NCDOT Awards Contract to Resurface 7 Miles of Madison County Roads

11/24/14 05:37 AM
The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for resurfacing along several roads in Madison County. (Details)

NCDOT Awards Contract for Yancey County Road Resurfacing

11/24/14 05:21 AM
The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a resurfacing contract that will improve nearly six miles of Yancey County roads.  A $780,000 contract was awarded to Rogers Group of Nashville, Tenn., for the project. Work can begin as early as March 15, 2015, with final completion scheduled for Oct. 15, 2015. (more)

Second of Two Escaped Inmates Captured

11/24/14 05:14 AM
Correctional officers captured escaped inmate Frankie Noles Friday afternoon in Marion, about 24 hours after they picked up Jacob Pilkington, his fellow escapee. (more)

Meth Bust in Mitchell County

11/21/14 02:45 PM
Two people were arrested at their home on Natural Trail Lane off Mine Creek Road and charged with drug crimes on Tuesday November 18th. Elijah Stroade Biehl and his wife Julie Goforth Biehl who recently moved to the area from Florida, have each been charged with endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and maintaining a dwelling to manufacture the drug. Deputies (more)

Forest Fire Shuts Down Hwy. 226

11/20/14 05:26 PM
A 15-acre forest fire that temporarily shut down Hwy. 226 from Hughes Gap to the Tennessee state line on Tuesday also engulfed the old Butler store in Buladean.  Fire crews from Bakersville, Buladean, Fork Mountain and Bradshaw Fire Departments responded to the emergency call. Together with help from personnel from the U.S. and NC Forest Services , the blaze was contained after several hours. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Spruce Pine to Join Overmountain Victory Trail System

11/20/14 05:25 PM
A recreational greenway trail is scheduled to be built behind the Spruce Pine Shopping Center in Grassy Creek as part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail system. The trail traces the same path used by the famous Tennessee frontiersmen who crossed over the North Carolina Mountains during the Revolutionary War to face British forces in the Battle of Kings Mountain. The new portion of the trail will run from the shopping center to Carters Ridge Road with eventual plans to extend the greenway to connect with the trail at Riverside Park in Spruce Pine.  The trail will also connect with 87 miles of walkable pathways currently designated as part of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. The projects are being funded through grants from the U.S. and N.C. governments and the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and the Fish America Foundation. Construction of the trail, which will be handled by the national Park Service and the Overmountain Victory Trail Association, is set to begin next spring.

Town Approves New Store Location for Dollar General

11/20/14 05:20 PM
The Dollar General Store has received approval for a conditional use permit to build on a large lot off Hwy 19 at Cooper Street and West Main. Venture Properties VII. LLC received the go ahead from the Town of Burnsville zoning administrator and planning board last week. The company has agreed to comply with the town’s new development guidelines which will include building a structure that be in line with the appearance of other commercial structures in Burnsville as well as attractive landscaping for the parking area and sidewalks along the street. Dollar General, which has provided generous literacy grants to all Yancey County elementary schools over the years, has earned high praise from local officials who have stated that they expect the new store to be a real asset to the town.

Great American Smokeout November 20th

11/19/14 01:56 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2014 will be the annual Great American Smokeout. On November 20th (only), anyone who enrolls will qualify for 8 weeks of nicotine patches by calling or registering online with the North Carolina Quitline. (more)

Grandfather Mtn Baby Otter Passes Away

11/19/14 10:26 AM
Grandfather Mountain is deeply saddened to announce the unexpected death of 9-month-old Emmy, one of the mountain's newest North American river otters. Emmy and her brother, Oscar, arrived at Grandfather Mountain from a wildlife rehabilitator in August after being orphaned as pups, and they debuted to the public on Nov. 3. (more)

Low Income Energy Assistance

11/19/14 10:15 AM
The Yancey County Department of Social Services will be taking applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program beginning on December 1, 2014.  This will be only for household that contain someone who is age sixty years and older or receive assistance through DAADS.  Applications will be taken from 8:30 am until noon at the First Baptist Church on the town square.  They (more)

Sunday Morning Fire Destroys Mobile Home

11/17/14 12:45 PM
A fire Sunday morning on Country Meadows Road off Cattail in Pensacola completely destroyed a mobile home, according to Yancey Emergency Management. The 911 call came in at around 9:50 a.m. and when fire fighters arrived the structure was fully engulfed in flames, according to Mark Thomas at EMS. Personnel from Burnsville, Pensacola, Clearmont and New Dale Fire Departments responded to the call and were on scene until the fire was completely extinguished at around 1 p.m. There was no one home at the time of the incident and the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Fire Marshall.

Yancey County Deputies Arrest Three in Crime Spree

11/17/14 05:21 AM
(From Yancey Sheriff's Office)
Sheriff Gary Banks reports that on the evening of Saturday 11/15/2014, his office received information from Unicoi County Tennessee Sheriff’s Office to be looking for a brown van with a broken rear window. (more)

Lunsford Sentenced to Prison for Involuntary Manslaughter

11/15/14 01:39 PM
Marshall, NC - On November 14th, 2014, Jackie Brook Lunsford, age 43, was found guilty by a jury of one count of Involuntary Manslaughter after a trial in Madison County Superior Court. (more)

Breaking and Entering in Spruce Pine

11/14/14 03:33 PM
Two Spruce Pine men are behind bars after a Mitchell County Sheriff’s Deputy caught the pair stealing items from a vacant home. Seventeen year old Jillian True Buchanan and Twenty year old Caleb Wayne Robinson, both of Fortner Road Spruce Pine, were arrested for breaking and entering a vacant house located at 157 Jims Drive in Spruce Pine. One of the men confessed to breaking the door open and taking a few small items. Buchanan was charged with felony breaking and entering, felony larceny and breaking and entering and was placed on a $75,000 bond . Robinson was charged with misdemeanor breaking and entering.  

