Help Flood Victims (Details)

06/30/16 09:20 AM

School Bus Violations Continue in N.C.

06/30/16 07:02 AM
Results are in from a one day school bus stop arm count that was taken in March. The data was collected on the number of times vehicles illegally pass a stopped school bus that has a stop arm out to drop off or pick up students. (more)

Be Careful When Swimming in Lakes and Rivers

06/29/16 01:30 PM
Swimming and water sports are popular summer activities in our local rivers and area lakes. Be aware of recent reports of both a deadly bacteria in the water in Charlotte and e coli in Asheville. Last week a deadly amoeba was found in the water at The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte leading to the death of a teenager from Ohio. She apparently contracted the amoeba when her raft overturned.   Individuals become infected when they injest water while swimming in warm fresh water, such as a lake or river. The amoeba enters the nose and then goes to the brain, where it causes swelling and death.  Earlier this week at least two places in Asheville, the French Broad at the River Arts District, and Cane Creek at Fletcher Park, showed E. coli levels above what the EPA says is a safe level. After Monday's rain, there was likely runoff from nearby farms, putting more E. coli in the water.  Health officials advise that people should be aware of the risks of swimming in lakes and rivers when the water is warm and try to limit how much water goes into their noses by holding it while jumping in or using a nose plug. Also make sure small children and animals do not drink the water.   Anyone with wounds or open sores should avoid freshwater rivers or lakes until they are healed.

Beware of Scammers Targeting Utilities

06/29/16 12:40 PM
The Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department is warning area residents of a utility customer scam. According to the Sherriff’s Department this scam has happened in Mitchell County.  Scammers claim to be from your local power company. They pretend they’re calling to let your know your account is delinquent and unless you pay right away the service will be disconnected. To add credibility to this con, they often use “spoofing technology” that makes your caller ID display the name and phone number of the local utility. Duke Energy recently emailed a Fraud Alert to its customers making them aware of this scam.  The caller might insist he is with your power company. The caller ID on your phone might display the name of your utility. However you need to be aware that the power company will never call you and threaten immediate service disconnection. Multiple written notices are sent to the customer when the account is delinquent. The power company will never call and demand payment via a prepaid debit card. If you get a call and are concerned about your account, call the utility using a number from an old bill or look it up on the web. Don’t use the number that’s on your caller ID.

New Spruce Pine Town Council Member

06/29/16 12:26 PM
Jacqueline Rensink was unanimously chosen on Monday, June 27th by the Spruce Pine Town Council to fill the vacant seat on the Council. The vacant seat was created when Darla Harding was elected Mayor back in November of 2015. At the Council’s April 25th meting Mayor Harding brought the matter up about filling the vacancy. 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. Rensink is retired after spending 30 years with Mitchell County Schools. She will be sworn in at the July meeting. 

Meeting on School Facilities Set for July 21st

06/28/16 01:46 PM
There will be an informational meeting regarding the Yancey County elementary school facilities needs on Thursday, July 21st in the auditorium of Mountain Heritage High School. This meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. and time will be allowed for a question/answer session.   The two previous mid-month meetings allowed for public input, which by policy, prohibited school board members from answering questions from the public.  This informational meeting will allow for a true question and answer session.  Members of the community will be able to ask school board members or the architect firm specific questions regarding the evaluation our elementary schools and future plans.

Body Found Near Lake James

06/28/16 01:35 PM
A body was found near Lake James on Sunday, June 26th.  The body  was found near Crescent Woods Road, off N.C. Highway 126.  Deputies arrived just before 9 p.m. and confirmed the death  and  identified the victim as Demetrius Marcellus Chisholm, age 27, of Charlotte. According to the Sheriff’s Department the death is being investigated as a suspicious death. The SBI was called in to assist. Anyone with information is asked to call the   Criminal Investigation Division at 828-764-9505.  

