Anspach Advanced Manufacturing School Opening


03/27/15 09:55 AM
The grand opening of the Anspach Advanced Manufacturing School on April 13 begins at 11:00 AM at Mayland Community College's Yancey Learning Center.  (more)

Mitchell School Board Puts Auxiliary Gym On Hold


03/26/15 01:20 PM
At a recent Mitchell County Board of Education meeting the proposal for an auxiliary gym was postponed indefinitely. The proposed 14,900 square foot facility would have provided additional gym space and classroom space to expand the CNA program at Mitchell High School. It was determined that the projected $1.6 million cost , of which $400,000 had been raised in grant funds, was too much to raise given the tough economic times, the lack of full public support and other more pressing budget priorities. Superintendent Dr. Rick Spurling issued a statement emphasizing that he was the one that had been pushing for the facility not the Board of Education, as he felt it would be a tremendous benefit for the students of Mitchell High and would keep the grant money in the community.  Other groups in the community are still working, hoping to find funding for the facility. 

Yancey Register of Deeds Retires


03/26/15 07:15 AM
After winning eight elections and serving the people of Yancey County for 30 years Willoree Jobe has announced her retirement as of March 31st from the office of Register of Deeds. According to law, since Jobe is a Democrat the Yancey County Democratic Party Executive Committee recommends a nominee to fill the vacancy. They have recommended Susan Jobe to fill the unexpired term for Willoree.  The commissioners will take this matter under consideration and will have official action at the April 13, 2015 regular meeting.

Metcalf Cousins Plead Guilty


03/25/15 12:51 PM
Calvin and Phillip Metcalf, cousins from Mitchell County, who were arrested July of 2014 for an assault of an Avery County Deputy and escape from custody have pleaded guilty to Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a law enforcement officer and robbery and have been sentenced to at least 14 years in prison.  Calvin Metcalf, age 21, of Bakersville, and Phillip Metcalf, age 25, of Spruce Pine, also admitted in court that they were habitual felons.  The two men were under arrest for breaking into Bonnie and Clyde’s Restaurant.   Avery Detective Frankie Catalano checked the two Metcalf cousins out of the Mitchell County jail after they told the investigator they could lead him to the stolen property stashed at their grandmother’s house in Avery County. They jumped and assaulted him, stole his sidearm and the county owned truck.  They were found in Calhoun, Georgia July 30th.   Calvin Metcalf fought with lawmen after the truck was found outside a convenience store.  Phillip has already been taken into custody at the truck, but when Calvin came out of the store, he bolted for the truck, managed to get in the passenger’s side, and while struggling with the officers, he started the truck and put it in reverse.  Another lawman managed to knock the truck out of gear while Calvin Metcalf was pepper sprayed and taken into custody. Both were taken to the Gordon County Jail and may still face charges there.

National Work Zone Awareness Week


03/24/15 06:15 AM
This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week through Friday, March 27.
In 2014, more than 4,000 crashes occurred in work zones, killing 22 people and injuring almost 2,000. The National Work Zone Awareness Week campaign aims at preventing work zone fatalities and accidents by encouraging safe driving through highway work zones and construction sites. (more)

McDowell Man Charged with Child Abuse After Wife Dies from Overdose


03/23/15 02:58 PM
Danny Ray Pinkerton, age 29 of Caraway Drive in Marion was arrested Friday, March 20 by McDowell County Sheriff’s Officers. He is charged with three misdemeanor counts each of contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and child abuse. After being called to the residence, deputies found 28-year-old  Megan Elaine Pinkerton  deceased, apparently from an overdose. The victim’s husband, Danny Pinkerton, and their three children – 2-year-old twins and a 3-year-old were there. There were used and unused syringes containing controlled substances near the children. The children were unclothed and unbathed and were sleeping in their own urine and feces. Pinkerton was released on $10,000 bond with an April 6th court date. 

Dameron Named Assistant D.A.


03/20/15 01:37 PM
District Attorney Seth Banks has announced the hiring of E. Penn Dameron Jr. as Assistant District Attorney for the 24th Judicial District. The 24th Judicial District covers Avery, Mitchell, Madison, Yancey and Watauga counties. Dameron was born in Marion, graduated UNC Chapel Hill and practiced law in Marion before being appointed as a Superior Court Judge in 2003. After his retirement he served as President of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. His primary responsibility as Assistant D.A. will be to prosecute criminal cases in both District and Superior Courts primarily in Avery County.

Burleson Named to Spruce Pine Town Board


03/18/15 03:11 PM
Roger Burleson has been selected to fill the open position on the Spruce Pine Town board. Burleson fills the vacancy created when board member Rocky Buchanan was chosen to replace Mayor Phillip Hise who resigned to accept the town’s position of public works director. 

Country Cablevision Service Out


03/18/15 02:57 PM
Customers of Country Cablevision are without service at this time in parts of Yancey and Mitchell Counties. The outage involves 2 French Broad EMC Fiber Lines  located at the Asphalt Plant (above the old OMC Building) in Burnsville.  A dump truck driver raised the bed of his truck underneath the lines and broke both of them.  French Broad EMC and Country Cablevision are both on site making repairs but these are large lines and it could take up to 8 to 10 hours to repair all fibers and get all areas of the counties back on.

Wreck Injures Four


03/18/15 02:39 PM
Four people were injured in a two vehicle wreck this afternoon around 12:45 pm on Hwy 226 near Snow Hill Grocery.  Rescue personnel responded to free the victims from the accident. Three people were flown to Johnson City Medical Center and another person was transported to Blue Ridge Regional Hospital.

