday morning  from residents in Buncombe County reporting a rumbling and feeling vibrations.  The U.S. Geological Survey said it was a 2.5 magnitude earthquake that was centered north of Weaverville, just south of Jupiter Road and west of Interstate 26. The small quake was 2.7 miles deep and hit at 10:43am. No injuries or damage was reported. The slight tremors were felt all the way north to Tennessee and south to areas in and around West Asheville, according to an intensity map and responses from people on the USGS online system. The biggest quake ever measured in the region — which includes the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and parts of South Carolina — was a 5.1 magnitude tremor in 1916.

Plane Crash on a Boone Golf Course

04/26/16 06:52 AM
A retired North Carolina state trooper was killed in a plane crash Monday in Boone.
69 year old Ben Chappell of Boone died at the scene of the crash. Two others in the plane, 68 year old John Field Worsley II, of Lenoir and 43 year old Steven Cox Berry, of Banner Elk were in critical condition last night. Officials said the Piper PA-32 crashed on a golf course west-northwest of Runway 13 of the Boone Airport. Witnesses said the small plane clipped some pine trees and exploded into flames on impact.  Two medical helicopters landed next to the crash to airlift Worsley and Berry. One was flown to Winston-Salem and the other to Johnson City.  The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

Madison County Fire Continues

04/25/16 08:17 AM
The forest fire in the Hot Springs area is still burning. David McFee, the incident commander for the Forest Service, says the plan this week is to build a wide perimeter line around the fire by using accessible forest service roads. The perimeter created is about 4600 acres. Trails in the area are still closed, and residents can probably expect to see more smoke this week. Containment is still at about 10 percent. The fire has burned about 2500 acres so far. Trails and some roads in the area remain closed. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Madison County Fires

04/22/16 07:05 AM
The much needed rain falling across Western North Carolina today is arriving just in time to provide some relief for fire crews battling a wildfire in Madison County, which has now burned 2,000 acres and endangered several homes. (more)

Mitchell-Yancey Rural Teaching Hub Set Up

04/21/16 02:34 PM
Mountain Area Health Education Center’s (MAHEC) WNC Rural Health Initiative is partnering with providers and community leaders in Mitchell and Yancey counties to develop the Mitchell-Yancey Rural Teaching Hub. Blake Fagan, MD, MAHEC’s Chief Education Officer, is (more)

Conservancy Buys Land on Peak Mountain Ridgeline

04/21/16 02:27 PM
Blue Ridge Conservancy has purchased four areas of land to protect the Peak Mountain ridgeline from development. Peak Mountain is an undeveloped ridgeline that can be seen from Seven Devils, N.C. 105 and Grandfather Mountain. One of the important aspects of conserving this land is to preserve the integrity of the water quality. Also tributary of the Watauga River is located on the property and is designated Trout Waters. The area is also home to some species of rare plants. The four areas total 248.58 acres in Avery and Watauga counties. They were purchased from BH Land Acquisitons LLC, an investment company based in Florida, for $805,000.  The land currently does not have public access, but it may be a possibility in the future.

Section of the Blue Ridge Parkway Closed for Repairs

04/20/16 01:35 PM
A section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is closed for repairs. The closure is from Milepost 316.5 to Milepost 317.5 to make repairs to the historic Linville River Bridge. Both lanes in this section of the Parkway will be closed to all activity including all cars, bicycles, and hikers for approximately six weeks. Access to Linville River Picnic Area and the Linville Falls visitor center, camping, and hiking activities will be available from the north at NC181 near Pineola. Detours signs will be in place to direct travelers through this area. 

Fires on NC/TN Border

04/20/16 01:28 PM
Two fires are burning just across the NC/TN state line and may cause some smoky skies in over into this area. A forest 500 plus acre fire in the Railroad Grade community of Carter County Tennessee is currently being investigated by state officials as arson. Officials have posted a $1,500 reward for any information that leads to an arrest. Capt. Greg Whitehead, an investigator from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, said there is no way this forest fire was accidental. It could spread to as much as 1500 acres before it is contained. A second even larger fire father south along the state line is now covering nearly 1,100 acres near Del Rio, Tennessee, just across the state line from Hot Springs and Marshall.   US Highway 25/70 was closed briefly Tuesday due to the fire.

