Police Release Photo of Suspect

03/24/17 12:38 PM
Washington, D.C. police have released this photo of a person of interest in the case of the Burnsville woman found dead in Washington. (see separate news story). The photo is surveillance footage of a man walking into a convenience store in Beltsville, MD. (click on headline to enlarge photo)

Burnsville Woman Found Dead in Washington, DC

03/23/17 09:31 AM
A Burnsville woman was found bound and stabbed to death at her Washington, D.C. apartment Tuesday afternoon, March 21st. Thirty-four year old Corrina Mehiel was a former Art Academy of Cincinnati instructor. She was living in Washington temporarily while working as a project assistant for internationally known conceptual artist Mel Chin who was a visiting professor at George Washington University's Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Corrina was helping Chin on an installation at the school's gallery. Chin has a studio on U.S. 19 in Burnsville, where Mehiel worked. Police are searching for a suspect and have issued a lookout for a 2004 blue Toyota Prius with a Kentucky tag of 722 RMY. The vehicle has a yellow bumper sticker under the license plate. A reward of up to $25,000 has been offered to anyone who provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible.   Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Washington, D.C. police at 202-727-9099. For more

Area Counties Rank High on Value

03/22/17 01:51 PM
Avery, Madison,  Mitchell  and Yancey counties are ranked among the North Carolina counties getting the most ‘Bang for their Buck’ on property taxes. SmartAsset, a financial technology company, recently released its third annual study on property taxes.  In addition to property taxes, the study analyzed the quality of local schools and the local crime rates to find where people were seeing the most value. Out of the 100 counties all four area counties ranked in the top ten with Mitchell  second, Yancey fifth, Avery seventh and Madison ninth. The full study results, methodology, and interactive map can be found here.

Williford Convicted of Murder and Arson

03/22/17 10:10 AM
On March 21st Benjamin Williford was sentenced on one count of Second Degree Murder, one count of First Degree Arson, three counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury, and three drug related felonies. In the early morning hours of August 12, 2016, fire fighters, Sheriff’s Deputies, and other first responders arrived at the Valle Landing complex in Valle Crucis to (more)

Good Economic News for Area

03/21/17 03:14 PM
Our area received good economic news on Tuesday with Baxter Health Care in Marion planning on adding 90 new jobs. Governor Roy Cooper was at the plant in Marion on Tuesday morning, March 21st to make the announcement. Another 28 jobs will be added at Taylor Stave in Nebo.  New jobs at Baxter's include production techs, supervisors, engineers and machine operators. Baxter Healthcare is a medical supplies company with the majority of production being iv bags. Taylor Stave is a small business that makes components for wooden barrels used in whiskey and wine production. 

Wings Air Rescue Approved for NC Flight

03/20/17 03:13 PM
Wings Air Rescue has been approved to transport North Carolina patients to North Carolina facilities.  Wings is a medical helicopter service provider that is based in Elizabethton, TN. Now that they are a licensed air medical provider for the state of North Carolina it will be a help for people living in or traveling through the NC/TN border counties, such as Yancey, Mitchell and Avery counties. This will allow Wings to pick up and transport patients to the closest facility, regardless of which state the closest facility is in. Previously by law they had to take them to a TN facility.  Wings Air Rescue is a privately owned company in operation for 22 years as a part of Med-Trans Corporation. Wings has three other bases located in Greeneville, Tenn., Jenkins, Ky. and Marion, Va.

Yancey Sheriff Warns of Telephone Scams

03/20/17 09:47 AM
The Yancey County Sheriff’s Office has received several reports of telephone scams in the recent weeks and would like to warn the citizens of Yancey County and the surrounding area to be cautious when they receive a call from someone they do not know.  Never give personal information to individuals that call representing themselves as someone solving a problem that you didn’t (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 3/12 -3/19/17 (Details)

03/20/17 09:35 AM

Byrd Sentenced to Life in Double Murder

03/18/17 01:59 PM
On March 17, 2017 Cecil Scott Byrd was sentenced on two counts of First Degree Murder.  In October of 2015, Mitchell County Deputies responded to a missing persons report at the residence of Mr. Byrd on Bad Creek in Northern Mitchell County. (more)

Local Woman Honored as Main Street Champion

03/17/17 01:54 PM
Beverly Byerly has been honored as a Main Street Champion in Spruce Pine. Main Street Champions are individuals who work and advocate for downtown revitalization.    Thirty-six individuals across the state received honors for their contributions in 2016 at a breakfast awards ceremony in Shelby. (more)

Graham Childrens Celebrates 20 Years with New Name, Website

03/16/17 04:08 PM
For 20 years, Graham Children’s Health Services (GCHS) has served Mitchell and Yancey county residents with programs and services designed to improve the health of our community. Since 1997, these initiatives and collaborations have included: Toe River Dental (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 3/8 - 3/16/17 (Details)

03/16/17 03:41 PM

Cane River To Forfeit Championship Title

03/16/17 01:23 PM
The Toe River Conference has notified Cane River Middle School that they have to forfeit  their Middle School Football championship title due to ineligibility of a player.  The ineligible student was over age 15 during the 2016 season. Cane River Principal Miranda Elkins says it was an oversight in their office when they did not double check for eligibility.  The special needs student  went in for only one play at the end of the regular season, not during the championship game. Cane River brought the error to the attention of the Toe River Conference. The Cane River Rebels had an undefeated season and won the Tri-County Bowl 30 to 6.  