County To Sell Wolf Laurel Property


03/18/15 02:16 PM
Sixteen tracts of land in the Wolf Laurel Development will be auctioned off to the highest bidder on April 22 at 2 pm at the Yancey County Courthouse front doors. Yancey County acquired the land  through tax foreclosures. The highest bidder on a parcel must be present at the auction and make a five percent deposit with cash or certified check.  The money will be held until the County Commissioners either accept or reject the bid.  More information about the property can be found in the Yancey County deed book at the courthouse. 

NC January Employment Figures Released


03/18/15 10:02 AM
RALEIGH — The state’s seasonally adjusted January unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, remaining unchanged from December’s revised rate of 5.4 percent. The national rate increased 0.1 of a percentage point to 5.7 percent in January. North Carolina’s January 2014 unemployment rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than a year ago. The number of people employed increased 22,658 over the month to 4,397,927, and increased 65,854 over the year. The number of people unemployed decreased 1,161 over the month to 248,866, and declined 57,145 over the year. Seasonally adjusted Total Nonfarm industry employment, as gathered through the monthly establishment survey, remained unchanged at 4,203,100 in January. The major industry with the largest over-the-month increase was Leisure & Hospitality Services at 5,200, followed by Manufacturing, 3,400; Construction, 2,800; Other Services, 1,700; Financial Activities, 800; and Professional & Business Services, 600.  Major industries experiencing de- creases were Trade, Transportation & Utilities, 11,700; Government, 2,000; Information, 400; Education & Health Services, 300; and Mining & Logging, 100.

Affordable Care Act Consumer Alert


03/13/15 04:50 PM
The IRS urges taxpayers to choose their tax professional carefully as reports are coming in from around the country describing unscrupulous preparers who instruct their clients to make individual shared responsibility payments directly to the preparer. (more)

Day Booze It & Lose It Campaign Kicks Off


03/13/15 04:44 PM
RALEIGH – St. Patrick's Day brings to mind shamrocks, leprechauns and good luck. But not even the luck of the Irish can protect you from the risks of driving after drinking. The N.C. Department of Transportationand the Governor’s Highway Safety Program encourage those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day to ensure they have the best good luck charm of all – a sober designated driver. (More)

Third Big Lottery Winner from McDowell


03/12/15 03:40 PM
Russell Guffey, a sales representative from Nebo won $1 million to become the third McDowell County player to win $1 million or more this month. On Wednesday evening, March 11th,  Guffey stopped at Samirs on U.S. 70 East in Nebo and bought a $20 ticket for the $200 Million Blowout game. He scratched it off in the store – and was shocked to win $1 million. Guffey could have claimed the $1 million prize in 20 annuity payments of $50,000 but opted for the $600,000 lump sum, leaving him $415,506 in after-tax winnings. Guffey said he would take his time in deciding how to spend the amount. The 47 year old doesn’t plan on retiring but hopes to take a year off. Last Wednesday, Jack Piercy Jr., a retired locomotive engineer from Old Fort, won $1 million on a ticket for the $1,000,000 Jackpot game. Two days later Carl Hooper, a manufacturing worker from Marion, won $4 million playing 100X The Cash.

Can You Identify These Men?


03/12/15 09:13 AM
On 02-28-2015 a debit card was stolen, and was used at P&R Grocery in Bakersville, NC. The suspect vehicle appears to be a Dodge Durango (1998-2003). Video surveillance was obtained of the transaction and investigators are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the (more)

One Killed in a Single Car Accident


03/11/15 02:18 PM
The Highway Patrol has reported that one person was killed in a single car accident in Yancey County. 57 year old Patty Street of Bakersville was traveling on Highway 197 North when the vehicle she was driving left the road.  The accident occurred around 11:30am Tuesday.  We will have more details as they become available when a full report is filed by the Highway Patrol. 

U. S. Textiles in Newland to Close


03/11/15 10:59 AM
U.S.Textiles Corporation has announced the closure of its Newland facility. U.S. Textile bought the plant from Glen Raven in 1978 and has continued manufacturing women’s hosiery and shaping products since then. U. S. Textiles main office is in Pennsylvania. The company stated that foreign competition and diminishing product demand forced the action. They will also close the Lancaster, SC plant. The Newland facility was dedicated to knitting and sewing while Lancaster was a dying and packaging unit. The company produces both Silkies and Sculptz brands along with private label national brands. 

Yancey To Begin Countywide Property Imaging Project


03/11/15 10:38 AM
A countywide property-imaging project will be underway in Yancey County beginning March 23, 2015.  Yancey County has contracted Tyler Technologies, Inc. of Dayton, Ohio to provide detailed, high-resolution street level images for the county’s 2016 general reassessment. Tyler (more)

Mt Heritage Earns Lowest Dropout Rate in School History


03/11/15 09:53 AM
In a press release on March 5, 2015 – the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction reported the dropout rate for NC public schools hit a record low of 2.28% for a statewide average.  Mountain Heritage High School can claim a new record low - for the second year in a row – at 1.45%. Last March, the release of the dropout report was certainly a proud moment for the (more)

Waterhouse Indicted


03/10/15 04:31 PM
Kris Ann Waterhouse of Bakersville was indicted on two counts of reckless aggravated assault March 2nd by a Unicoi County grand jury.  According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol the collision that injured 6-year-old Austin Smith and his grandmother, Katherine Bryant, occurred at around 6:30 a.m. on March 6, 2014. A school bus, which was traveling southbound, had stopped to pick up Smith. The bus had on its yellow flashing lights, stop bar out and red lights engaged. The SUV driven by Waterhouse was traveling northbound and continued through the bus' stop signals, striking both Smith and Bryant.  Both victims sustained non-life threatening injuries. Several court hearings leading up to Waterhouse's move last month to waive her preliminary hearing had been postponed, as attorneys on both side of the case were awaiting the results of a blood test taken they day of the alleged collision. Waterhouse is scheduled to appear in Criminal Court on April 6.