Parents of Suspect Charged with Intimidating Witness

04/20/16 01:16 PM
Detective Lynn Greene of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 59-year-old Belinda Jean Buchanan and 64-year-old Jerry William Buchanan, both of 576 Cherokee Way in Marion, with felony intimidating a state’s witness. In January, Greene charged the couple’s son, 35-year-old Edward Almond Buchanan, with first-degree sex offense, first-degree rape of a child and first-degree (more)

New Drug Drop Box at Spruce Pine Police Department

04/19/16 10:32 AM
The Mitchell County Sheriff's Department has placed a drug drop box in the Spruce Pine Police Department located at the new department headquarters, 193 East Valley Road. The public will have access to the drop box Monday – Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.  After hours, the public can (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 4/03 - 4/17/16 (Details)

04/19/16 10:16 AM

Autrey Sentenced as Habitual Felon

04/18/16 08:38 AM
On April 6th, Rodney Linville Autrey was convicted of felony breaking and entering as well as felony larceny after breaking and entering.  Mr. Autrey broke into a residence in Spruce Pine  and stole cash.  During the course of the break in, Mr. Autrey injured himself and left blood at the home.  The Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office collected a sample of the blood and (more)

Lusk Sentenced for Habitual DWI

04/18/16 08:35 AM
On April 6th, Pamela Lusk was convicted of felony Habitual Driving While Impaired.  On August 26th, 2015, Ms. Lusk was driving on Oak Avenue in Spruce Pine with a blood alcohol level of .10.  Ms. Lusk has previously been convicted of Driving While Impaired on four separate occasions.  Lusk’s sentence was further enhanced by the District Attorney’s Office who identified (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 4/8 -4/15/16 (Details)

04/15/16 04:29 PM

McKinney Sentenced as Habitual Felon

04/15/16 03:53 PM
On April 6th, 2016, Angela McKinney was convicted of felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle and felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle.  In September of 2015, Ms. McKinney was driving a stolen vehicle on Highway 19 E in Mitchell County.  After Ms. McKinney noticed a patrol car behind her, she began speeding to get away.  She reached speeds that exceed 90 miles per (more)

Two Sentenced to Prison as Habitual Felons

04/15/16 03:14 PM
William Doris Byrd, Jr. and Clinton Dowis were sentenced as habitual felons in Yancey County Superior Court.  Byrd was convicted of two counts of delivery of a schedule III controlled substance, two counts of possession with the intent to sell or deliver a schedule III controlled substance, and two counts of maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of keeping or selling a controlled (more)

Yancey Precincts Moved for June 7th Primary

04/15/16 09:01 AM
For the June 7th Congressional Primary Yancey Board of Elections  will be temporarily moving some precincts out of schools because the End of Grade testing will be going on and schools can not close.  They will be moving Burnsville Precinct from Burnsville Elementary School to The Burnsville Town Center, Section C located at 6 South Main Street.  Cane River will be moved (more)

Early Voting Hours for June 7th Primary (details)

04/14/16 04:38 PM

Community Health Assessments

04/13/16 04:29 PM
The Toe River Health District has completed the 2015 Community Health Assessment for Mitchell and Yancey Counties.  The top three health concerns for our counties happen to be exactly the same for both Mitchell and Yancey. The top 3 priorities are # 1. Substance Abuse Prevention and Increasing Availability/ Access of Mental Health Services, #2. Health Living Behaviors/Lifestyles and Chronic Disease Prevention,  and #3. Social Determinants of Health.   

Mitchell County Assessment          Yancey County Assessment

Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty

04/13/16 02:03 PM
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Cecil Scott Byrd, who is charged with the killing of two women in separate instances. Byrd of 493 Bad Creek Road, in Red Hill was charged with killing Sarah Denise Riddle of Marion and Lisa Ann Robbins of Deep Gap. Byrd was indicted February 6 and prosecutors announced their intention to go for the death penalty in Superior Court April 6th. Byrd admitted killing Sarah Riddle at his residence and burning her remains. Byrd’s mother, Patsy has been charged with accessory for helping her son dispose of Lisa Robbins’ remains.  

Mobile Trash Service Suspended May 1st

04/12/16 12:24 PM
Mitchell County Sanitation has announced that effective May 1st  Estatoe mobile unit services will be suspended due to the road construction and safety concerns related to that. They have asked that citizens use the Yancey-Mitchell Transfer station at 555 Landfill Road or the Altapass Convenience Center at 2097 Altapass Highway.

45th District State Senator Resigns

04/11/16 03:08 PM
State Sen. Dan Soucek, a Republican from Boone, resigned from the State legislature effective last Friday, April 8th. Soucek represents the 45th district which includes Avery, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell and Watauga counties. Soucek wasn’t running for re-election in November. The news release from State Senate Leader Phil Berger’s office didn’t list a reason however when Soucek announced in December that he would not seek another term, he cited the strain of being away from his family and that  said he couldn not continue to faithfully serve both his family and constituents. Republican Party leaders in the 45th  District  will nominate someone to finish Soucek’s term and Gov. Pat McCrory will make the formal appointment. The legislature returns to Raleigh on April 25.