Blue Ridge Parkway Breaks Records

03/16/17 10:17 AM
The National Park Service celebrated its centennial anniversary last year and new numbers show that more people visited America's national park sites in 2016 than ever before. The park service's sites around the country hosted a record-breaking 330.9 million visits, according to NPS data released last month. The Blue Ridge Parkway took the #2 spot and Great Smoky Mountains National Park placed #3 in the National Park Service's list of the 10 most visited sites in the park system, which includes the national parks as well as historic sites, lakeshores, seashores and more. #1 was the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. View the complete annual rankings here.

Missing Spruce Pine Man Found Dead

03/16/17 06:59 AM
21 year old Chris Heath’s blue-silver Toyota Camry was found off Conley Ridge Road down an embankment on the curvy rural road on March 13. On March 8, his family filed a missing person’s report with the Mitchell County Sheriff’s department. The body was found Wednesday, March 15. (more)

New County Manager in Avery

03/15/17 10:33 AM
Avery County will be getting a new County Manager. After 13 years of service to Avery County, County Manager Tim Greene has resigned effective the end of April. Greene will take a position as Vice President of Administrative Services at Mayland Community College on May 1.  As VP of Administrative Services, Greene will serve as Mayland's Chief Financial Officer, overseeing financial aid, the college's maintenance and IT departments, and contracts for custodial and security services. Greene is replacing Gerald Hyde in that position. Greene’s resignation comes during Avery County’s budget  season but Greene has indicated he will have the budget prepared before he leaves

Convicted Sex Offender Charged Again

03/13/17 03:44 PM
Detective Jason Grindstaff of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office has charged Christopher Scott McEntire, age 44, of 84 Camp Creek Road in Old Fort, with six counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.  It is alleged that McEntire had inappropriate sexual contact with a 12-year-old male acquaintance on multiple occasions earlier this year. McEntire is already a registered sex offender, having been convicted of five counts of second-degree sex offense in McDowell County in January 2004. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was released and registered as a sex offender in May 2010. The Sheriff’s Office received the case on a referral from the McDowell County Department of Social Services. 


New Judge for 24th District

03/13/17 01:32 PM
A new district court judge has been appointed for the 24th District which includes Avery, Madison, Mitchell, Watauga and Yancey counties.  Larry Leake was sworn in at the Madison County Courthouse on March 2nd. Judge Leake has been appointed by Governor Cooper to complete the unexpired term of Warren Hughes, who retired on January 1st. Leake has worked as an attorney for more than 40 years. He has represented various government entities in Western North Carolina, including the County of Madison and the Towns of Mars Hill, Marshall, and Hot Springs. He is licensed in all of North Carolina’s Federal Courts, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Leake joins Judges Ted McIntyre, Hal Harrison and Becca Eggers-Gryder in the 24th judicial district.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 3/5 - 3/12/17

03/13/17 09:59 AM

Yancey County Board of Education March Meeting

03/10/17 02:52 PM
At the regular meeting of the Yancey County Board of Education on Monday, March 6, Superintendent Dr. Tony Tipton asked the Board of Education to allow Bald Creek Elementary School, Bee Log Elementary School, and Clearmont Elementary School to each (more)

Yancey Eligible for Disaster Funds

03/09/17 03:09 PM
As of February 23rd Yancey County is one of the counties that is eligible for disaster assistance. There are nine designated counties in North Carolina that are eligible due to losses and damages caused by recent drought.  Yancey is not one of those nine but it has land contingent with Buncombe County, which is one of the nine, so it also qualifies for assistance.  This means that farmers who are eligible have eight months to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses.  Interested farmers can contact the Mitchell-Yancey Farm Service Agency office on Hwy 226 South in Spruce Pine or call  682-0774.

Video-Conferencing for Mitchell Sheriff Department

03/08/17 02:35 PM
The Mitchell Sheriff's Department is looking at an innovative new way to save time and money.  County Commissioners approved the funding for a video-conferencing system at the Mitchell County Courthouse in Bakersville that will reduce the number of trips the sheriff's department has to make to McDowell County.  Since the Mitchell jail fire in 2002,  the county has had a contract with McDowell County to house prisoners.  Currently Mitchell deputies must go get the inmates from  McDowell County for their first appearance and then return them to McDowell.  With this new system the inmates can make their appearances by video through the internet instead of being transported to the courthouse.  A one-time cost of $19,738 should pay for itself and even save the county money in the long run. According to Sheriff Street, sometimes deputies make three trips a day to Marion. This adds up in manpower costs plus wear and tear on vehicles. 