Bridge to Be Named After BR Bailey


03/10/15 02:48 PM
Yancey Commissioners passed a resolution at their regular monthly meeting Monday night, March 9th in support of naming a bridge in honor of Billy Ray “BR” Bailey. The resolution asks that the bridge on Whittington Road be named in honor of Bailey. Bailey was a U. S. Army veteran and taught school for 35 years in Yancey County. He was a five term County Commissioner and lifelong resident of the Cane River community. 

Another Big Lottery Win in McDowell County


03/10/15 01:39 PM
McDowell County seems to be the place to be these days if you want to be a big lottery winner. On March 2nd there was a $1 million winner and then on Thursday the 5th Carl Hooper of Marion became the winner of the $4 million grand prize from the lottery’s 100X the Cash scratch-off card game. He says winning $4 million instantly means he can buy a house – and maybe call it (more)

Groundbreaking for New Nursing Facility at Mars Hill University


03/10/15 07:13 AM
The public is invited to a groundbreaking for Ferguson Health Sciences Center, on the campus of Mars Hill University, on March 13 at 11 am. The new building will be located on Hwy 213 (Cascade St.), at the corner of Joe Anderson Drive in Mars Hill. The center is the future home of the planned Judge-McRae School of Nursing. The three-story, 28,731 square foot facility is expected to be completed by the fall of 2016. The planned Judge-McRae School of Nursing will provide a bachelor’s degree in nursing with a liberal arts focus, at a time when the demand for nurses with four-year degrees is growing in the region. The center will be constructed using a low-interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture, in addition to gifts from alumni and friends of the university.

Toe River Health Receives $3000 from Delta Dental


03/09/15 03:24 PM
On behalf of the Delta Dental Foundation, Delta Dental of North Carolina CEO Curt Ladig delivered a $3,000 check to the Toe River Health District, Monday afternoon. March 9th.  This grant will help support the district’s dental screening and fluoride varnish program, which will (more)

2015-16 State Transportation Map Now Available


03/05/15 05:15 PM
RALEIGH—The 2015-16 North Carolina State Transportation Map was unveiled Thursday today as part of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Centennial Celebration and is now available free of charge. (Details)

McDowell County Man Wins $1 Million


03/05/15 11:28 AM
A McDowell County man who won $1 million instantly says he and his wife will share their prize money with their four sons and spend more time with their five grandchildren. Jack Piercy Jr.   was on his way to visit a family member in Morganton on Monday morning, March 2nd when he stopped to fuel up at the Gate store on Green Street. There, he bought a $10 ticket for the (more)

Parkway Playhouse Chosen to Produce The Lion King


03/04/15 10:37 AM
The Parkway Playhouse has been chosen by Disney Theatrical to license and produce a student version of the blockbuster phenomena, “The Lion King”.     Students enrolling in the 2015 Parkway Playhouse Jr. Summer production camp will be among the first students in the world to work on a locally produced production of the Broadway musical. The Parkway Playhouse, one of only a few groups in the nation, was selected based on their involvement with the National Junior Theatre Festival.  “We were thrilled,” commented Parkway Playhouse Artistic Director, Andrew Gall. “This is an opportunity unlike anything we have ever been able to offer our community.”  The camp, which will be run during the day in July, is open to students between the ages of 4 to 18.   Students will be involved in creating all the props, scenery, and costumes as well as rehearsing a 60 minute production, which will be performed on July 17 and 18 at Parkway Playhouse.  

Inclement Weather and the Yancey School Calendar


03/04/15 10:29 AM
Warmer weather last week and the time change over the weekend are reminders that spring is just around the corner.  While spring will certainly be a welcome change, the results of the harsh weather since Christmas must still be addressed on the Yancey County Schools calendar. (more)

State Economic Official Visits Mitchell


03/03/15 04:41 PM
Several Mitchell County residents braved the cold weather and 6 to 8 inch snow  on Thursday, February 26th, to meet with Dr. Pat Mitchell, Asst. Secretary for Rural Development for the NC Department of Commerce. Dr. Mitchell met with Chamber and EDC members, local leaders as well as local businesses and organizations to discuss the role of the Rural Development office.Dr. Mitchell met with citizens at the Market on Oak. She then stopped by Mike Brown Ford Subaru and BRP and Buck Stove. For more information about the services of the Rural Development office visit: http://www.nccommerce.com/rd

Hise Resigns as Mayor, Slagle Resigns as County Chairman


03/03/15 04:23 PM
Two top Mitchell County positions have seen changes. Spruce Pine Mayor Phillip Hise abruptly resigned so as to take the job of the town’s Public Works Director. The town held an emergency session on Wednesday, February 25th to announce the resignation. Mayor pro tem Rocky Buchanan was selected to serve out Hise’s term. Darla Harding was selected to serve as Mayor pro tem. The town council is expected to appoint a replacement for the vacant seat by their first meeting in April. Both Buchanan and the replacement will have to run for re-election in November to retain the seats. The other big change in Mitchell County is Commissioner Bill Slagle resigned his position as Chairman due to his recent announcement of accepting a position as regional industry manager for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Is it expected that Slagle will further resign from the Commission at a later date. Commissioners voted unanimously to make Ken Hollifield the new County Commission Chairman. 