Beware of Dumping Hot Ashes From Stoves

11/14/14 03:30 PM
A series of fires sparked by the dumping of hot ashes and coals from wood stoves have damaged two structures in Mitchell County recently and have prompted officials from the NC Forest Service and local fire departments to issue warnings. An eight acre fire near Altapass damaged two homes but no one was reported injured. In spite of a thin layer of snow on the ground the cause of the fire was determined to be the dumping of fireplace ashes outside one of the houses. Officials say that low humidity and dry fuels like leaves and other forest litter are very flammable and that homeowners’ should always dispose of hot materials from their stoves in a safe manner. The NC Forest Service and four local fire departments arrived on the scene on Halloween night and found one of the homes on fire. Firefighters from Spruce Pine, Parkway, Bakersville and Green Valley Fire Departments were able to save both structures with damage to only one of the buildings. Officials say that hot ashes should be soaked and stirred in water contained in a metal buck and placed in an area where the wind cannot cause them to become combustible.  

Elk Knob State Park to Host Search & Rescue Exercise

11/13/14 02:20 PM
Search-and-rescue exercise planned for Elk Knob State Park. Agencies from across the region will participate Nov. 15 in a search-and-rescue training exercise at Elk Knob State Park, the first of its kind held at this park. (more)

State Implements Plan for Emergency Preparedness

11/13/14 02:16 PM
Raleigh – Work is underway to ensure that the needs of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations are addressed during disasters. (more)

Body of a Bakersville Man left at Mission Still a Mystery

11/13/14 06:45 AM
Asheville City police still do not know the cause of death of 26 year old Logan Michael Pitman of Bakersville. An unidentified person dropped off Pitman's body at Mission Hospital in Asheville Saturday morning and fled the scene. Authorities have now located that person but have not released a name. Autopsy results were inconclusive but they are still waiting for results on a toxicology report hoping that will shed more light on this mystery death. 

Nearly 600 Halloween Drunk Drivers

11/12/14 03:44 PM
Raleigh— During this year’s Halloween “Booze It & Lose It” campaign, law enforcement officers from across the state arrested 583 drunk drivers before they could create real life nightmares on North Carolina’s roadways.  (more)

Registering for Job Search

11/12/14 07:02 AM
The Division of Employment Security is reminding claimants that Employment Security Law requires registering for work in order to receive unemployment benefits. Claimants may do so through NCWorks Online. Claimants are required to complete a full registration for work by logging onto ( in order to meet their work registration requirement for unemployment insurance benefits. The work registration must include the completion of the Resume Builder tool, which allows claimants to input their employment history and occupational skills and keep them up to date. The claimant must also maintain an active NCWorks Online account by accessing the system every 90 days to update and/or validate their resume. If you don't have intenet access remember you can go to your local library for help.

Madison County Brush Fire

11/11/14 06:54 AM
Late last night crews from 12 departments were still battling a brush fire that burned around 9 acres after it was noticed around noon yesterday.   It is still on the move up the steep mountainside in the French Broad Crossing Gated Community of Madison County.  Around 50 Firefighters were working the blaze from the ground along with a helicopter that was bringing in water. Officials say that no structures are in danger as that fire continues to burn. 

Body of a Bakersville Man left at Mission Hospital

11/11/14 06:52 AM
Asheville City police still have lots of questions about a man that dropped off a body at Mission Hospital and then fled the scene. The dead man has been identified as 26 year old Logan Michael Pitman of Bakersville. Investigators and hospital staff were unable to determine how Pitman died. An autopsy was been planned. The incident occurred around 1am Saturday. According to the ER staff, a burgundy Ford pickup pulled in front of the emergency room and a man came in asking for help. The ER staff loaded the body onto a gurney and then they told the driver to park and come in. But the driver drove off and left the hospital property. Detectives are continuing their search for the driver of the vehicle. 

Two Minor Earthquakes over the Weekend

11/10/14 05:41 AM
The United State Geological Survey is reporting that two separate minor earthquakes rattled Western North Carolina this past weekend. One on Saturday night around 8:30pm registered 2.4 the Richter Scale. It was centered about 7 miles north of Mars Hill and 22 miles north of Asheville. The shaking was felt in the Wolf Laurel area, no damage was reported. A separate earthquake earlier Saturday shook an area about six miles north of Grimsley, Tennessee. It was 2.5 on the Richter scale. It usually takes an earthquake of around 5.0 magnitude to do structural damage. 

Telephone Lines Down

11/10/14 05:40 AM
All Landlines in Yancey, Mitchell and Madison Counties were out of service late Saturday afternoon.  The telephone service interruption included the ability to call 911 for emergency.  All fire departments were on standby with personnel available at each local fire station in case emergency services were needed by the public.  The outage was blamed on a telephone switching problem by Frontier in Buncombe County. Service was restored overnight Saturday. 

Three Yancey Schools Recognized for High Performance

11/07/14 11:40 AM
Three Yancey County Schools are among only 78 other schools from around the state that have been recognized as Title I Reward Schools for High Performance for 2014-15, based on results from 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years according to the NC Department of Public Instruction.

Area Christmas Parade Dates Announced

11/06/14 06:57 AM
The Burnsville Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, December 6 beginning at 3. pm. The theme this year is “Christmas Bells are Ringing.” Stop by the Visitor Center/Chamber Office for entry forms. Entry is free before Friday Nov. 21 and after that date a $10 late fee will be charged. For information call the Chamber office at 682-7413. Spruce Pine will have its Christmas Parade on Saturday, November 29th at 6:00 pm.  The theme for this year's parade is "Christmas Around the World." You can contact the Spruce Pine Kiwanis at 765-1711 for more information. The Annual Bakersville Christmas parade will be held Saturday, December 6th from 6 to 8 pm. 