New Facilities Options Clarification

06/28/16 09:48 AM
On Monday, June 20, the Yancey County Board of Education met in the Mountain Heritage High School Auditorium to hear the second report of the Facilities Needs Assessment. To further clarify our news story from last week the recommendation for an east school was for Micaville and South Toe to go to the “East” school, which would be located somewhere between the current Micaville and South Toe Elementary Schools. Burnsville School would remain where it is. This would leave a total of 3 elementary schools in the county. A “west” school for Bee Log, Bald Creek and Clearmont. An “east” school for Micaville and South Toe. Burnsville Elementary would remain as it is with minor repairs. This option would also more evenly distribute the total number of students per school with the “west” having approximately 289 students, the “east” having 276 and Burnsville Elementary 381. These are all still just options that were presented to the school board. No decisions have been made. A public meeting will be held in July. 

Yancey Sheriff Report 6/19/16 - 6/26/16

06/27/16 09:55 AM

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 6/19 - 6/26 (Details)

06/27/16 09:49 AM

Two Students Hurt After Falling From Truck at Avery High

06/23/16 10:06 AM
Two Avery County High School students suffered serious injuries on Wednesday, June 22 after falling from the back of a pickup truck on Avery County High School property.. Apparently the two were flung from the pickup truck, between the field house and baseball field, landing a considerable distance away from where the truck came to a stop. Both teenagers suffered head trauma and were taken to Cannon Memorial Hospital. One was then airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center. Both were conscious on arrival at Cannon Memorial Hospital.

Facilities Assessment Study Presented to Board

06/23/16 09:56 AM
On Monday, June 20,  the Yancey County Board of Education met in the Mountain Heritage High School Auditorium to hear the second report of the Facilities Needs Assessment from Architect Mike Cox and Associate Amy Dowty of Architectural Design Studios.  Their study shows more needs than there are dollars to cover with critical needs at most of the schools that must be addressed.  The (more)

Breaking and Entering Charges

06/22/16 05:28 AM
Mitchell County Sheriff Lt. Detective Cecil Hobson charged four individuals pertaining to a Breaking & Entering and Larceny from a residence in the Buladean Community. (more)

Life-saving Opioid Reversal Drug Now Available

06/21/16 01:45 PM
Addressing an issue that has become a major problem in our area and across the state, Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation Monday making naloxone, a life-saving opioid reversal drug more accessible. This means that pharmacies in North Carolina will have a standing prescription order for naloxone and will begin making it available without a prescription. North Carolina is the third state in the country to issue such an order. In North Carolina, more than 1,000 people die each year from prescription opioid and heroin overdoses. One out of four autopsies performed by state medical examiners is on those whose deaths are from drug overdose. North Carolina's Good Samaritan Law, signed by Governor McCrory in 2013, cleared the way for law enforcement to carry and use naloxone.   In 2015, North Carolina reached a major milestone when the number of opioid overdose reversals from the use of naloxone exceeded the number of overdose deaths .If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 911. For more information about available services and treatment. 

2017 Rhododendron Queens

06/20/16 02:26 PM
(L to R) 2017 Junior NC Rhododendron Queen Cassidy Gentry and 2017 NC Rhododendron Queen Hannah Welborn-Lewis. In the Junior Division: 2nd runner up and Talent winner was Madelyn Duncan, 1st runner up and Congeniality winner was Sydney Stevenson, 2017 Junior (more)

Yancey Commissioners Adopt New Budget

06/20/16 10:03 AM
At their regular business meeting on June 13th the Yancey County Commissioners adopted the budget plan for county government for the coming fiscal year. Just like North Carolina, Yancey County’s fiscal year begins July 1, 2016. This marks the third year in a row that budget adoption has occurred in early June. (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 6/12 - 6/19/16 (Details)

06/20/16 09:51 AM

Sex Offender Arrested in Yancey County

06/20/16 09:09 AM
On Wednesday, June 8th, the Yancey County Sheriff's Office Sex Offender Unit arrested Brandon Wayne Bailey on one charge of accessing Facebook, a felony in NC. Investigators had received information that Mr. Bailey's Facebook account was active and were able to establish that Mr. Bailey had accessed it along with another account under a different name. Mr. Bailey was placed under a $15,000 Secured Bond. Sheriff Gary Banks says that keeping sex offenders accountable by strictly enforcing sex offender laws is a top priority of his office and that he has instructed his sex offender unit to work diligently to insure the safety of the children of Yancey County.