Truck Wreck


03/02/15 10:49 AM
This truck wreck happened early Saturday morning. No one was hurt. The truck landed in the parking lot in back of the Mitchell News Journal. (click to see another pic)
 

Yancey County Schools to Participate in Statewide Tornado Drill March 4


02/25/15 12:11 PM
As part of Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 1-7, Yancey County Schools will practice its tornado and severe weather plans during a statewide tornado drill March 4 at 9:30 a.m. In 2014, the National Weather Service issued 81 tornado warnings for North Carolina and recorded 36 tornadoes that killed one and injured 34 people. Combined, the tornadoes caused more than $22 million (more)

New Administrator at Mountain View Correctional


02/25/15 12:06 PM
The Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice has named Mike Slagle as the new administrator at Mountain View Correctional Institution. Slagle is a 20-year corrections veteran who most recently served as assistant superintendent for programs at Mountain View.  He began his state service in 1994 as a counselor at a juvenile evaluation center.  He has also worked as a program (more)

New Principal Hired for Greenlee Elementary


02/25/15 12:02 PM
The Mitchell County Board of Education has hired Julie Weatherman as the new principal for Greenlee Elementary. Weatherman replaces retiring Greenlee principal Alan English. She will begin at Greenlee on March 1st.  Weatherman was the Regional Positive Behavior Support Coordinator for the state’s 16 most western counties before talking the position. 

Slagle Resigns as Mitchell County EDC Director


02/23/15 04:40 PM
Bill Slagle has resigned as Interim Economic Development  Director for Mitchell County effective March 9, 2015.  Slagle has accepted a position as Regional Industry Manager of the Northwest Prosperity Zone for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.  Slagle has served as Interim Director since June of 2013. The search for a permanent director of the Mitchell EDC is continuing. Bill Slagle is also Chairman of the Mitchell County Commissioners. 

Harris Middle School Flooded


02/23/15 03:05 PM
Harris Middle School was closed today as a result of a main water line break during the overnight hours.  As a result of this break the main boiler room at Harris Middle School was flooded.  Both boilers and the main electrical panel were covered in water. The school’s maintenance crew, custodians, WNC Forestry representatives and members of the Spruce Pine, Parkway and Bakersville Fire Department are working to clean up and repair the problems.  This is an ongoing process and at this time they are unsure how long it will be until power is restored.    

Man Arrested After Car Chase


02/23/15 01:22 PM
(Press Release provided by the Yancey Sheriff's Department)
On Saturday, February 21st, Yancey County Deputies received a call of a suspicious male at the intersection of Micaville Loop and 80 South.   When Deputies arrived on scene  26 year old Raymond David Garland of Spruce Pine gave chase fleeing east on US19 to 80 North then to Arbuckle Road.  The chase ended when Garland wrecked his vehicle on Arbuckle Road.  After the chase Deputies discovered that Garland had broken into a vehicle parked at the intersection of Micaville Loop and 80 South.   Garland was charged with felony flee/elude arrest, DWI, Breaking and Entering a motor vehicle, misdemeanor larceny, possession of stolen goods,  2 counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon on government official, reckless driving,  unsafe passing, failure to yield for a stop sign, resisting a public officer,  and no operator’s license.  Garland remains in jail under a $25,000 secured bond and is set to appear in court on March, 3 2015.

Insurance Deadline Extended for Those Who Pay Penalty


02/23/15 10:05 AM
People who discover that they have to pay a health insurance fee on 2014 taxes can still apply for help to pay for 2015 insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Between March 15 and April 30, the Marketplace will be open for enrollment for people who want to avoid a much higher fee at the end of 2015. The Bakersville Clinic’s free community service will be available throughApril 30 to help you understand how the Affordable Care Act makes insurance affordable and to help you apply for tax credits to pay for insurance. This service is not limited to clinic patients. You can call 828-678-0531 now for an appointment. 

Mitchell Deputies Respond to Home Invasion


02/20/15 02:10 PM
(Press Release from Mitchell Sheriff's Department)
Mitchell County Deputies have arrested Gregory Alan Street, age 56, of 463 Sparks Road, Bakersville on numerous felonies. At approximately 6:10 a.m., Mitchell County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to 29 Robin Hood Way near Ledger. The woman who lived at the residence with her three children called 911 and told the dispatchers a man had forced his way into her house with a long gun in one hand and a pistol in the other hand. (more)

Water Issues in Bakersville


02/19/15 06:56 AM
Water crews in Bakersville were struggling with frozen pipes and looking for leaks yesterday along Highway 261. The city had to turn off the water in some areas to work on the problems.  Mayor Chuck Vines was asking everyone in Bakersville to keep a small stream of water running from their faucets last night to avoid any more frozen pipes. 

NCDOT Clearing the Roads


02/19/15 06:54 AM
Across the state, 2,474 department employees are currently responding to winter weather, with 1,316 NCDOT trucks and 213 motor graders being used to remove ice and snow from the roads. (more)

More Cold


02/18/15 07:02 AM
Old man winter continues its grip on Western North Carolina. Saturday afternoon, on Valentines Day the high was 38 degrees and then as we slipped below freezing in the evening we have stayed below the freezing mark.  Record low temperatures are expected tonight and tomorrow night with low temperatures that may be near -10 in the higher elevations. During 2013 and 2014 the low temperature for February was 15 degrees, both of those years. January 8 of 2015 we recorded a low of -1.  January 30 of 2014 the low was -7.  Even though we are expecting more below zero temperatures we are still a long way from the all time record low of -25 on January 21st 1985.