Three Yancey County Residents Arrested on Drug Charges

11/05/14 04:28 PM
(News Release from Yancey Sheriff's Department)
Three Yancey County residents have been arrested on drug charges. Susan Marie Jenkins, 58 of 949 Sam Robertson Road Burnsville, NC was arrested and charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession with the Intent to Sell and Deliver Schedule II (Oxycodone), 4 counts of Possession of Schedule IV (Alprazolam, Phentermine, Diazepam ,(more)

Search for Escaped Inmate (update)

11/05/14 01:47 PM
The Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement are searching for an escaped inmate from Greene Correctional Institution, a minimum security prison in Greene County.At approximately 5:30 this morning, correctional staff discovered that Jeffrey Olds (0305860) had escaped when some clothes were discovered near a facility fence.Olds, 41, is serving 2 to 4 years for robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was due for release in February 2017. He is from Cumberland County and may attempt to travel there.Anyone who has seen Olds or has knowledge of his whereabouts should contact local law enforcement or Greene Correctional Institution at (252) 747-3676 .

Election Returns

11/05/14 05:02 AM
Polling places were packed all across NC yesterday as 44% of citizens turned out to vote. One of the closest races in the state was the NC House of Representatives District 118 which is made up of Yancey, Madison and Haywood Counties. Republican Incumbent Michele Presnell received 13,781 votes or 51% and Democrat Challenger Dean Hicks had 13,057 votes which represented 49%. (more)

Voters Take to the Polls Today

11/04/14 06:06 AM
Voters across the country are taking to the polls today to cast their votes in the general election. (more)

French Broad Worker Injured

11/03/14 07:24 AM
An employee with French Broad Electric was seriously injured during a storm related accident in Madison County is now listed in good condition.  First Responders reported that Larry Rogers was trying to repair a power outage when he came in contact with a live wire and was burned. He was taken to Wake Forest Baptist hospital in Winston Salem. 

Election Tomorrow

11/03/14 07:23 AM
Early Voting ended at 1pm on Saturday for the November 4th Election Tomorrow.  In local county races, in Mitchell County the Board of Education is the only race with seats up for grab. Voters will pick 3 among 7 contenders. (more)

NCDOT Crews Prepare for Snow

10/31/14 02:47 PM
The N.C. Department of Transportation is ready for the first major winter storm of the season. 
The National Weather Service is forecasting unusually cold temperatures, gusty wind and snow in North Carolina's mountains this weekend, particularly in the counties along the Tennessee border. (more)

Halloween Booze It & Lose It Campaign Kicks Off

10/31/14 10:18 AM
Raleigh— Halloween festivities usually involve spooky tricks and sweet treats, but the scariest situations of all can often be found on North Carolina’s highways. Drunk drivers make a terrifying decision when they get behind the wheel and risk creating real-life nightmares for themselves and others. (more)

Grandfather Mountain cougar Nikita passes away

10/30/14 04:28 PM
Grandfather Mountain is grieving the loss this week of one of its most popular and cherished habitat residents, a cougar named Nikita. (more)

Highway Patrol Concludes Operation Stop Arm Campaign

10/30/14 04:15 PM
RALEIGH - Highway Patrol ended its Operation Stop Arm campaign on Friday, Oct. 24th. The campaign which began on Monday, Oct. 20th, was focused on promoting traffic safety around North Carolina schools, school buses and school bus stops. (more)

Unemployment Rates Down Slightly

10/30/14 02:59 PM
Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in 98 of North Carolina’s counties in September, increased in one, and remained unchanged in one. The September not seasonally adjusted statewide rate was 6.1%. In Yancey County, the September numbers came in at 6.2%, a decrease of 1.0%. Mitchell County finished at 6.7%, down 1.0% as well. Avery was at 6.2% in September, dropping .08% and Madison wrapped up the month at 4.9%, a decrease of nine-tenths.

Commissioners OK Purchase of Old Forest Service Property

10/30/14 02:57 PM
Yancey Commissioners have given the go ahead for the county to purchase the old U.S. Forest Service building located on the 19 Bypass. Plans are to relocate the County Extension Service office and the Board of Elections office to the new building once the property is acquired.  County Manager Nathan Bennett said that the purchase of the nearly 6,000 square foot facility would allow the county to save taxpayers money by doing away with rent currently being paid to lease space at different locations around Burnsville. Bennett said that he expects that with the savings on rent the county should be able to pay off the $480,000 price tag on the property within a couple of years. The County was recently forced to temporally move the Board of Elections headquarters to the Burnsville Town Center after the owner of the property raised the rent and asked the County to sign a five-year lease.

Grant Helps Establish Remote Home Health Network

10/30/14 02:47 PM
The Blue Ridge Regional Hospital Foundation has received a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant of $76,738 through HRSA’s Rural Health Network Development Planning Program to establish a Connected Care Remote Home Monitoring Network.The grant will enable the foundation, together with the Center for Rural Health Innovation and the Mission Center for (more)

A Few Days Left for Early Voting

10/30/14 08:22 AM
With a Sheriff’s race in Yancey County on the line in the Election November 4th, early voting turnout has been heavy at the Yancey Board of Elections. Tuesday was the last day to turn in Absentee Ballots and a large number have been turned in for the Burnsville Precinct.  Early voting started last Thursday and concludes this Saturday. Early voting in Yancey County is at the Board of Elections office located at 6 South Main Street in the Burnsville Town Center.  Mitchell County early voting will be held at two locations, the courthouse and the old Spruce Pine Town Hall. Early voting comes to an end at 1pm on Saturday in all of those locations.  On Tuesday Election Return Coverage on the radio begins at 8pm.  Complete statewide results will be available on the web by selecting the “Vote 2014” button on our home page.