Yancey County Drug Charges

06/20/16 05:18 AM
On June 1st, 2016, 54 year old Randall Dale Chandler, of Burnsville was charged on multiple drug offenses. He had also been charged with a Probation Violation, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of Marijuana Paraphernalia, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession with Intent Manufacture/Sell/Deliver Schedule II Controlled Substance, and Simple Possession Schedule VI Controlled (more)

"Grease" to Replace "Westside Story" in Playhouse Lineup

06/17/16 03:46 PM
Parkway Playhouse has announced that Grease, the popular 1950’s-based musical comedy will replace West Side Story in the theatre’s 2016 Season.  West Side Story was pulled from the season April 29th when 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 law known as ‘HB2’. Parkway Playhouse’s production of Grease will run weekends July 30 through August 13.  Grease is one of the most popular musicals in the world with many Broadway and regional productions and it inspired the enormously popular film that featured John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.  Tickets for Grease are now on sale and can be purchased on line at  

Burnsville Man Killed in Wreck in Mitchell County

06/17/16 09:42 AM
A head on collision has claimed the life of a Burnsville man.  The accident occurred yesterday morning around 10am on NC 226 in Spruce Pine. According to the highway patrol, a Ford Focus was travelling north when it crossed the center line and hit a van that was heading south. The driver of the Ford Focus, John Casteel, was not wearing a seat belt and was killed in the accident. A passenger was flown to Johnson City Medical Center in serious condition, but is expected to be OK. The passengers in the van were also taken to the hospital, but are expected to be fine.

Yancey Sheriff Report 6/9/16 - 6/16/16 (Details)

06/17/16 09:41 AM

SHIIP is Not Just for Seniors

06/16/16 09:24 AM
The services of SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, are not only for people aged 65 and older. SHIIP also provides free counseling about Medicare to people on Medicare due to a disability. Before you can receive Medicare due to a disability, you must have received Social Security Disability Insurance for a period of (more)

Giant Gemstone Found

06/15/16 03:44 PM
A large aquamarine crystal has been found in Mitchell County. Recently a perfect aquamarine crystal embedded in smoky quartz and Torbernite, mica and fluorescent Hyalite Opal was discovered. The stone weighs around 20 pounds. The Aquamarine crystal is calculated to contain 13,000 carats. The stone can be seen in the local mineral exhibit in the NC Mining Museum at Emerald Village, located at 331 McKinney Mine Rd in Little Switzerland.  

The Fund for Mitchell County Announces $2,500 in Grants

06/14/16 02:22 PM
The Fund for Mitchell County is pleased to announce $2,500 in grants to local nonprofit organizations providing support for K-3 literacy programs. The grants were made in partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) and include: (more)

Who Dumped This Food?

06/14/16 11:01 AM
McDowell County sheriff’s deputies need help identifying the people who dumped a huge pile of food at Mill Creek. The dumpsite was reported last week and was cleaned up Friday.  Deputy Ronnie Harvey said the 520-plus pounds of meat, bread and miscellaneous food had to have come from a restaurant or deli.An investigation has, thus far, not turned up any suspects.  Anyone with information as to who might be responsible for the dumpsite is asked to call Deputy Ronnie Harvey at the Sheriff’s Office at 652-2235 or McDowell County Crimestoppers at 65-CRIME (652-7463). Now, you can also text your tips to Crimestoppers. Text MCDOWELLTIPS and your information to 274637 (CRIMES). With Crimestoppers, your identity remains anonymous, and you could receive a cash reward.