Area Community Foundation Grants

03/08/17 02:11 PM
Toe River Aggregation Center Training Organization, know as TRACTOR, has been approved by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina to receive $49,600. The funds will be used to add a fulltime sales and a part-time bookkeeper. Adding these positions will expand operational capacity to increase sales channels and actual sales. The salesperson will continue sales to the current 44 TRACTOR markets and oversee a new pilot project with the local hospital. Madison County was awarded $50,000 over five years from the Community Foundation to create an art sculpture park along the greenway in Mars Hill. The Manufacturing Art Park would be an outdoor gallery designed to enliven the rural landscape, create a dynamic visual experience for residents and visitors and connect a manufacturing history to an economic future. 

Yancey Sheriff Report 3/2 - 3/8/17 (Details)

03/08/17 12:50 PM

Mission Health Further Restricts Visits

03/07/17 02:42 PM
Mission Health is further restricting visitors to its hospitals because of an increase in influenza-like illness throughout North Carolina. According to a press release issued, only partners and immediate family members over the age of 12 will be permitted in patient care areas. This precaution is in place at Mission Hospital and all Mission Health member hospitals and affiliates in western (more)

Peterson Named Highway Patrolman of the Year

03/07/17 01:59 PM
Trooper Brandon Peterson has been named Highway Patrolman of the Year by the North Carolina Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. District Attorney Seth Banks said in a statement, "Trooper Peterson exhibits the highest virtues of professionalism to which someone in law enforcement or public service can aspire. This is a well deserved honor, and a testament to his hard work and dedication. We in the District Attorney's Office are thankful to have Trooper Peterson and so many other dedicated officers working to keep the roads in the 24th Prosecutorial District safe."

Parkway Rock Slide

03/07/17 06:52 AM
National Park Service officials report that a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway remains closed after a rock slide. The Parkway is closed from mile post 355, near the entrance to Mount Mitchell, through mile post 368 at Craggy Gardens Visitor Center for several weeks. (more)

Gas Truck Overturns Causing Evacuation

03/03/17 02:08 PM
A Bumgarner Oil truck carrying 8500 gallons of gas overturned Friday morning in McDowell County.  The truck, driven by fifty-eight-year-old Harold Crump Sr. turned onto its side in a curve at 7:36 a.m. around the 1600 block of Harmony Grove Road.  The gas leak was described as a "slow drizzle", but fumes and flammability caused evacuation of the residents in 42 homes in the area. Power was cutoff because of high winds that could cause power lines to be knocked down and for emergency worker safety. A second tanker from Bumgarner Oil in Hickory was brought in to help with transporting the gas. No gas got into any waterways and cleanup was turned over to a regional hazmat crew. The driver of the overturned gas tanker was charged with exceeding a safe speed.

Free Seeds at the Yancey County Public Library

03/03/17 01:45 PM
The Yancey County Public Library now has a Seed Library available for free to the public. All you need is a AMY Regional Library card, which by the way,  is also free.  Seed Savers Exchange has donated organic, heirloom varieties of a wide variety of seeds including beets, broccoli and Brussel sprouts. Cabbage, cauliflower and carrots. Peas, pumpkins and prairie flowers. Asian greens, lettuce and spinach. Melons, pumpkins and squash. A large selection of tomatoes and peppers.  Choose the seeds you would like and take them to the check-out desk. They will track what seeds you are taking. If you choose seed packets with a green dot they ask that you save seeds from those plants to give back to the seed library. You will find a wide variety of seeds  and they are FREE at the Yancey County Public Library Seed Library.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 2/19 - 2/26/17 (Details)

03/03/17 10:08 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 2/23 - 3/2/17 (Details)

03/02/17 03:26 PM

Lawsuit Filed Against Sugar Mountain Resort

03/02/17 03:24 PM
A lawsuit has been filed against Sugar Mountain Resort in Avery County claiming a16 year old  boy from Tennessee was left  stranded on a chairlift on February 14th of 2016   and had to jump down more than 30 feet. Cold temperatures and a wind chill made the boy fear for his life. He was there for what is believed to be two hours until he decided he should jump off. He hung off (more)

Shots Fired During a Bank Robbery in Marshall

03/02/17 07:16 AM
Multiple shots were fired during an armed robbery at First Citizens Bank in Marshall on Wednesday. The robbery occurred at about 4 p.m., as a suspect carrying trash bags and wearing a camouflage hoodie entered the bank. (more)

Georgia Man Sentenced for Killing Spruce Pine Man

03/01/17 02:13 PM
Kevin Palmer, age 25 of Savannah, Georgia has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole  plus 25 years for additional charges for the 2014 shooting death of William Whitsett, age 21 of Spruce Pine. Whitsett was shot 5 times and his body dumped behind a Savannah apartment complex where Whitsett lived with his girlfriend, Genevieve Meeks. Meeks plead guilty to drug charges in the case and testified against Palmer.  According to WSAV.com, prosecutors called dozens of witnesses and presented a week’s worth of evidence during the trial. They said Palmer envisioned himself as a drug kingpin. They say he killed Whitsett, a known drug dealer, in order to take over his business. Palmer was found guilty on seven counts, including felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, concealing the death of another and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. A third defendant, Bradley Bates, also faces multiple charges related to the murder.