Westall Sentenced to Prison as Habitual Felon

10/28/14 04:39 PM
On October 27th, 2014, Lance Justus Westall, age 35, pled guilty to one count of Assault by Strangulation and one count of Assault Inflicting Serious Bodily Injury in Yancey County Superior Court.  In addition, Westall admitted to being a Habitual Felon. In October of 2013, deputies with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office responded to a domestic disturbance at 2023 Lower Browns Creek Rd.  After an investigation it was determined that Westall had assaulted his then girlfriend by strangling her and striking her in the face numerous times.  After the victim was transported to the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital she was found to suffer from an orbital blowout fracture to her face, subdural bleeding of the brain, and swelling around her face and neck. Noting that October is Domestic Violence awareness month, Sheriff Gary Banks stated that “this case represents a serious act of domestic violence.  My office is committed to investigating and addressing cases that involve domestic abuse.  I hope that those who would lash out in an act of violence against a domestic partner understand there are consequences for their actions.” Judge Gary M. Gavenus sentenced Westall to between 72-99 months in prison.  In addition Westall was ordered to pay $16,710.59 in restitution for the victim’s medical bills. District Attorney Seth Banks stated that “this case demonstrates my office’s commitment to aggressively prosecuting domestic violence cases and habitual felons.  Domestic violence has no place in our community and those who break the law deserve to be punished.  I appreciate the hard work of Assistant District Attorney Milton Fletcher and the efforts of the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in bringing this defendant to justice.”

Burnsville Announces Christmas Parade Date

10/28/14 01:53 PM
The Burnsville Christmas parade will be held on Saturday, December 6 beginning at 3. pm. The theme this year is “Christmas Bells are Ringing.” Stop by the Visitor Center/Chamber Office for entry forms. Entry is free before Friday Nov. 21 and after that date a $10 late fee will be charged. For information call the Chamber office at 682-7413. Details on the Bakersville and Spruce Pine Christmas parades are not yet confirmed. 

Buladean School Transferred to Community Foundation

10/28/14 10:58 AM
A special called Mitchell County Board of Education Meeting took place Monday, October 27th for final discussions pertaining to the disposition of property of the former Buladean School.  The board voted unanimously to transfer the deed to the Buladean Community Foundation.     

Town of Spruce Pine Receives Community Block Grant

10/27/14 02:15 PM
The Mitchell County Economic Development Commission and The Town of Spruce Pine have announced that the Rural Infrastructure Authority of North Carolina has awarded a Community Development Block Grant to the Town of Spruce Pine for the purpose of constructing a new sewer collection and distribution system for PRC Industries Inc.  The grant from the Rural Infrastructure Authority is in the (more)

Early Voting

10/24/14 09:08 AM
There were around 100 people standing in line in Burnsville earlyThursday morning for the One Stop voting to begin.

Robinson Chosen Yancey Principal of the Year

10/23/14 04:01 PM
At its regular monthly meeting on October 6, 2014, the Yancey County Board of Education recognized Cane River Middle School Principal Alton Robinson as the Yancey County Schools 2014 Principal of the Year. In announcing Mr. Robinson as POY, School Board Chair Mike Orr stated, “Everyone in this room knows Mr. Robinson’s work ethic, his heart, and his steadfast persistence to (more)

Toe River Home Health For Sale or Lease To Adapt To Changes

10/23/14 03:36 PM
The Toe River Health District Board of Health will hold a public meeting October 29 at 6 pm at Mayland Community College in Spruce Pine to receive comments on their intent to lease, sell or convey by other means the facilities, assets and operations of the Avery, Mitchell and Yancey County Home Health Agencies. Toe River Health District’s three health departments have been (more)

Today is the First Day to Vote

10/23/14 07:09 AM
Voters can begin casting ballots for the November 4th General Election today. In Mitchell County early voting will be held at two locations, the courthouse and the old Spruce Pine Town Hall. Hours for voting in Spruce Pine this week are from 8am until 5pm today and tomorrow. One-Stop voting will take place at the courthouse in Bakersville from 8 am to 8 pm today, 8am to 5pm tomorrow and 9am to noon on Saturday. Early voting in Yancey County is being held at the Board of Elections office located at 6 South Main Street in the Burnsville Town Center. Hours of voting this week will be from 8am to 8pm today and tomorrow and from 8am until noon on Saturday. Early voting concludes at 1 pm on Saturday, Nov. 1. 

NC NAACP President in Burnsville

10/23/14 07:07 AM
Dr Reverend William Barber II, the president of the North Carolina NAACP was speaking on the Burnsville Town Square yesterday afternoon.  Dr Barber was welcomed by the Yancey-Mitchell NAACP and spoke about recent legislation changes in North Carolina. The stop in Burnsville was part of the NC NAACP state conference March to the Polls Tour leading up to the November 4th election encouraging voters to participate in the upcoming election. 

Notice From the Yancey County Sheriffs Office and the Burnsville Police Dept

10/21/14 04:34 PM
Re: Verizon Cellular Scam
On October 20, 2014 hundreds if not thousands of people received telephone calls from number 919-555-5050.  The caller spoke in a broken English accent.  Some people received the call from a male caller while others received the call from a female caller.  The caller stated that he/she was with Verizon Cellular and that they were running a survey.  If the person they had called would answer 3 questions, then they would be credited $20.00 on their upcoming bill.

Question 1: Are you the account holder and how many cellular phones are on your account?
Question 2: How do you rate your Verizon service from 1 to 10?
Question 3: What would you recommend to better cellular service in your area?

After these questions have been answered, the caller will then say that he/she needs you to verify your last 4 numbers of your social security number.

These questions do not seem to be intrusive and a lot of people seem to be comfortable to give this information.  Beware! 

The following day, October, 21, 2014, several citizens of Yancey County have found that their cellular phone account has had primary phones disabled and other devices have been added to the person’s account.  Large monetary amounts have been charged to their Verizon account.  Overseas phone calls have been made.  It is reported that some bank accounts have had attempted access gained by unknown persons.

If you receive a call from the number, 919-555-5050 it is strongly advised that you do not answer this call.  If you have spoken with a person from this number and are having any problems with your cellular phone, please contact Verizon at 828-678-3530.