Yancey Woman Sentenced for Child Porn


02/16/15 11:24 AM
On Thursday, February 12th, U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced Tabatha Dianne Black to 210 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. According to court records, from May to June 2012, Black enticed and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of it which she then distributed. Black pleaded guilty in June 2014 to one count of production of child pornography and has been in federal custody since April 2014. The case was prosecuted by Homeland Security, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office.  

MCC Receives Grant to Establish Crafts Training Center


02/16/15 06:14 AM
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has announced an award of $15,000 to Mayland Community College for architectural designs to establish a heritage crafts training center on its Mitchell Campus.Mayland Community College is working to develop a center that would house training and classes in fiber arts, woodworking, ceramics and additional heritage arts and crafts. It would (more)

Lawsuit Filed in Best Western Deaths


02/12/15 06:07 AM
Lawyers representing family members of a Washington State couple killed in the Boone Best Western in April of 2013 outlined their law suit Tuesday, February 10th, against a number of parties they believe responsible for the deaths. (more)

Marion Police Looking for Robbery Suspect


02/11/15 01:47 PM
Marion Police are asking for the public’s help in locating a suspect who they say attempted to rob a local convenience store Wednesday morning around 1:20 am and assaulted someone in the process. The attempted armed robbery took place at  the Stop & Save #10, on 226 South in Marion. The store clerk told authorities that what appeared to be a black female, wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up and tightened around her face, entered the store and demanded money. The suspect pulled a knife , came around the counter and a scuffle followed. The clerk received a minor cut from the weapon. A store patron realized what was happening and attempted to chase down the subject on foot, but the suspect escaped. No cash or property was taken. The suspect is described as a possible black female standing approximately 5-feet, 10-inches tall and weighing over 200 pounds. She was last seen wearing a grey-hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black shoes. Anyone with information call the Marion Police Department at 828-652-5205.

What to do after a Data Breach


02/06/15 10:03 AM
Tens of millions of Americans could be victims of the latest corporate data breach, this one at Anthem Insurance. Unknown hackers apparently stole personal identifying information (PII) from current and former Anthem customers, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other information that can be used for identity theft. (more)

North Carolina Connections Academy Approved to Open in the 2015-2016 School Year


02/05/15 01:11 PM
Durham, NC - Families with children in grades K-9 from across North Carolina will have an exciting new public school option in the 2015-2016 school year. North Carolina Connections Academy (NCCA) has been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education to deliver full-time, tuition-free, public education to students from across the state through a public virtual charter school pilot program. Information sessions for families are being planned across the state. (more)

More Hwy 19E Project Set to Begin in February


02/04/15 02:08 PM
More of the Hwy 19E project is slated to begin in February. The contractor for the next section will be Wright Brothers Construction out of Charleston TN.  The contract for this section is for $64,819,884.00. The project starts at the western end of the NC 80 Micaville Loop and ends at the start of the four lane section just west of Spruce Pine.  The start date is February (more)

Meeting To Discuss Forest Service Plans


02/04/15 07:19 AM
Barnardsville residents have concerns about the US Forest Service plans to open up the Big Ivy area to logging. The controversial draft plan will be discussed at a meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Big Ivy Community Center, 540 Dillingham Road in Barnardsville. (more)

Deyton Elementary Receives $15,000 Grant


02/03/15 01:38 PM
Deyton Elementary School has been awarded a $15,000 Play Construction Grant from Dr. Pepper, Snapple and the National Non-Profit Kaboom.  This grant money will be used to purchase and install a new piece of playground equipment for Deyton Elementary School.  Principal Jennifer Gregory said about the grant, "We are very excited about making improvements to our playground.  We want our students and the community to have a fun and safe place to play."  "We appreciate the work of our PTO in helping us to receive this funding and look forward to working with the entire community on this project."  
 

Mitchell Deputies Uncover Meth Lab During Welfare Check


02/03/15 11:08 AM
(News Release provided by Mitchell Sheriff's Department)
Mitchell County Deputies charge a Buladean woman for manufacturing methamphetamine. Stephanie Tara Lujan, age 30, of 14764 NC 226 North, Bakersville faces several felony charges. Captain R.V. Wiseman said a call came into the Sheriff’s Office from the mother of Lujan. The mother said Lujan showed up at their house a few days (more)

Bald Creek Elementary Awarded $80,000 NC Title I Reward School Grant


01/30/15 03:59 PM
Last week, Yancey County Schools was informed that Bald Creek Elementary School has been awarded an $80,000 NC Title I Reward School Grant.  Bald Creek Elementary has been named a NC Title I Reward School for the 2013-14 school year, a distinction given to the Top 10% of NC (more)

ECU Dental Facility Opens, Wind Destroys Tent


01/30/15 10:32 AM
The ribbon cutting for the new Eastern Carolina University School of Dental Medicine was held this morning at the new facility in Spruce Pine. The new 7700 square ft building is located on the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital campus. High winds at 8 o’clock  this morning ripped the tent that was set up for the ceremony down and blew it up against the building. The fire department was able to get the tent off the building and the event was held in the lobby with approximately 75 people in attendance.   

ECU Dental Facility Opens in Spruce Pine


01/29/15 10:26 AM
The ribbon cutting for the new Eastern Carolina University School of Dental Medicine is tomorrow at the new facility in Spruce Pine. The new 7700 square ft building is located on the Blue Ridge Regional Hospital campus. Full time dental school faculty will staff the center along with dental hygienists and other support staff. Fourth year dental students will train at the center offering low cost dental care to area residents. With 16 dental chairs and brand new state of the art equipment the center will be able to accommodate 40 to 50 patients per day. Dental services will cost approximately 30% less than private practices. The center will serve Medicaid patients as well as other payment plans and offers  sliding scale rates for those 150 percent below the federal poverty line. Tours of the facility begin at 9 am tomorrow. At 10:00 there will be comments from the Dean of Eastern Carolina, followed by the official ribbon cutting at 10:30.