New Mental Health Screening Kiosk at Yancey Library

03/01/17 01:49 PM
You can now get a confidential screening for anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorders thru a new kiosk at the Yancey County Public Library.  Vaya Health has recently placed a touch screen device in the library that allows you to learn about behavioral health conditions, participate in a confidential assessment and find local treatment resources. The kiosks aim to reduce the stigma of mental  health problems by making screenings  as commonplace as blood pressure screenings.  Vaya Health is a public managed health organization. They plan on placing these kiosks in 23 counties throughout the mountains and foothills of North Carolina. 

Severe Weather Alert

03/01/17 01:00 PM
Yancey and Madison Schools released students during the 1 o'clock hour today, ahead of an impending severe weather alert. Some storms could have winds greater than 58 mph and hail larger than 1 inch in diameter. Straight line winds could cause trees to fall or other damage. Isolated tornadoes are also possible. Storms are expected to be out of the region by midnight.   Mobile homes, covered picnic areas and vehicles are not considered safe options for storm protection. Seek shelter in a sturdy structure during severe thunderstorms. 

Amber Alert

03/01/17 07:00 AM
You may have been awaked from a loud alarm on your phone around 4 o’clock this morning.  Emergency services activated an Amber alert asking for public help to locate a 2003 Gold Toyota Corolla in the Candler area. The Amber Alert System was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996. The Amber Alert Activation is an optional setting on your cell phone that can be turned on or off.  The default setting on new phones is the on position. 

Update: Bailey Lynn Queen has been located. She is safe and in good condition. Bailey was initially the subject of an Amber Alert after being taken last night by her father, Joshua Randy Queen. Joshua Randy Queen was taken into custody at approximately 7:43 am this morning at the Travel America truck stop located at Exit 37 on I-40. Queen was taken without incident. The investigation into this incident is ongoing.

Massive Service Outage on the Internet

03/01/17 06:58 AM
A four hour outage of Amazon's AWS cloud computing division caused headaches for hundreds of thousands of websites across the United States Tuesday afternoon. Little known to consumers familiar with Amazon's online shopping site, Amazon Web Services is a giant provider of the back-end of the Internet. For sites like Netflix, Spotify, Pinterest and Buzzfeed, as well as tens of thousands of smaller sites, it provides cloud-based storage and web services for companies. The S3 system is used by almost 150,000 sites around the country.  Through Amazon, Intertech Media provides services for thousands of radio station web sites including wtoe.com and wkyk.com.  The outage started around 12:30pm and operations were fully recovered by 4:49 pm Tuesday.

Former Newland Town Clerk Indicted

02/28/17 04:45 PM
On February 13th an  Avery County grand jury issued a true bill of indictment charging Priscilla Ann Trivette, age 50, of 128 Sugar Hollow Road in Roan Mountain, with embezzlement of money by a public officer or trustee, a class F felony.  Trivette served in a dual role of clerk and tax collector for the Town of Newland before resigning  in July 2016. The Newland Board of Aldermen first became aware of discrepancies in the town’s finances through an audit conducted by Doug Tennant, a certified public accountant with the firm of Combs, Tennant and Carpenter. The audit revealed that approximately $25,000 was missing. District Attorney Seth Banks was made aware of the situation and contacted  the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to assist in the investigation involving an alleged misappropriation of governmental funds. The Avery County Sheriff’s Office booked Trivette on Feb. 15 and she was released on a $50,000 unsecured bond. She is scheduled to appear in Avery County Superior Court on March 27.

Madison Superintendent Charged With DWI

02/27/17 03:35 PM
Madison County School Superintendent Ernest Holden, blew a .13 during a traffic stop on Sunday, February 25th in the city limits of Burnsville. The stop happened at 11:29 p.m. on US-19E. Burnsville  Police Chief  Brian Buchanan confirmed that his officer made the stop and then referred the case to North Carolina Highway Patrol, who followed through on the investigation. Christian Ramsey, spokesperson for Madison County Schools, said the Board of Education is investigating. Holden was cited with a DWI in Yancey County, and taken to jail. Holden immediately bonded out after the magistrate required a $1000 unsecured bond.  

Yancey Sheriff Report 2/16 - 2/23/17 (Details)

02/27/17 09:51 AM

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 2/19 - 2/26/17

02/27/17 09:00 AM

Two McDowell Students Face Felony Drug Charges

02/21/17 01:36 PM
Two 15-year-old McDowell High students face felony charges after authorities found more than 100 pills in their possession on school grounds. Deputy Jason Cook of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, who is the school resource officer at McDowell High, received information on Friday, Feb. 10 that the two female teens were possibly in possession of multiple types of pills. A subsequent search turned up five different kinds of medication – a total of 138 pills.  The teens’ cases were turned over to juvenile authorities.