Two Arrested on Sex Offender Charges

10/21/14 12:54 PM
The Yancey County Sheriffs Office Sex Offender Unit arrested John Powell, age 44, of 66 Whistling Gap Rd in Burnsville on Monday night Oct 20th and charged him with being a Sex Offender on Child Premises, which is a felony. Mr. Powell, a registered sex offender, was reported by a concerned citizen to be on the property of Cane River Middle School. When officers from the Sex Offender (more)

Early Voting Begins Thursday in Mitchell and Yancey

10/21/14 05:54 AM
Voters can begin casting ballots in the General Election 2014 at 8 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 23.  Early voting concludes at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1. (more)

Yancey Co. Hosts Western Regional Clerks Academy

10/17/14 04:22 PM
Yancey County Government and the Burnsville Town Center hosted the Western Regional of the North Carolina County Clerk’s Association on September 26, 2014.  Clerks to the Board of Commissioners from across Western North Carolina came to Yancey County to learn more about county government and to exchange ideas.  This is the second time in five years that Yancey County has been the (more)

South Toe Flooding/Tornado in McDowell

10/17/14 10:27 AM
The Tuesday, October 14th rainstorm brought both flooding and a small tornado in the area. The South Toe area of Yancey County had some flooding from the heavy rain according to Yancey County Emergency Management. Damage was reported at the Toe River Campground where the road was washed out significantly and several picnic tables were carried away but none of the campers were damaged. Emergency personnel also took part in a rescue from flood waters that threatened to sweep a vehicle   down river. The cab of the vehicle, which had driven into a high water area, was being flooded when emergency personnel arrived on scene. The people inside the vehicle were able to get out and emergency personnel pushed the truck out of harm’s way before it was carried downstream. The area received upwards of five inches of rain from the storm. McDowell County confirmed that a tornado touched down in the Montford Cove community around 8:50 pm. It traveled about four tenths of a mile and was on the ground about 30 seconds. No one was injured but several structures were damaged.

BBB Warns About Ebola Scams and Schemes

10/17/14 10:19 AM
Arlington, VA – Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about a variety of Ebola-related scams and problematic fundraisers that have emerged recently. (more)

Operation Stop Arm

10/16/14 04:04 PM
In support of Operation Stop Arm the State Highway Patrol will be aggressively enforcing stop arm violations and other traffic violations in and around school zones. The operation will be conducted from 6:00 a.m. on Monday, October 20th through Friday, October 24th. The Patrol expects Operation Stop Arm will decrease violations and reduce school bus incidents involving children.  

Intruder Shot by Homeowner in Buladean

10/16/14 07:22 AM
A Mitchell County man was shot last Saturday while trying to break into a man’s house in Buladean. 27-year-old Joshua Hicks received a gunshot wound to his leg while attempting to forcibly enter the home of Adrian Putman at 172 Arrowood Lane. Putman warned Hicks several times to leave his property and even fired a couple of warning shots after Hicks forced a door open on a screen porch and entered his house. After fleeing the home he was located by Mitchell County authorities seeking treatment for his wound at a hospital in Elizabethton Tenn. Hicks was later transferred to the Johnson City Medical Center and Johnson City police are monitoring him. Hicks will be taken into custody upon his release and held for extradition to North Carolina where he faces felony first degree burglary charges.

Mitchell County Cost Rise with New Rules on Housing Prisoners

10/16/14 07:21 AM
A move by the NC legislature will force Mitchell County to foot more of the bill to house its prison population. Currently counties in the state have been required to pay and house their misdemeanor offenders for the first 90 days after they are sentenced and this year’s budget will require counties to house DWI defenders for the first 90 days of their sentence as well, placing a burden on the county budget. Without a jail of its own, Mitchell County now pays to transport and house prisoners in other counties’ facilities and with an average of four DWI convictions a month the cost is set to rise. The price of jailing inmates has risen from around $231,000 in 2009-10 to over $707,000 this past year. With the cost of caring for inmates soaring near the $1 million dollar mark, county officials may take a look at building a jail of their own in the future. Some Commissioners believe that an in-county jail would reduce the counties’ liability to transport prisoners and would free up more money for the sheriff’s department.    

Untreated Wastewater Reaches North Toe River

10/16/14 07:20 AM
A discharge of untreated wastewater from a sewer main near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Spring Street occurred last week according to a report filed by the Town of Spruce Pine. Approximately 5000 gallons of untreated wastewater entered the North Toe River on October 9th according to the notice. The cause of the incident was traced back to a power failure at the Beaver Creek pump station. The spill was reported to the NC Division of Water Quality which requires notification in the event of a wastewater spill of 1000 gallon or more. 

No Major Storm Damage

10/15/14 07:11 AM
Western North Carolina dodged the major damage yesterday from the storm system that has been marching across the country all week.  There was tornado damage in Georgia and other Southern States and Tornado warnings were posted for many of the counties in WNC.  Minor flooding and power outages were also reported over night.  In Mitchell County the Little Switzerland rain gauge recorded 6.58 inches in rain in 24 hours. In Yancey County the Blue Rock area recorded 4.44 inches in 24 hours.  As a precaution, Yancey, Mitchell and McDowell County Schools are operating on a 2hr Delay this morning. 

Pedestrian Struck on Hwy. 19 Outside of Burnsville

10/14/14 11:27 AM
A Yancey County woman was struck and injured by a vehicle on October 8th near Blossman Gas in Jacks Creek.  According to NC Highway Patrol reports,  a 2001 Toyota driven by John Littleton of McKinney Cove Road Bakersville was traveling west on Hwy 19 and was entering the turn lane when it struck Thelma Williams of Comet Road in Burnsville. Williams was walking across the road and crossed in front of the vehicle in the turn lane when she was struck.  She came to rest in the roadway according to the report. Williams was taken to Mission Hospital by Yancey County EMS where she is being treated for several serious injuries. Littleton and two passengers in his vehicle were not hurt.  The incident happened at around 6 p.m. Wednesday night.

McDowell Teen Dies in Wreck

10/13/14 07:04 AM
The community in McDowell County is showing overwhelming support for a family who lost a loved one over the weekend. North Carolina troopers say a Nebo teenager wrecked his car on his way to take the SAT test. 17 year old Eleck Hensley died when his car left the roadway on Old Greenlee Road after a sharp turn, went down an embankment and hit a tree.  Eleck was among the top in his class at McDowell High. He was also a star tennis player and a devout member of the Grace Community Church. Friends say he carried kindness and leadership in all aspects of his life.