Memorial Event Being Organized for Those Lost to Addiction

06/13/16 01:49 PM
The Mitchell Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force is in the process of organizing a community memorial event to remember those family members, friends and neighbors who have died due to overdose. Such an event can provide support and for families and honor those who have been tragically lost to addiction. If you would like to volunteer to be part of a committee to plan an event you can contact Nancy H. Lindeman, Coordinator, Mitchell-Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force at 682-7899 or go to the Mitchell Yancey Substance Abuse Task Force facebook page.

Motorcycle Accident on Highway 80

06/13/16 01:35 PM
Another tragic head on accident happened on Friday evening June 10th on Hwy 80.  First Sgt. Mark Cline of the N.C. Highway Patrol, said Roger William Crow, age 74, of Wayne, Michigan died in the crash. He was riding north on N.C. 80 in McDowell County (Buck Creek) on his 1994 Honda motorcycle with a sidecar, when he veered left of center. He collided head on with a white Dodge Ram 3500. Nelvin Bruce Humphries of Gaffney, S.C., and his wife were traveling south in the truck. According to Trooper D.R. Alexander of the N.C. Highway Patrol,  Humphries was rounding the curve in his truck when the cyclist sped up and drifted into the opposite lane. No charges were filed in the accident.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 6/5 - 6/12/16

06/13/16 09:58 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 6/2/16 - 6/9/16

06/09/16 01:02 PM

Update On Traffic Accident

06/08/16 01:30 PM
Mountain Heritage High School student Raeanna McCourry,  age 16, has been identified as the fatality in the traffic accident that happened on Hwy 80 near Riddles Storage on Tuesday evening, around 5:30 p.m. McCourry was a passenger in the vehicle. Troopers say the driver of the car was traveling northbound on Highway 80 when he attempted to pass a car in front of him. While he was in the southbound lane, he noticed a pickup truck coming toward him, so he went back into the northbound lane but overcorrected. This sent the car back in the southbound lane but perpendicular. The pickup truck then hit the passenger side of the car where Raeanna was sitting. Raeanna was taken to Johnson City Medical Center but died around 6:30 p.m. The driver of the car was released from Mission Hospital around midnight on Wednesday. (photo courtesy of WLOS News)

Taxes in Town Going Up

06/08/16 10:39 AM
The Burnsville Town Board has voted to increase property taxes by a half cent, making the new rate 50.5 cents. Also the water/sewer rate was increased by two percent for town residents. The property tax increase will go toward maintaining the town’s fund balance, which was decreased significantly with the purchase of land for the new fire station. The water increase was to build reserves for future capital projects.The tax increase was not a unanimous decision. Mayor Theresa Coletta, Ron Powell and Ruth Banks voted for the increase.  Judy Buchanan and Shannon Peterson were opposed to the tax increase.  In its new budget the Town Council also gave town employees and the council a 1.15 percent cost of living increase. A copy of the proposed budget is available at Town Hall.

Traffic Fatality

06/08/16 05:51 AM
There is an unconfirmed report of a fatality from a head on collision between a truck and a car yesterday afternoon. The accident occurred on Highway 80 South near Riddles Mini Storage. The MAMA helicopter was called to the scene around 6pm. Two people were involved in the accident. One was flown to the hospital. We will have more details as they become available. On May 27th six people were injured in an accident on Highway 80 South in the Popular Grove area. 

Election Results

06/08/16 05:50 AM
In the election yesterday there was a close vote in the Democrat US House of Representatives District 11 race.  Rick Bryson had a little less than 51% of the vote with 9,636 votes and Tom Hill received 9,351votes. There was a difference of only 285 votes. Rick Bryson will face Incumbent Republican Mark Meadows in November. The 11th District is made up of 16 Western North Counties, including Yancey, Mitchell and Madison Counties. There was a runoff race in Yancey County for one seat on the school Board.  In March Angie Weatherman had just 43 votes more than Erica Griffith Edwards. In the vote on Tuesday Angie Weatherman won the third seat on the school board by receiving 62% of the vote with 1,165 votes and Erica Griffith Edwards had 729 votes. 