Mars Hill University Announces New Trustees

02/20/17 03:37 PM
Four new members joined the Mars Hill University Board of Trustees for 2017. Their four-year terms began January 1. Mary Dawson, M.D., is a family physician at Mountain Magnolia Family Practice in Abingdon, Virginia. A member of the Mars Hill class of 2001, she received her medical degree from East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine. With her husband, Brian, also a doctor, she (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 2/12 - 2/19/17 (Details)

02/20/17 09:41 AM

Two Mitchell County Women Arrested for Shooting Man

02/17/17 01:03 PM
(News Release from Mitchell Sheriff's Department)
Mitchell County Sheriff's  Detectives arrested Susan Beasley Hogsette, age 59,of 77 Duke Franklin Road, Spruce Pine for assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Stacey Jean Clark, age 40, of 118 Frank J. Beam Road, Spruce Pine, for assault by pointing a gun. Captain R.V. Wiseman advised this stemmed from an incident (more)

Yancey County Man Charged with Burning Mobile Home

02/17/17 12:27 PM
On Saturday the 11th of February Newdale Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 216 Motor Sports Lane.  Yancey County Sheriff’s deputies responded as well to aid in the investigation of the origin and cause of the fire. During this investigation it was found that the fire had been intentionally set by Joshua McKinney. Later that night Mr.  McKinney was charged with 1st (more)

February Yancey Commissioners Meeting

02/17/17 12:13 PM
 At their meeting for February, the Yancey County Commissioners received reports and took action on several important items. The commissioners were once again pleased to welcome all of the parents, children, and young adults who were award winners in the 4-H program. As always, Yancey County was well represented at the district and state level by the Yancey County 4-H group. The (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 2/1 - 2/16/17 (Details)

02/16/17 01:25 PM

Public Hearing About Mitchell DSS

02/16/17 10:32 AM
Mitchell Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing on March 20th at 5:00 pm  to receive public comments on whether the Mitchell Board of Commissioners should assume direct control of the activities of the Mitchell County Board of Social Services. The Commissioners would assume all powers, duties and responsibilities of the Social Services Board.  The public hearing will be held in the Commissioner's Conference Room, located at 26 Crimson Laurel Circle in Bakersville. Taking over operation of the Social Services board would not be a reflection of the job that current Director or employees of DSS are doing. The action would be to have more insight into DSS since the County funds nearly $2 million a year of the DSS budget and it is the largest item in the county's budget. The DSS budget requests have increased significantly over the past five years as the number of foster children has risen significantly, causing additional staff and attorney fees. 

Hit and Run Fatality

02/14/17 07:44 AM
(News report from WLOS)
A Burnsville woman has been identified as the suspect in a hit-and-run that left a pedestrian dead. Fonda Jane Adkins is wanted for felony hit-and-run and driving with a revoked license.
59 year old Steven Banks was struck and killed along Weaverville Highway on Feb. 9, just three-tenths of a mile from his home. (More)

Million Dollar Lottery Winner

02/13/17 01:17 PM
A ticket worth $1 million was purchased Sunday night February 5th at the Food Lion on Old U.S. Hwy 421 South in Boone. Bobby Hite of Deep Gap claimed his prize Thursday the 9th at lottery headquarters  in Raleigh. He paid $30 for the ticket and will receive $50,000 every year for 20 years as winner of the $1 million in the North Carolina Education Lottery's Ultimate Millions game.  Hite had the choice of taking a $1 million annuity that has 20 payments of $50,000 a year or a lump sum of $600,000. He chose the annuity, and after federal and state tax withholdings received his first payment of $34,759. Hite recently retired as an IT specialist, and plans to use the money for retirement.

Mitchell County Man Shot

02/13/17 10:36 AM
(Press Release from the Mitchell Sheriff's Office)
Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting which occurred on J Frank Beam Road in Spruce Pine. On Friday, February 10, 2017, at around 2:55p.m., deputies were dispatched to 459 Vaughn Road. A call came in to the Communication Center of a man being shot. Captain R.V. Wiseman arrived on the scene at 3:00 p.m., to find Michael Cheatham, age 54, lying in driveway with a gunshot to his (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 2/5 - 2/13/17 (Details)

02/13/17 09:47 AM

February Yancey School Board Meeting

02/10/17 02:44 PM
At the February 6, 2017 Yancey County Schools’ Board meeting Monday night, East Yancey Middle School’s basketball players and coaches were honored for the girls’ Toe River Conference and Tournament championships and the boys’ Toe River Conference   (more)

New Alliance To Tackle Drug Epidemic

02/09/17 04:18 PM
To reduce the prevalence of alcohol and drug misuse, as well as the number of fatal overdoses, in 23 western North Carolina counties, Vaya Health has joined with community partners to form the Western North Carolina Substance Use Alliance.  The misuse and abuse of alcohol, prescription medications and illicit drugs affect the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans. In 2015, (more)

Burnsville Town Board Adopts Sidewalk Ordinance

02/09/17 02:39 PM
At the February 2nd meeting of the Burnsville Town Board they voted to amend the Zoning Ordinance  with a new Sidewalk Dining Ordinance.  The Zoning Ordinance was initially adopted in 1969 and has been amended several times since then.  The Sidewalk Dining Ordinance requires businesses to file an application, meet the requirements and pay a fee in order to get a permit. The (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 2/2 - 2/9/17 (Details)

02/09/17 02:24 PM

Grant for Bowman Middle School

02/09/17 09:19 AM
The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina awarded a People in Need Grant of $15,000 to Rural Education Partners of Mitchell County to begin implementation of the Bowman Middle School In-School Support Program.  The grant is funded by combining dollars provided through The Fund for Mitchell County, an affiliate of the Community Foundation, and two other CFWNC funds. (more)