Presnell/Hicks Debate at Mars Hill University 10/13

10/10/14 02:02 PM
The Mars Hill University Political Science Program will host a debate between Michele Presnell and Dean Hicks on Monday, October 13th at 7:00 in Moore Auditorium. Presnell, the Republican incumbent, and Hicks, the Democratic challenger, are candidates for the 118th district seat in the N.C. House of Representatives, representing Madison, Haywood and Yancey counties. Questions for the candidates have been submitted by Mars Hill University faculty, staff and students. Education funding, fracking, and voting laws will factor heavily in the questions to the candidates.

Notice of Discharge of Untreated Sewage

10/10/14 01:23 PM
The Town of Spruce Pine had a discharge of untreated sewage from our sewer main located near the intersection of Riverside Drive and Spring Street of approximately 5,000 gallons.  The discharge occurred on October 09, 2014 at 6:30 PM and lasted for approximately 1.0 hours.  The untreated wastewater entered the North Toe River of the French Broad River basin.  This notice was required by North Carolina General Statutes Article 21 Chapter 143.215.C.  For more information contact Richard Canipe, Town Manager at (828)765-3000.

Yancey Schools Receive Recognition for High Graduation Rate

10/10/14 01:19 PM
On October 3rd State Superintendent Dr. June Atkinson presented Yancey County Schools with a Top Ten in the State Award for the high school graduation rate at a banquet in Raleigh.  It marks the first time in Yancey County Schools’ history that the graduation rate has been recognized for such an accomplishment.  The 2014 graduation rate at Mountain Heritage High School was at (more)

NCFA Presents Presnell Friend of Forestry Award

10/09/14 09:20 AM
The North Carolina Forestry Association (NCFA) recognized North Carolina State Representative Michele Presnell (R-Yancey) with its 2014 Friend of Forestry Award last Thursday at the association’s annual meeting at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. “Representative Michele Presnell is a tireless advocate for jobs in North Carolina and, specifically, forestry related jobs in (more)

US Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Same Day Registration

10/09/14 07:40 AM
RALEIGH – Same-day registration won’t be allowed during early voting in North Carolina and Election Day ballots cast in the wrong precinct won’t be counted this fall after the U.S. Supreme Courton Wednesday blocked a ruling that had set aside parts of a 2013 election law. (more)

TRACTOR Produce Aggregation Facility Receives Grant

10/09/14 05:39 AM
The NC Tobacco Trust Commission has awarded the TRACTOR produce aggregation facility overseen by Yancey County a $71,860 grant to enhance the distribution facility and provide support personnel and some additional cold storage equipment for the operation which hopes to soon reach the $1 million mark in sales. The grant will help to enhance the revenue of the framers of Yancey and surrounding counties and along with a recently purchased $15,000 bagger machine will make the job of getting the produce to market easier.  The NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has now awarded just over $2.3 million for 22 new grants for agricultural and economic initiatives across the state.

SBI Releases 2013 Uniform Crime Report

10/09/14 05:37 AM
RALEIGH – The State Bureau of Investigation’s 2013 Uniform Crime Report indicates that overall crime in North Carolina has decreased by 7 percent from the previous year, continuing a six-year downward trend.  (more)

Hunters and Hikers Attend Road Access Discussion

10/08/14 01:24 PM
Around 50 people, mostly bear hunters, attended a special meeting Monday evening at the Yancey County Courthouse about opening the gates through Locust Creek to Forest Service lands to hunters and hikers.  U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows and U. S. Forest Service officials discussed options that they are looking at to resolve the matter. Meadows said that the issue comes down to private property rights and that he is working with Forrest Service officials to hopefully find a different access point to the road that is not on private land. The possibility of finding a piece of land that a property owner would be willing to sell to the government is also an option that is being looked at and Meadows is in the process of appropriating funds from the federal government to make that happen.

Asheville Airport Main Entrance Change

10/08/14 01:22 PM
Asheville Regional Airport's main entrance was to close Wednesday, October 8; however, because of rainy weather, construction delays have occurred.  The main entrance will now close Monday, October 13.   All traffic will access the airport through the south entrance at the light near Fanning Bridge Road, and this traffic pattern will be in place through early 2015 when a new main entrance will open. Signs will be posted to direct traffic.The closure of the main entrance is due to the North Carolina Department of Transportation project on Airport Road. The airport's main entrance will be relocated slightly south of its current location (at the light directly across from J&S Cafeteria and the Fairfield Inn), and is slated to open in early 2015.

Yancey Sheriff's Department Arrests Six

10/08/14 11:11 AM
The Yancey County Sheriff’s Department recently arrested six from Yancey and Madison counties on various breaking and entering and larceny charges. Travis Lee Bowens, 17 of 15 Hill Rice Road Mars Hill, was arrested and charged with 3 counts of Felony Breaking and Entering, 2 courts of Larceny after Breaking and Entering, 2 counts of Possession of Stolen Goods/Property and 2 courts (more)

Mitchell First Responders Practice

10/08/14 05:51 AM
When you need immediate medical help, a fire breaks out or you need police protection, you call 911 and first responders are sent to help. But what happens when the emergency responders have their own emergency? This week, Mitchell County will find out. (Details)

Yancey Schools Receive $600,000 Grant

10/06/14 09:50 AM
Yancey County Schools received word last week that it will receive approximately $600,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to support on-going efforts to improve student achievement, address dropout prevention, and improve college access. (more)

Mitchell Candidates Forum

10/03/14 02:54 PM
The 2014 Mitchell County Chamber Candidates' Forum will be held on October 7th at 6:00 PM in the Historic Courthouse in Bakersville.  Candidates from the NC Senate, NC House, Mitchell County Board of Education, and Mitchell County School Board will be in attendance.  Candidates running unopposed have been invited to make a presentation to those in attendance. If you have questions for the candidates that you would like to submit to the Government Affairs Committee for consideration email them to . WTOE will be recording the forum and airing on Wednesday at 1 pm.