The HB2 Resource Guide (Details)

06/07/16 08:36 PM

Graham Childrens Health Announces Summer Activities Schedule

06/07/16 09:39 AM
Healthy Yancey has announced the Sizzlin' Summer Series, a physical activity campaign that offers a variety of fun, family oriented opportunities for fitness this summer. A program of Graham Children’s Health Services, Healthy Yancey is a partnership of concerned citizens working together to improve the quality of health for all people in Yancey County. The mission (more)

Last Week of School/Graduations

06/06/16 01:10 PM
This is the week that students and no doubt some teachers have been looking forward to. The last day of school for Mitchell County students is  tomorrow, June 7th. Yancey County students finish up with a half day of school on Thursday, June 9th.  Graduation for both Mitchell and Mountain Heritage High Schools is Saturday, June 11th at 10:00 a.m. 

Yancey Voters Head to Polls Tomorrow

06/06/16 01:08 PM
Yancey County voters still have some work to do to get ready for the November election and to get the new School Board in place. 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 (more)

First Phase of Branding Project Complete

06/06/16 12:14 PM
North Star Destination Strategies from Nashville, working with the creative team of artists and staff from the Toe River Arts Council, has completed the first stage of a multi-faceted and long-term project to brand Mitchell and Yancey counties for the arts.  The result is a crisp but familiar name for the region, a distinctive logo, a unique and balanced strapline (also known as a tagline), (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 5/29 - 6/516 (Details)

06/06/16 10:39 AM

Stafford Found Dead in Jail Cell

06/06/16 10:36 AM
David Shane Stafford, age 42 of 429 Stafford Rd. Spruce Pine, was found dead in his jail cell on Sunday. Stafford had been charged with brutally assaulting his girlfriend. Stafford was being held in the McDowell County jail on a $1 million bond for allegedly beating his girlfriend, tying her up and holding her hostage for two days without any food or water.  Authorities determined that Stafford hanged himself at some point Sunday. The victim is still hospitalized and on a ventilator, but is alert and able to communicate. The attack left her possibly blind in one eye and in need of plastic surgery. Stafford was arrested June1 and charged. He had a long list of prior arrests and had been ordered to stay away from the woman he assaulted. 

Two More Yancey County Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

06/03/16 02:10 PM
On May 29th, Yancey County Sheriff’s Office was conducting a Drivers License Check Point on Toe River Rd. As a Green Honda Civic pulled up to a stop, the strong odor of marijuana was detected coming from the vehicle at the checkpoint. The driver of the vehicle, when asked if he had been smoking marijuana or if he had any in his vehicle, then asked if he could pull his vehicle to the side. (more)

Madison Man Dies in ATV Wreck

06/03/16 01:20 PM
Mark Caldwell of Madison County was found dead after an ATV accident in Madison County. Caldwell was reported missing Thursday night, June 2 and several hours later, his body was found. According to investigators, Mark Caldwell was on his ATV when it went off an embankment and fell 12 to 15 feet. He fell on his head and died upon impact. Caldwell was 7 miles up Big Pine Road which is in the Marshall section of the county.  Caldwell reportedly only had the vehicle about a month.

Two Teenagers Charged With Playground Fire

06/03/16 01:02 PM
Two teenagers have turned themselves in to police and have been charged with misdemeanor injury to property and misdemeanor larceny for the May 19th vandalizing of Riverside Park in Spruce Pine.  Logan Huskey, age 18 of Spruce Pine and Ocean Hinshaw, age 19 of Johnson City, set the rubberized mulch on fire, melting the mulch, destroying a climbing wall and melting a slide in the Rotary Playground part of the park . More than $20,000 worth of equipment was reportedly damaged.   The two teens turned themselves in Wednesday, June 1 and were given a $500 bond, which they posted later that day.