New Marketing Plan for Mitchell County

02/08/17 03:09 PM
When it comes to marketing, these days building a "brand" is important.  You need an identifiable symbol that is used on everything from signage to  letterhead to shirts and websites. Mitchell County took a major step in that direction Friday, February 3rd when the new marketing plan was unveiled by North Star Strategies, the  Nashville firm hired last April to work with (more)

Four Arrested for Vandalism

02/07/17 03:20 PM
In a follow up to a story we had last week about some vandalism in Boone on January 22nd, four young women have been arrested.  Police arrested Taryn Bledsoe, age 22, Julia Grainger age 22, Elizabeth Prier, age 22, and Hannah Seay, age 21. All four women were charged with seven counts of misdemeanor graffiti violation and one count of misdemeanor damage to personal property.  The charges were for spray painting obscene anti-Police and anti-Trump messages on a number of businesses and a patrol car, causing approximately $10,000 in damages. Tips from the public through High Country Crime Stoppers led to the incidents being solved.

New eBook Sharing Service Specifically for Children

02/07/17 09:17 AM
 A first of its kind statewide eBook consortium specifically for children has launched in the Tar Heel State. The North Carolina Public Library Directors Association (NCPLDA) together with OverDrive and the state of North Carolina has created a new digital resource sharing service for kids’ pre-K through 4th grade, NC Kids Digital Library. Over 3,700 eBooks, audiobooks, videos and (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 1/29 - 2/5/17 (Details)

02/06/17 09:26 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 1/26 - 2/2/17 (Details)

02/03/17 02:06 PM

McDowell County Man Charged with Manslaughter

02/02/17 04:35 PM
Glenn Edward Gardin, age 63, of 173 Hicks Memorial Baptist Church Road in Marion has been charged  with voluntary manslaughter. Shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1, McDowell County Sheriff’s deputies and troopers with the N.C. Highway Patrol responded to Gardin’s residence after he called 911 and reported that he shot his neighbor, 63-year-old Todd Alan Swepson, of 184 Hicks Memorial Church Road in Marion.  Detective Paul Alkire said the two men, who have a history of altercations with each other, had been drinking at Gardin’s residence and got into another confrontation that led to the shooting.  Gardin brandished a small-caliber revolver and shot Swepson once in the torso.  Deputies and state troopers performed CPR on Swepson at the scene but were unsuccessful in their attempts to revive him.

Unemployment Rates Up Slightly

02/02/17 12:56 PM
Unemployment rates increased in 71 of North Carolina’s counties in December, decreased in 9, and remained unchanged in 20.  Hyde County had the highest unemployment rate at 11.6 percent, while Buncombe County had the lowest at 3.7 percent. The December statewide rate was 4.9 percent. In our area rates were up slightly. Avery rate for December  was 4.9, Madison 4.8, McDowell 4.6, Mitchell 6.1 and Yancey 5.1 percent. All rates not seasonally adjusted.

Marker Honors Lesley Riddle

02/02/17 11:01 AM
A North Carolina Historical Highway marker was placed three weeks ago on Hwy 19E coming into Burnsville from the west side near Young and McQueen Grading. The marker is in honor of Lesley Riddle. Lesley Riddle is an old time musician and song collector who collaborated from 1928 through 1937 with the Carter Family in the early days of country music. Riddle developed an innovative picking and (more)

Town of Burnsville Receives Grant for Water System

02/01/17 12:43 PM
The State Water Infrastructure Authority has announced a $900,000 grant to the town of Burnsville. These funds are allocated for drinking water and wastewater projects and no local matching of funds is required.   Mayor Theresa Coletta requested a year ago for the Town Board to allow her to apply for funds to help with the town's water and sewer system that has some pipes that date back to the 1920's.   The town is now applying for the an additional $1 million, one hundred thousand, which would bring it to a total of $2 million, which is the maximum that can be applied for over 3 years from the State water Infrastructure Authority. Total cost to replace the town's system is $10 million. Efforts will continue to find additional funding. 

Scam Alert for Cell Phone Users

01/31/17 02:16 PM
Beware of answering your cell phone when you do not know who is calling. When you answer your phone a caller may ask you "Can you hear me?" or some other question designed to have you respond "yes". When you do they record your voice and use that recording to add charges to your phone bill or take other actions to steal your money. And when you protest that you never authorized the charges, that recorded “yes” can make it harder to get the charges removed. To protect yourself let any unknown calls go to your voice mailbox. If it is a legitimate call they will leave a message and you can return it. If you do answer and someone asks this type question--just hang up.  Study your bill. Check your phone charges and credit card statements. If you see a charge you don’t recognize, contact the company and dispute the charge. But first off be aware that there are people out there trying to scam you. If in doubt don't answer that unknown phone call. 

Hikers Found

01/31/17 07:09 AM
Rescuers from Yancey County were in the woods most of the day Sunday looking for lost hikers in Mount Mitchell State Park. The three hikers were reported missing Sunday and found later in the day. Yancey County Officials said they departed early Sunday morning. All three were found and taken to the hospital to be checked. 