Narcotics Investigation Results in Vehicle Pursuit

04/08/16 02:09 PM
On April 5th at approximately 10:20 PM, officers with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office were conducting a narcotics investigation on William Mark Cole, age 27, of Spruce Pine.  This investigation involved a controlled purchase of methamphetamine from Mr. Cole.  During their investigation, officers had determined that Mr. Cole had outstanding felony warrants from other counties (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 4/1 - 4/8/16 (Details)

04/08/16 02:02 PM

Unemployment Rates Released

04/07/16 04:27 PM
Unemployment rates decreased in 32, increased in 30 and remained unchanged in 38 of North Carolina’s counties, according to employment figures for February, recently released by the state. Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 15.3 percent while Buncombe County had the lowest at 4.4 percent.   The February (not seasonally adjusted) statewide rate was 5.7 percent. McDowell had the lowest rate in our area at 5.5 percent followed by Madison which had 6.0 percent. Mitchell had the highest rate for our area at 7.7 percent. Avery and Yancey were tied in February with 6.4 percent.

Four Children Test Positive for Meth

04/07/16 01:27 PM
A McDowell county couple was arrested after four children in their home tested positive for methamphetamine. Detective Lynn Greene of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 29-year-old Kimberly Dawn Lowery and 27-year-old Nathan Todd Vallini, of 81 East Hunt Drive in Nebo, each with four misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.  Greene said four (more)

Murder Charge (Details)

04/07/16 07:17 AM
Two persons have now been charged in connection to a home invasion in Madison County on Tuesday night. Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood reports that Dean Shelton has been charged with felony murder, first-degree burglary and possession of firearm by a convicted felon. (more)

Final Days of School Year, Graduations

04/06/16 01:30 PM
The last day of school for Mitchell County students is June 7th. Yancey County students finish up with a half day of school on June 9th.  Graduation for both Mitchell and Mountain Heritage High Schools is Saturday, June 11th at 10:00 a.m. June 3rd is both the last day of school and graduation in Avery County.  Mayland Early College graduation is June the 4th at 6 pm on the Mayland College Campus in Spruce Pine.

Daniels Sentenced to Prison as Habitual Felon

04/05/16 03:22 PM
On April 4th, 2016, Aaron Charles Daniels was convicted of Possession of Methamphetamine.  Additionally, the District Attorney’s Office identified Mr. Daniels as a habitual felon, thereby enhancing his sentence.   Daniels had previously been convicted of five felonies (Breaking and Entering and Larceny twice, Possession of Methamphetamine, Sale and Delivery of a (more)

Last Day of School and MHHS Graduation Dates Set

04/05/16 10:36 AM
At the April 4th regular meeting of the Yancey County Board of Education, Yancey County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton announced the last day of school for Yancey County students and the date for Mountain Heritage High School Graduation.Thursday, June 9, 2016, will be the last – half-day – of school for Yancey County students.  Inclement weather in January and (more)

Golden LEAF Announces Scholarships

04/04/16 10:21 AM
The Golden LEAF (Long-term Economic Advancement Foundation) has announced its scholarship selections for the Golden LEAF Scholar for Mayland Community College students. Nineteen overall degree seeking students and those enrolled in continuing education programs received a combined total of $5,775 for the Spring semester. (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 3/27 - 4/03/16

04/04/16 09:23 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 3/25 - 4/1/16 (Details)

04/01/16 03:17 PM

Crash Victims Identified

04/01/16 03:15 PM
The three people who died in a multi-car crash March 24th on U.S. 221 North have been identified. According to Trooper Kelly Rhodes of the N.C. Highway Patrol the driver of the pickup truck was Terry Dixon, age 61, of Fletcher Creek in Wilkes County. His passenger was 44-year-old Lori Tindel, of Greenville, S.C.The driver of the van was Robert Gragg, age 48, of Gragg Hollow Lane in Newland. When emergency workers arrived, both vehicles were engulfed in flames and the victims could not be rescued. Troopers said the pickup truck was heading southbound on U.S. 221 when it crossed left of center and hit the van head on.  

Five Arrests made at a Driver License Check Point

04/01/16 06:08 AM
In the early morning hours on March 26, the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office and Burnsville Police Department were conducting a drivers license check point on US 19E Bypass at the intersection of South Main Street. (more)

Boone Best Western Corporation Pleads Guilty

03/29/16 01:39 PM
On Monday, March 28th, Appalachian Hospitality Management, Inc., the corporation that owned the Best Western Hotel in Boone in 2013 when there were three deaths there, plead guilty to three counts of involuntary manslaughter.  On April 16, 2013, Daryl and Shirley Jenkins were found deceased in Room 225 of the hotel. 11-year-old Jeffrey Williams and his mother Jeannie Williams stayed in (more)