Couple Charged with Felony Child Abuse

06/03/16 10:55 AM
Detective Shane Vance of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged 27-year-old Kirk William Biddix and 27-year-old Ellen Marie Pritchard, both of 84 Shea Drive in Marion, with felony negligent child abuse inflicting serious injury and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Vance said he received a report from the McDowell County Department of Social Services about (more)

Stafford Bond Set at $1 Million

06/02/16 03:24 PM
David Shane Stafford, age 42 of 429 Stafford Rd. Spruce Pine, had his first appearance in court on Thursday in relation to accusations of brutally assaulting his girlfriend. The judge set a $1 million bond.  Stafford allegedly beat his girlfriend, tied her up and held her hostage for two days without any food or water. A neighbor found her in the road with her hands still tied. Law enforcement arrested Stafford late Wednesday night in McDowell County. According to investigators Stafford caused serious injuries to the woman's face and head. She remains in the hospital in serious but stable condition. Stafford has another set of outstanding charges for allegedly beating the same woman several months ago. At the time of his arrest he was under a $30,000 bond with conditions of staying away from the woman. He has a long list of prior arrests with court records showing many charges dismissed.

Slight Increase in Water Rates for Spruce Pine

06/02/16 02:51 PM
The town of Spruce Pine’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year does not have a property tax increase although there will be a slight increase in water and sewer rates. The general budget of $2.1 million is currently balanced keeping the town’s property tax rate at 51 cents for every $100 of valuation. The monthly water and sewer rate will increase from $9.75 to $10 for (more)

Mitchell County Budget Hearing

06/02/16 12:43 PM
A public hearing on the county’s proposed budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year will be held during the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners regular meeting Monday, June 6th .   The budget totals about $19 Million with no property tax increase. Without an increase to balance the budget, the county will have to pull $470,000 from its fund balance. County commissioners are (more)

Running the Blue Ridge Parkway

06/01/16 04:26 PM
Fifty-nine year old Ray Russell   is running the entire length of Blue Ridge Parkway, from Waynesboro Virginia to Cherokee North Carolina,  a  length of 469 miles in 30 days. He is running approximately 20 miles per day. His goal is to photograph it, video it, blog it and raise awareness and support for the Blue Ridge Parkway and the centennial celebration of the National Park Service. According to his blog on Tuesday, May31st he ran past Moses Cone Estate, down to Julian Price Park, then up 4 miles of Grandfather Mountain.  As of Tuesday, Ray has covered just under 300 miles and has 9 days to go to reach the southern end of the Parkway. You can follow his progress online at Dr. Ray Russell is Founder and President of RaysWeather.Com and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Appalachian State University.

Mitchell Student Place 2nd in National Debate

06/01/16 03:53 PM
Local Mitchell County high school student, Wyly Walker and his partner Caleb Jurkonis from TN placed second in Parliamentary Debate at the National Invitational Tournament of Champions at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri on Saturday.  They competed against the top 87 teams (more)

Mitchell County Man Wanted

06/01/16 05:17 AM
Authorities are asking for the public's help finding a Mitchell County man wanted for beating his girlfriend. The Mitchell County Sheriff's Office is searching for 42 year old David Stafford for an assault that occured around 3pm Tuesday in Spruce Pine. Stafford is accused of assaulting his girlfriend and then holding her against her will. Her name is not being released while she's in the hospital in serious condition. Stafford is wanted for kidnapping and assault inflicting serious bodily injury. If you see David Stafford, you are asked to call the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office at 688-3982.

Home Repair Funds Awarded

05/31/16 04:11 PM
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency has awarded $300,000  to veterans, the elderly and the disabled for emergency home repair in this area. The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency awarded $100,000 to repair 18 homes in Madison County and $200,000 to repair 25 homes in Haywood County. Funds came from the Housing Trust Fund's Urgent Repair Program. Funds awarded through grants are meant to correct safety hazards or to make accessibility modifications. 

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.