Man Killed in Crash Near Tennessee Border


01/29/15 07:01 AM
A North Carolina man was killed Saturday morning, January 24th, in a crash just inside Tennessee as his sedan collided head-on with a tractor trailer.  The crash occurred on US 19E near the state line around 10 am when 37 year old John S. Mann, of Spring Lake NC, crossed the center line in his 2013 Toyota Prius. The small car hit the front of a 2007 Kenworth tractor trailer, driven by Howard C. Burleson, age 58, of Roan Mountain Tennessee.  Tennessee Trooper Edward Tester said that John Mann was dead at the scene and that Burleson was injured in the crash.  Burleson was hauling a load of grass seed which blocked US Highway 19E for some time due to the wreckage and the investigation into the fatality.  

Graham Children's Health Receives NC 2015 Public Health Partner of the Year


01/27/15 10:13 AM
On Wednesday, the North Carolina Association of Local Health Directors named Graham Children’s Health Services of Burnsville as the 2015 Public Health Partner of the year. This award was created to recognize organizations, businesses and professional associations that (more)

Record Year at Asheville Airport


01/27/15 08:28 AM
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) served a record number of passengers in 2014: 378,124 passengers enplaned at the airport in 2014, and 378,301 passengers deplaned, an 11.5% increase compared to 2013, and a 2.3% increase compared to 2010, the previous best year on record. (more)

Biddix Charged with Selling Marijuana


01/26/15 12:08 PM
(Press release from the Mitchell County Sheriff's Department)
Mitchell County Deputies have charged a Spruce Pine man for selling marijuana. Johnny Hubert Biddix, age 55, of 7394 US19E, Spruce Pine faces several felony charges involving the sale of marijuana. (more)

Asst. Secretary of Commerce Coming to Mitchell County


01/26/15 11:50 AM
Dr. Pat Mitchell, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Rural Development, North Carolina Department of Commerce will be in Mitchell County to review the area and the opportunities that exist for Mitchell County. Dr. Mitchell will be at The Market on Oak, located at 11 Crystal Street in Spruce Pine, Wednesday, January 28 from 11:30 to 12:15 for those interested in talking with her. 

Yancey Sheriffs Department Has Unique Patrol Car


01/26/15 10:03 AM
The Yancey County Sheriff’s Office has made a unique purchase of a new patrol car. The Sheriff’s Office contacted Burnsville Chevrolet to find a Police Package Caprice. Burnsville Chevrolet contacted Terry Lebonte Chevrolet in Greensboro about a car they had in stock.
(more)

McDowell County Teen Father Charged with Child Abuse


01/23/15 07:23 AM
A McDowell County teen father has been charged after his 2-month-old son suffered bone fractures while in his care. 19 year old Byron Cole Pace is charged with felony intentional child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. According to the sheriff's office, Pace was watching the child while the baby's mother was at work. At some point the baby turned blue and was non-respondent. Deputies have not said what happened to the child that caused the injuries, but Pace's father says Byron accidently dropped the baby.  The baby was released from Memorial Mission Hospital in Asheville yesterday. Detectives say the boy sustained five bone fractures. The investigation continues.

Dr Carl Mundy Dies


01/23/15 07:22 AM
Dr. Carl Mundy, 102, of Mitchell County passed away yesterday (thurs.1-22-15). Dr. Mundy was a World War 2 veteran, practiced dentistry in Buncombe county and retired several years ago to Mitchell County. He touched many lives and was highly respected.
 

Mayland'€™s Anspach School Nears Completion


01/22/15 12:58 PM
The Yancey County Commissioners heard an update from Mayland Community College President Dr. John Boyd on the progress that has been made on the colleges’ new Anspach Advanced Manufacturing School during the regular business meeting on Monday night. Dr. Boyd told Commissioners that the $2.6 million project is nearing completion and that workers should begin moving furniture into the offices and classrooms this week. Boyd said that the heavy equipment and specialty units that will be used to train students in the latest manufacturing techniques would be installed in the next few weeks. The expansion of the Yancey Campus was sparked by a generous contribution from Yancey County resident Dr. William Anspach Jr.  The Anspach School will offer a degree program in applied engineering with skill tracks in CNC programming, machining, robotics and design. Boyd expects the new school to begin offering classes at the beginning of February.

Fees For Water Test Goes Up


01/22/15 12:51 PM
Allen Hughes, an Environmental Health Supervisor at the Toe River Health District came before the Yancey Commissioners at their recent meeting to inform them of new price changes for the service of analyzing water samples in Yancey, Mitchell and Avery Counties. He presented a proposal to ok the price hikes that are mandated by the state. The Board voted unanimously to approve the request. Hughes said that an increase in the cost of the bottles used to analyze water samples is the reason for the up tick in cost. The new fees will raise the cost of a microbiology total coli form P/A test from $50 to $75, move the fee for an inorganic chemistry full organic panel from the current $50 to $125 and organic chemistry test for pesticides, herbicides, petroleum products and volatile organic chemicals from the current price of $75 to $125. The price of a new well sample kit will remain the same at $75 and the well abandonment fee will rise from $25 to $50.

Yancey Commissioners Get Wastewater/Sewer Update


01/22/15 12:47 PM
Yancey County Manager Nathan Bennett updated the Commissioners on the progress on the Micaville wastewater treatment plant and the remaining line work for the sewer project at the latest Commissioners meeting. He said that the company that is doing the construction of the plant has agreed to expedite the completion of the project so that the line work can be completed.  Bennett said that plans are to begin the remaining line work by April 15 and that he expects the entire project to be completed by mid October.

