In The News

Article Published: Nov. 18, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

ASU solar project receives gift from Lowe's

Lowe's Companies Inc. and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation have contributed $350,000 to Appalachian State University's Solar Decathlon 2011 Project.

Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation's gift, a grant of $250,000, will be used to help construct the Solar Homestead. The grant was recently announced during a "board cutting" at the project headquarters on East King Street in Boone.

Appalachian State University is one of 20 institutions chosen from around the globe to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. The competition will be held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. in September 2011. Appalachian is the only university from North Carolina selected to compete in the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

Appalachian's entry, the Solar Homestead, began a year ago when eight students from the Department of Technology began planning their entry for the competition. Soon, hundreds of students from across the university will build a 1,000-square foot, two-bedroom, one-bath house with detached guest quarters.

Appalachian's entry will have solar thermal and solar photovoltaic collectors as part of its zero-energy design.

Dr. Jamie Russell and Professor Chad Everhart are the lead faculty advisers for the Solar Homestead project.

The team's Solar Homestead design was inspired by cabins and outbuildings used by settlers in the Appalachian Mountains.

Once constructed, the Solar Homestead will be disassembled and trucked to Washington, D.C. for the competition.

Council mulls downtown improvements

The Boone Town Council is considering changes to Howard Street to address safety concerns as vehicles and pedestrians share a largely unmarked area that's a common route for university students.

The council received recommendations on the issue from the traffic committee Tuesday night, presented by Public Works director Blake Brown. The committee recommended sending a letter to all "stakeholders and residents" in the vicinity of Howard Street and scheduling a public hearing for December. Written comments will also be accepted.

Council discussion also touched on a dedicated bike lane, as well as completely eliminating motorist use. Other ideas include designating one-way vehicle traffic while marking a designated pedestrian lane with paint, which town manager Greg Young said would be the least expensive alternative.

Howard Street has long been an area targeted for improvements. More than a decade ago, the town developed a plan to rehabilitate sewer lines, place utilities underground and install sidewalks, landscaping, benches and other amenities in a consolidated overhaul of the area, promoting the back street as a pedestrian and shopping area while still allowing two-way traffic.

The project has stalled because several landowners have not granted the voluntary easements needed to construct sidewalks. Since then, Appalachian State University terminated the section of Howard Street through campus for the construction of a parking deck and other facilities.

County discusses greenway extension

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners received updates on a greenway extension in its Tuesday meeting.

Planning director Joe Furman reported that a greenway extension from Brookshire Park to the soccer fields at the nearby Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex will likely begin in April, rather than this fall as originally predicted.

The county has received approval of the plan from the N.C. Department of Transportation, which provided $90,000 for the project, but lacks a permit from the town of Boone. About two-thirds of the project is in Boone's jurisdiction.

In addition to the permit, the county has been limited in beginning the project because of a moratorium on projects in or around trout waters between October 2010 and April 2011, Furman said.

The project should take about 60 days to complete, Furman said.

Operation Christmas Child in full swing

Christmas is still more than a month away, but Operation Christmas Child is in full operation.

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) delivers shoe boxes packed with gifts and necessities to needy children in more than 100 countries. OCC is a project of Samaritan's Purse, the Christian relief and evangelism organization managed by Franklin Graham and based in Boone.

National Collection Week started Monday and continues through Nov. 22, marking the primary time for people to donate their shoe box gifts. The boxes will then be processed at seven processing centers nationwide and sent overseas, where they will be delivered by sea container, truck, train, airplane, boat - and even by camels and sled dogs.

The processing centers, including the one at Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, have a special opportunity for children to get involved in the process this weekend.

Family Day runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and will include interactive games and activities to teach kids about the Christmas project. The event takes place at the processing center, located at 801 Bamboo Road. Family Day is the only opportunity for children younger than 13 to participate in the processing center.

To make a reservation to participate in Family Day, call (800) 442-9120.

Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 77 million gift boxes since 1993. For more information about packing a box or how the project works, visit or call (800) 353-5949.

Boone Christmas Parade Dec. 11

The Downtown Boone Development Association invites the High Country to join Santa Claus, friends and neighbors for the annual Boone Christmas Parade in Downtown Boone on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 11 a.m.

Parade viewers can line up along King Street from Horn in the West Drive to Water Street.

Any individual, group, or civic organization that would like to participate in the parade can call the Downtown Boone Development Association at (828) 262-4532 or visit for more information.

WCS teachers win 'Bright Ideas' grants

Teachers in the Watauga County Schools have been awarded five grants worth a total of $3,836 from Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation.

The grants will fund special instructional projects developed by teachers based at Bethel School, Blowing Rock School and Mabel School.

The grants at Bethel included one to Katie Parker and Karen Cable for a project to encourage social and emotional development among kindergarten pupils, and another to Karen Dallas and Charity Michael for a project to support early literacy skills in a pre-school classroom.

At Blowing Rock, Marcia Winkler and Barbara Linnville received funding for a behavior support project, while a grant to Kathy Moore and Mary Jordan will provide materials for a reading club for second and third grade boys.

At Mabel School, a team including Pace Cooper, Anna Hagaman, Patricia Sperry, Josephine Sorrell, Richard Tidyman and Shannon Carroll developed a sustainable greenhouse project that will support hands-on learning about the food cycle and project-based learning across much of the curriculum and most grade levels.

The five Watauga County Schools grants are among 23 Bright Ideas grants totaling $19,869 that Blue Ridge Electric awarded to schools this year in its six county service area. education and community service.

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