Eighty-five Percent of YCS Third Graders Meet Reading Proficiency Standards

10/03/14 01:27 PM
Eighty-five percent (84.7 percent or 155 students) of Yancey County Schools third grade students met the reading proficiency standards under North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program according to the Improve K-3 Literacy Accountability Measures Comprehensive Plan for Reading Achievement report.  In comparison, seventy-nine percent (79.2 percent or 91,919 students) of North Carolina (more)

Authorities Ask for Help in Finding Missing Persons

10/03/14 11:07 AM
Spruce Pine Police are asking the public for help in locating a Hispanic woman and her two children who are missing from the Fairground Apartments. On September 30th Imelda Gerrero Herrera was reported missing by her live in boyfriend Hugo Navaez-Juniez. Imelda was last seen on September 27th in Spruce Pine.  Also missing are the couple’s two children, three –year-old David Gerrero and four-year-old George Gerrero-Naverez.
Authorities have located the vehicle Imelda was driving in Marion. While conducting the
 investigation police believe that the three may be in the Camden, SC area. If you have any information or seen these people please call your local law enforcement or the Spruce
 Pine Police Department at 828-765-2233 or our dispatch center at 828-688-9110. 

Register Now To Vote in Election

10/03/14 09:42 AM
Registration books close for the 2014 General Election on October 10th at 5:00 pm. If you are not registered or need to change a name or address you will need to do so by October 10th at 5:00pm. One stop for the 2014 General Election will begin on October 23rd and run through November 1st at 1:00 pm. The last day to request an absentee ballot by mail will be October 28th 5:00 pm.

Watch Out for Scams Perpetrated in Mitchell County

10/03/14 09:41 AM
Mitchell County authorities are warning the public of a number of scams being perpetrated in the area using both the phone and the US mail. Police have received several calls over the past few weeks about two separate scams. One scam involves calls from a group representing Duke Energy demanding that the individuals pay their power bill within 24 hours or their power will be shut off, while another involves letters being sent out to residents saying that they have been selected as a mystery shopper. The mailer ask the recipient to keep a portion of a Western Union check which is included in the letter and send the remainder to an address on the form. Authorities caution residents to use common sense and to never send money to someone before investigating the claims that are being made via the communication. If you have any questions or suspect you are being scammed you are encouraged to contact the Spruce Pine Police Department at 765-2233.  

Paying Underway on Spruce Pine Streets

10/03/14 09:39 AM
Several paving projects are underway on Spruce Pine’s main roads where state crews are milling and patching potholes along the roadways as well as installing around twenty handicap ramps along the streets and crosswalks. Crews will be repaving Highland Avenue, Summit Avenue, Oak Avenue, Ward Street and portions of Hwy. 19E. The deadline for all work to be completed is October 15th according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Save Native Brook Trout

10/03/14 05:15 AM
The NC Department of Transportation is teaming up with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to help save the Brook Trout, the only trout native to North Carolina. Motorists can help support the conservation effort by purchasing a new conservation license plate depicting the cold water trout. The Wildlife Commission will use the money from sales of the plate to fund habitat protection for the Brook Trout and to create public access to Brook Trout waters in the state. It is estimated that some 92,000 mountain trout anglers pump around $174 million into local economies across the mountains. The Commission must receive a minimum of 500 paid applications before July 1, 2015 for the plate to be produced. You can view a prototype of the license plate and place your order by visiting

Yancey Library Asks for Books for Share the Reads Program

10/03/14 05:14 AM
Funding cuts to libraries across the state have forced local and regional libraries to look for other ways of keeping books and other materials on the shelves for their patrons to enjoy. A 25 percent cut in funding has meant a decrease in books checked out in the Avery-Mitchell-Yancey Regional Library and the same trend is spreading statewide. In order to obtain the books that people want to read the Yancey County Library Board has implemented a program called “Share the Reads” which asks local residents to share books with others that they have purchased, read and enjoyed. The library is looking for newer books with copyrights from 2012 to present. The library is also asking for donations of recent and classic movies for both children and adults in DVD and Blue Ray formats. Donations of multiple copies of books and movies are also welcomed. For more information call 682-4476.

Modest Increase in Unemployment Rates in Our Area

10/03/14 05:12 AM
According to data recently released by the NC Division of Employment Security unemployment rates dropped in 12 counties, stayed the same in 14 and increased in 74. (more)

Drunk Driver Hits Marion School Bus

10/01/14 03:32 PM
The NC Highway Patrol is reporting that car collided with a School Bus in Marion Wednesday morning.  Trooper Kelly Rhodes investigated the accident that occurred around 7:30am on Sugarhill Road when a 1998 Buick driven by 40 year old Randall K. Webb of Nebo crossed the center line and struck a School bus from West Marion Elementary School head on.  28 Students were on the bus at the time of the accident.  Mr Webb and 8 children on the bus were transported to McDowell Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Mr. Webb was charged with DWI and driving left of center. 

Yancey Sheriff's Department Charges Four With Drugs

10/01/14 02:42 PM
(Press Release from Yancey Sheriff’s Department)
The Yancey County Sheriff’s Department has announced the following arrests at the end of September. Randy Dale Chandler Jr., 24 of 224 Swiss Loop Burnsville, NC was arrested and charged with Felony Sell and Deliver Schedule II Controlled Substance, Felony Possession with Intent to Manufacture, Sell and Deliver Schedule II Controlled (more)

Yancey Man Charged With Child Sex Offenses

09/30/14 09:40 PM
Yancey County Sheriff’s Office investigators have charged Darrell Ray McMahan age 58, of Micaville with two counts of taking indecent liberties with child victim #1. He was also charged with first-degree sex offense with a child and disseminating obscene material to a minor listed as child victim #2. Both child victim #1 and child victim #2 were under the age of 16 at the time of the alleged offenses according to warrants. McMahan is in the Yancey County jail under a $100,000 bond.