Avery County Woman Winner of $1 Million Lottery


01/20/15 12:26 PM
An Avery County woman  has come forward to claim the $1 million dollar North Carolina Education Lottery ticket sold at the Murphy USA on Halltown Road in Spruce Pine. Rachel Hoilman, of Newland, matched all five white balls but not the red Powerball in the Jan. 3rd drawing to win the prize after purchasing the $2 Quick Pick ticket. Hoilman bought the $2 ticket at the Murphy USA on Halltown Road in Spruce Pine. In a release from the North Carolina Education Lottery, Hoilman said that, "It feels surreal to win something like this," and called it "A blessing. This money will help us and it will help others."  

Suspected Arson in Mars Hill


01/20/15 12:16 PM
The State Bureau of Investigation is on the scene of a suspicious fire in Madison County. The old Mars Hill School site on Bailey Street in Mars Hill was apparently set on fire on Sunday night. The 77 year old historical site was being used for storage for some instructional material for Madison County Schools. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. The fire which was apparently set in several places, was able to be contained to the old gym.

McDowell Man Busted for Drugs and Guns


01/19/15 01:49 PM
McDowell County Drug Task Force has charged Samuel Shannon Bolinger Jr., 28, of 733 Old Greenlee Road in Marion, with one count of felony possession of marijuana, one count of felony possession with intent to sell marijuana, felony maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and felony possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. Officers seized 540.4 grams of marijuana, 66.4 grams of hash oil, three assault rifles and a large sum of money. The marijuana and hash oil appear to be medical grade. They also found four gallons and several quart jars of untaxed liquor that was turned over to Alcohol Law Enforcement. The investigation began back in 2013 when detectives received information from confidential sources. Bolinger was taken into custody at his parent’s home the same day as the raid, and jailed under a $40,000 bond. The McDowell County Sheriff’s Office, State Bureau of Investigation, N.C. Highway Patrol and the Marion Police Department were involved in the investigation.

Mission Health Wants to Construct New EMS Facility in Ledger


01/15/15 01:10 PM
Mission Health officials unveiled a plan last week to construct a new EMS base in the Ledger Community. The plan is to construct a 6,300 square foot, three garage EMS facility on county owned land along Forrest Service Drive near the Senior Center and health department. The new building is needed because the other EMS facility in Ledger was condemned recently due to the condition of the living quarters at the EMS garage. The new base would house two ambulances with an extra garage for future expansion. The project is expected to cost $1.1 million to construct with Mitchell County expected to pay $350,000 on the project over the next ten years while mission would take care of the remainder of the cost. At the end of the ten years the county would own the building and lease space to Mission. The board took no action on the plan but voted 4-1 to further research the possibility.

Construction of New Gym and Community Center Put on Hold


01/15/15 01:07 PM
A plan to build a $1.6 million auxiliary gymnasium and community center on the campus at Mitchell High School has been shelved by the Mitchell County School Board. School Superintendent Dr. Rick Spurling said last week that due to the unexpected cost of the project and the negative feedback from the public that more time was needed to pursue more grant money for the project. Spurling noted that the construction plan was never a board of education driven project and that the plan would have a better opportunity to succeed if it was pushed by school level personnel and then approved by the school board. The plan has its supports as well as detractors. Ten people approached the educators during the public comment session of the board meeting and voiced their support for the project.

Town Urged to Get Behind SmArt Program


01/15/15 09:37 AM
In a report from the Planning Board at the Burnsville Town Board meeting last week, Chairman Dean Gates told the Town Board that they have a golden opportunity to become something special among small towns in Western North Carolina, but everyone has to get on board and buy into the SmArt Public Art program to get things accomplished. (more)

Town Passes Audit Review, Slows Down on Purchase of Land for Fire Station


01/15/15 09:28 AM
In a special meeting at the Town Center on Thursday night, January 8th, Sharon Gillispie of Young, Miller and Gillispie CPA firm told the Burnsville Town Board that finances in the annual audit review showed the town on good footing. Gillispie told board members that the assets of the Town of Burnsville exceeded its liabilities at the close of the fiscal year by $12,219.57 with a total (more)

Greene Appointed Avery County Manager


01/13/15 03:00 PM
Avery County Finance Officer Tim Greene was appointed Avery County Manager at the Avery County Board of Commissioners meeting January 5th. Greene has been Avery County's Finance Officer and Assistant County Manager since September of 2003. All commissioners voted unanimously to appoint Tim. He resides in Spruce Pine with his wife, Vicki and son, Timothy.

ASPCA Plan $9 Million Rehab Facility in Weaverville


01/13/15 07:17 AM
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is building a 35,000-square-foot animal behavior rehabilitation center in Weaverville. The $9 million facility will be located on approximately 13 acres at the old cement plant at 50 Murphy Hill Road. Plans are for ASPCA to use scientifically-based training and behavior practices to rehabilitate abused dogs. ASPCA aims to open the facility in two years, employing 30-35 people. They looked at venues along the East Coast before settling on this area. ASPCA has a $202 million operating budget and nearly 850 employees. Founded in 1866, they operate on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. Some of the 1.3 million dogs euthanized in shelters across the country each year are put down because they suffer from behavior conditions that are the result of cruelty, abuse and neglect.   ASPCA started informally testing new behavior modification practices with abused dogs years ago and will be offering services not found elsewhere in the world.