Anti-Trump Graffiti

01/31/17 07:07 AM
Police have arrested four women and charged them with painting anti-Trump graffiti around Boone. A number of businesses and one police car were painted Jan. 21. The police department said the four Boone women were arrested late last week and charged with seven counts of misdemeanor graffiti and one count of damaging personal property. The women are 22-year-old Taryn Bledsoe, 22-year-old Julia Grainger, 22-year-old Elizabeth Prier and 21-year-old Hannah Seay. Officers had said several people had painted "Black Lives Matter," anti-Trump and anti-police slogans, causing damage of about $10,000. Boone Police chief Dana Crawford said a tip from High Country Crime Stoppers led to the arrests.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 1/22 - 1/29/17 (Details)

01/30/17 11:36 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 1/19 - 1/26/17 (Details)

01/26/17 03:58 PM

Mitchell County Receives Grant for Project Lifesaver

01/26/17 01:12 PM
The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina has awarded a $5000 grant to Mitchell County for Project Lifesaver.  The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide a quick and potentially life- saving response for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer's, autism or other conditions.  The grant money will purchase tracking bracelets and other equipment  and pay for training.  The Mitchell Sheriff's Department and the county's emergency personnel will operate the program in accordance with the Safety Awareness  for Everyone (SAFE) committee.  The SAFE Committee formed last August in order to implement the Project Lifesaver program. 

Petition for Home School Students to Be Eligible for Public School Sports

01/26/17 01:10 PM
A petition is making the rounds in Mitchell County to allow private and home school students to participate in public school athletics. There are approximately 150 students in Mitchell County  who are either  in private schools or are home schooled. Started last October by John Stevenson, the petition has now garnered several hundred signatures.  Currently children that are home (more)

Paving Scam in Mitchell County

01/25/17 01:22 PM
Several reports have been received at the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department about a possible paving scam. People claiming to represent a paving company tell unsuspecting residents that they have just finished a big paving job and have some asphalt left over.  They offer to pave a driveway or other area and say it won't cost much. After the job is complete they send a bill for as much as $10,000. It's a good idea to get a contract when hiring any kind service and to always be sure you are dealing with a reputable company.  The company attempting this scam is not local. If you have been a victim or are contacted by this company call the Mitchell Sheriff's Department at 828-688-3982.

Weatherman, Tyner Chosen to Head New Yancey School Board

01/25/17 12:23 PM
At the regular meeting of the Yancey County Board of Education on January 9, 2017, Mrs. Angie Weatherman was voted in as School Board Chair and Mrs. Jeanne Tyner was voted in as Vice-Chair.  The vote was 3-2 in favor, with Angie Weatherman, Jeanne Tyner, and Edwin (more)

NC Department of Transportation Customer Survey

01/25/17 10:46 AM
The NC Department of Transportation  second annual customer survey is going on now through the end of the month.  All citizen feedback is collected online. Visit go.ncsu.edu/customerservice2016 to complete the survey. Survey takes about 15 minutes and is mobile friendly.   Participation can help NCDOT identify ways to make North Carolina's roads safer, more efficient and customer focused. 

Community Needs Assessment Survey (Details)

01/25/17 10:36 AM

New Reentry Council in McDowell County

01/25/17 10:29 AM
The Department of Public  Safety has awarded contracts to four organizations in North Carolina to set up new  Reentry Councils. Reentry Councils assist ex-offenders with housing, employment, food, treatment, transportation and mentoring.  They help to develop and  to coordinate resources  in the community to support the ex-offenders in order to reduce the likelihood of repeat offenders.  Freedom Life Ministries in McDowell County is one of the four in the state to receive up to $150,000. Executive Director Danny Hampton said the contract will allow them to move forward, "to address the physical needs, practical needs, spiritual needs and rehabilitation to those who need help in the transition back into society".

Sign-Up for Possible Drought Assistance

01/25/17 10:09 AM
The US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service is now accepting applications from livestock producers for drought relief.  Counties eligible in our area include Avery, Buncombe, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell and Yancey.  Livestock producers with natural resource concerns associated with grazing lands have until February 17th to apply for funds that are available to the drought impacted counties.  For more information call 828-765-4701 ext 5.

Mitchell DSS Board Opening

01/24/17 04:27 PM
The Mitchell County Department of Social Services Board currently has a Board Seat open. Those interested in being nominated to the Mitchell County Department of Social Services Board, please contact 828-688-2175 extension # 302, and a packet will be mailed out to you.

Two McDowell County Men Busted for Drugs

01/24/17 04:09 PM
A traffic stop on West Henderson Street in Marion yielded two men with illegal drugs. Deputy Jason Cook of the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office charged Justin James McKinney, age 25, of 1170 Old Toms Creek Road in Marion, with possession of methamphetamine. Cook also charged Austen James Bowie, age 20, of 1136 Burma Road East in Marion, with possession of marijuana. Shortly before (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 1/15 - 1/22/17 (Details)

01/23/17 09:18 AM

Yancey Sheriff Report 1/12 - 1/19/17 (Details)

01/20/17 09:32 AM

Senior Employment Grant

01/18/17 12:50 PM
The High Country Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging has received  $172,410 to  provide temporary employment to low income older adults living in our area. This is the first year that High Country Council of Governments has received the Senior Service America grant.  The purpose of the grant is to assist unemployed older adults seeking to rejoin  the workforce through on-the-job training at public agencies and local nonprofits. This will also help keep these seniors from feeling isolated from the community. High Country Council of Governments  covers Avery, Mitchell, Yancey, Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga and Wilkes counties. 