Pot Bust in Madison County

09/30/14 05:24 AM
Madison County Deputies have arrested a Mars Hill Couple for growing Marijuana. Around 400 marijuana plants and a gun were seized during a pot bust Monday at a home located at 526 Bailey Street in Mars Hill. Sheriff Buddy Harwood says Julie Kelly and James Childs were arrested. Kelly and Childs are facing a number of charges including trafficking marijuana and felony possession with the intent to sell. They  are also charged with manufacturing a controlled substance within a 1000 feet of an elementary school because the home is located near Mars Hill Elementary School. The school was placed on temporary lock down while search warrants were executed.

Asheville Regional Airport's Main Entrance Change

09/29/14 10:31 AM
Asheville Regional Airport's main entrance will close Wednesday, October 8. All traffic will then access the airport through the south entrance at the light near Fanning Bridge Road, and this traffic pattern will be in place through early 2015 when a new main entrance will open. Signs will be posted to direct traffic. The closure of the main entrance is due to the North Carolina Department of Transportation project on Airport Road. The airport's main entrance will be relocated slightly south of its current location (at the light directly across from J&S Cafeteria and the Fairfield Inn), and is slated to open by January 2015.

USA Today Names Spruce Pine to Top 10 List of Best Towns

09/29/14 07:02 AM
Spruce Pine has been recognized by USA Today as one of the Top 10 Can’t Miss Towns along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The article rightly says that traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway should be more about the journey than the destination. (more)

Enrollment at Mitchell County Schools Contributes to Budget Shortfall

09/26/14 07:29 AM
The Mitchell County School system has been seeing a drop in enrollment for quite some time now and recent Average Daily Membership numbers show only 1976 students on the rolls in the entire school system.(more)

Mitchell School Board votes to Sell Buladean Property

09/25/14 06:02 AM
The Mitchell County Board of Education has accepted an offer of $1000 from the Buladean Community Foundation to purchase the old Buladean School property.  Some say that the $1000 asking price seems low but the Foundation officials explained that they have already spent $37,000 in repairs on the property in the past two years and estimate spending another $40,000 to replace the roof on the structure. As part of the agreement the Foundation will allow the school system to park school busses and maintenance vehicles at the facility during the school year and to use the property for public purposes only. The property will now be advertised for ten days to allow for an upset bid but the School Board has the power to reject any possible upset bid. 

Yancey Building Inspectors Office Moves to New Location

09/25/14 06:01 AM
Yancey County Building Inspections office has been relocated from West Main Street to the Yancey County Health Department facility located on 202 Medical Campus Drive off Hwy 19 across from Mountain Heritage High School. The move combines the county building code officials in the same building with the environmental health section of the health department giving citizens a one-stop location to obtain building permits as well as septic and well permits. The county building inspector’s office hours are from 7 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday.  

Moral Monday Rally in Burnsville

09/23/14 09:26 AM
The Yancey-Mitchell NAACP hosted a Moral Monday rally in Burnsville’s Town Square on Monday where nearly 100 people turned out to hear The Forward Together/Moral Monday movement speakers who helped launch a Moral March to the Polls Campaign with Get-Out-The-(more)

Four Arrested From McDowell County

09/22/14 05:15 PM
(Press Release from Yancey County Sheriff's Department)
According to Sheriff Gary Banks, Officers with the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office have arrested four individuals from McDowell County on multiple charges.  These charges stem from officers investigating a call of a suspicious vehicle and suspicious persons around a residence located at 409 Lickskillet Road, Burnsville, (more)

NCDOT Accepting Proposals

09/22/14 02:37 PM
RALEIGH — N.C. Department of Transportation is accepting proposals from communities for the 2015 Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative. (Details)

State Unemployment Rate Ticks Up Slightly

09/22/14 05:37 AM
The state’s seasonally adjusted August unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, increasing 0.3 of a percentage point from July’s revised rate of 6.5 percent. The national rate decreased 0.1 of a percentage point to 6.1 percent. (more)

Yancey Animal Shelter will open Thursday

09/22/14 05:34 AM
The floor renovation project is running 2 to 3 days behind schedule. This has been a very difficult environment being there are so many corners and kennels to work through. Much of the floor grinding has had to be competed by hand which has taken tremendous time and effort. We realize this has been difficult for folks who have found stay animals and indeed tough on the animals needing sheltering. However we are just simply not in a position to reopen Monday as we had planned. The decision to keep the shelter closed until noon on Thursday, September 25, 2014  has been made. This will allow ample time for the epoxy to cure and for our cages to be rebuilt and reassembled without rushing and possibly damaging the new flooring surface. We have made a sizable investment in our floors. We must now make prudent decisions on using it.  (Tim Tipton, Yancey Humane Society)

Yancey Man Dies From Burns

09/19/14 10:57 PM
(courtsey WLOS News)
A Yancey County man was badly burned when the model airplane he was working on caught fire. It happened inside his camper located on Highway 19 next to Price's Creek Store.  Authorities say Jackie Robinson, 50, suffered burns to 90 percent of his body.  A man driving by the store says he saw smoke coming from Robinson's camper and stopped to help.  He says he had to use a shovel to pry open the front door. Robinson was airlifted to Mission Hospital and then flown to the Burn Unit in Winston Salem.The hospital confirmed at 10:30pm Friday night that Robinson has died from his injuries.

Portion of I-40 in Burke County Closed After Fatal Crash

09/19/14 10:26 AM
The left lane of I-40 westbound is closed at Exit 105 near Morganton while law enforcement investigates a fatal crash that killed a construction worker and injured two others. (more)

Yancey & Mitchell One Stop Voting

09/19/14 07:01 AM
One Stop voting and other information of interest to voters in the November 4 general election. Hours for One Stop voting are: October 23-24 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, October 25 8:00 am till noon, October 27-30 from 7:30 am till 8:00 pm, October 31 from 7: am till 4 pm and on November 1 from 7:00 am till 1:00 pm. (more)