Shephard Charged with Child Abuse


01/12/15 02:18 PM
(Press Release from Yancey County Sheriff's Department)
On January 5th the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office arrested Jon Kotj Shepherd, 21, of 275 Holcombe Branch Road, Burnsville  and charged him with one count of Felony Child Abuse and one Count of Assault on a Child Under 12 Years Old. This arrest comes as a result of an investigation conducted jointly between the Yancey (more)

911 Service Troubles


01/12/15 06:48 AM
First responders in several western North Carolina counties, including Mitchell, Yancey, McDowell and Buncombe were on standby Sunday morning because of an interruption to 911 service. Callers were having issues reaching the 911 center.  The outage was blamed on Frontier Communications experiencing a widespread outage that was affecting 911 call centers around the mountains. The service was back to normal after a couple of hours of interruption yesterday. Emergency officials are reminding the public that in the case of an extended outage of 911 service local fire departments are put on standby and staffed in case of emergency need. 

Madison DOT Employee Honored


01/10/15 03:32 PM
A N.C. Department of Transportation employee was honored today for his quick-thinking, life-saving actions during a medical emergency. Richard Dean Griffin, a Madison County Bridge Department employee, received NCDOT's Extra Mile Award at the N.C. State Board of Transportation meeting in Raleigh. (more)

Teachers Recognized for National Certification, School Board Appreciation


01/08/15 03:19 PM
In 2013-14, more than 4,000 teachers nationwide achieved National Board Certification through a performance-based, peer-review process similar to Board certification in medicine.  To date, more than 110,000 teachers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia have achieved the (more)

Town of Spruce Pine Receives Grant for PRC Infrastructure


01/08/15 01:43 PM
The Town of Spruce Pine, Mitchell County Economic Development Commission, Mitchell County Board of Commissioners and the High Country Council of Governments have announced that the Town of Spruce Pine has tentatively been awarded an additional $318,000 to complete the expansion of infrastructure at PRC Industries located in Spruce Pine. The total estimated (more)

Madison DOT Employee Receives Award for Life Saving Efforts


01/08/15 01:16 PM
On Thursday, a N.C. Department of Transportation employee was honored for his quick-thinking, life-saving actions during a medical emergency. Richard Dean Griffin, a Madison County Bridge Department employee, wasl be recognized at the N.C. State Board of Transportation meeting in Raleigh with NCDOT's Extra Mile Award. The award is given to employees who go (more)

Grandfather Mountain Experiences Dry 2014


01/07/15 02:36 PM
LINVILLE, NC — After an immensely rainy year in 2013, Grandfather Mountain rainfall rebounded to below-normal precipitation levels in 2014, according to weather data collected at the Mile High Swinging Bridge. (more)

Bakersville Water Issues


01/07/15 06:56 AM
Town Workers in Bakersville were scrambling yesterday to get water lines repaired before the artic freeze moved in.  Bakersville Mayor and County Manager Chuck Vines says water began leaking from the reservoir on Dec. 31 but levels shrank significantly on Monday. About 60,000 gallons of water had been lost. Bowman and Geouge Schools were closed yesterday to help preserve water as town crews worked on finding leaks. Mayor Vines says an out-of-date 65-year-old pipe system is to blame.  This is the third water shortage Bakersville has experienced in the last few years. Crews have repaired many pipes in the past, but this was the most drastic situation.  The county does have plans to repair more pipes this summer, but the project is expensive. Only a portion of pipes will be replaced. Bowman and Geouge Schools are operating on a normal schedule today.

One Million Dollar Powerball Ticket Sold in Spruce Pine


01/06/15 10:26 AM
A winning Powerball ticket worth $1 million was purchased at the Murphy USA on Halltown Road in Spruce Pine, according to a press release from the North Carolina Education Lottery. The player matched all five white balls in the Jan. 3 drawing, the release said. The person has 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim the prize at lottery headquarters in Raleigh. This is the second time in the last two weeks that a player in North Carolina has won $1 million playing the game; the other $1 million prize was won in the Christmas Eve Powerball drawing but has not yet been claimed, the release said. The ticket was sold at the Harris Teeter on South Tryon Street in Charlotte, the lottery says.

Data Shows Yancey County Schools Making the Grade


01/06/15 09:53 AM
At the January 5th  Yancey County Schools Board Meeting, Shane Cassida, Curriculum/Instruction Director, and Pete Peterson, Testing/Accountability Director, presented the preliminary results of the NC General Assembly’s School Performance Grades for the 2013-14 school year.  The Department of Public Instruction has delayed the release of the official grades until February 5th, (more)

Highway Patrol Reports DWI Numbers for 2014


01/06/15 09:37 AM
RALEIGH – With the beginning of a new year, the State Highway Patrol will be placing an emphasis on DWI enforcement and the reduction of alcohol related collisions. (more)

Ledford Indicted for Sexual Child Abuse


01/05/15 12:38 PM
An adult has been indicted in a Yancey County court on three counts of sexual abuse with a child. The man, Jackie Lee Ledford, 35, of 218 Sampson Branch Road in Green Mountain, was arrested by Yancey County Sheriffs deputies and is being held in the county jail under $300,000 bond.  The indictment accuses Ledford of engaging in a sexual act with a child under the age of 13, namely 7-9 years old, on three separate occasions from November 2009 to December 2011.  Ledford has an extensive criminal history with numerous felony breaking and entering and larceny charges on his record.  He will make his first court appearance on January 22.

Slight or No Change in Unemployment Rate


01/01/15 06:45 AM
Mitchell, Yancey and McDowell counties were among the 8 North Carolina counties that saw no change in their unemployment rate from October to November according to recently released figures from the N.C. Department of Commerce. (more)