Special Meeting for Burnsville Town Council

01/16/17 01:03 PM
There is a special meeting tomorrow at 3 of the Burnsville Town Council. During this meeting they will discuss, among other agenda items, proposed updates ot the zoning ordinance for permitted uses and for sidewalk dining and merchandising. Also to be discussed is using creativity, art, parking etc to revitalize the town.

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 1/8 - 1/15/17 (Details)

01/16/17 10:09 AM

Baxter Healthcare to Pay $18 Million to Resolve Charges

01/13/17 03:01 PM
According to the Department of Justice, Baxter Healthcare Corporation has agreed to pay $18.158 million to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from their failure to follow current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) when manufacturing sterile drug products  at its North Cove facility .  The government charged that, between July 2011 and November 2012, Baxter introduced (more)

Yancey County Agricultural Task Force Report

01/13/17 02:28 PM
Yancey County Commissioners received a report from the Yancey County Agricultural Task Force at their regular meeting on January 9th that provides an action plan to increase local food production and farmer income in Yancey County. This report is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of work for the task force funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. (more)

Raising Your grandchildren? Help is on the Way!

01/13/17 01:36 PM
If you are among the thousands of grandparents in the U.S. currently raising your grandchildren, you don’t need anyone reminding you that yours is a challenging and often stressful situation. However, you do need to know that you are not alone, and more importantly, that help is on the way. (more)

Respiratory and Stomach Viruses, Flu Widespread

01/12/17 04:11 PM
Influenza is now widespread throughout most of North Carolina. State health officials encourage all residents to protect themselves and others against the flu.   The best way to stay healthy and combat a respiratory (flu) virus, stomach virus and other viruses is through preventive measures.  Getting the flu vaccine,  washing your hands frequently, especially after (more)

Yancey Sheriff Report 1/5 - 1/12/17 (Details)

01/12/17 03:48 PM

Annual Count of Homeless January 25

01/12/17 10:17 AM
Wednesday, January 25, marks the annual Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, coordinated by the Northwest Continuum of Care, is the annual documentation of the extent of homelessness in our region, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey Counties. The information from the PIT Count provides a valuable snapshot of the state and extent of (more)

Mitchell Receives $30,000 Demolition Grant

01/11/17 03:33 PM
The NC Department of Commerce has approved a $30,000 grant to help pay for the demolition of a vacant building behind Grassy Creek Shopping Center.  Formerly a T-shirt factory and known as the Phillips building the removal would make room for the 4.2 acre site to be developed. The Phillips family would have to pay any additional costs over the $30,000. A stipulation in the grant is that the site cannot be for public use, which means for parking lots or parks and recreational facilities. This grant program is for encouraging site rehabilitation and site availability for economic development purposes. 

Public Meeting on Carolina Theatre

01/11/17 03:18 PM
Thursday afternoon, January 12,  from 4 to 7 pm there will be a public meeting about reviving the iconic Carolina Theatre in downtown Spruce Pine. Ron Cohen will share his vision of how to purchase and renovate the theatre through crowdfunding, fundraising and grants. Cohen hopes the project will become a community space for performance arts, movies, community events and forums.  The meeting will be held in the upstairs room of the TRAC Gallery on Upper Street in Spruce Pine. All interested persons are invited to attend.

Fund for Mitchell County Announces $50,000 in Grants

01/11/17 02:46 PM
The Fund for Mitchell County is pleased to announce $50,000 in People in Need grants to local nonprofit organizations providing critical services for economically disadvantaged people. The grants were made in partnership with The Community Foundation of Western (more)

Mitchell Detectives Stop 3-County Crime Spree

01/10/17 12:48 PM
(Press Release from Mitchell County Sheriff's Department)
Mitchell County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested Monuel Nicodemius Johnson, age 39, of Mollies Branch Road, Newland, Shawn O’Brian Riddle, age 43, of 49 Loggy Hollow Road, Bakersville, and Haley Brooke Renfro, age 21, of 938 Plum Branch Road, Burnsville. All three individuals face numerous felony charges in Avery, Mitchell, (more)

Mitchell Sheriff Activity Report 1/1/17 - 1/8/17

01/10/17 09:53 AM

Magana-Velasquez Sentenced for Rape

01/06/17 01:46 PM
On January 3rd, 2017, Heriberto Magana-Velasquez, 21 years old, was convicted of First Degree Forcible Rape, First Degree Burglary, and Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury. During the early morning hours of December 19th, 2015, Mr. Magana-Velasquez left his home and drove around Yancey County to hunt for the victim’s residence.  While Mr. Magana-Velasquez had (more)