In The News

Article Published: Dec. 22, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

NCDOT installs 105 crosswalk

Pedestrians will have help crossing N.C. 105 in Boone near the Studio West Apartments, thanks to the N.C. Department of Transportation.

NCDOT has installed a new pedestrian crossing system called a pedestrian hybrid beacon that allows pedestrians to safely cross the street at mid-block locations with minimal disruption to drivers. 

The new lights were activated this week. New signs and pavement markings also have been installed.
In addition, a traffic signal is installed with three lights (two side-by-side reds and a yellow just below the reds) to provide drivers the following warnings: 

? Flashing yellow: Prepare to stop.
? Solid yellow: Stop if it is safe to do so or proceed with caution.
? Solid red: All traffic must stop.
? Alternating red: Stop and proceed only if pedestrians are clear of the travel lane.
? Dark: Proceed as normal.

Pedestrians push a button at the crosswalk, and the signal indicates when it is safe to walk and how much time they have to cross the road.

Pedestrian beacons have been successfully used by the city of Charlotte. The Boone lights are the first installed by NCDOT.

18 WCS teachers achieve National Board Certification

The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards has announced that 18 additional teachers in Watauga County Schools have achieved National Board Certification, and four teachers have earned renewed National Board Certification, the highest professional credential available in the teaching profession.

The 18 newly certified teachers are the largest class of new board certified teachers in the Watauga County Schools since the credential was first offered 16 years ago.

This year's newly certified teachers include Carol Critcher of Cove Creek School; Pace Cooper and Stacey Smith of Mabel; Jennifer McCourry, Mary Williams, Kelley Wilson, and Jennifer Woods of Hardin Park; Marshall Thomas of Parkway; Russel Hiatt, Gina Holste, Katie Matthews, Robert Shack, and Greg Ward of Valle Crucis; and Susan Greene, Carmen Scoggins, Deborah Sheets, Amanda Chapous-Wallace, and Jamie Hickman Wilson of Watauga High School.

The teachers earning re-certification are Louise Cooper of Green Valley, Derrick Jones of Watauga High School, and Janet Purcell and Susan Wilson of Parkway. Teachers earning certification this year will be honored at a future meeting of the Board of Education.

This year's additions raise the total number of Watauga County Schools teachers and administrators with National Board Certification to 98, representing approximately 23 percent of teachers and administrators in the system.

Additional information about National Board Certification is available online at

AppalCART sets November record

AppalCART, the local public transportation authority, reported a system wide ridership of 154,121 passenger trips for November 2010, which set an all time record for the month of November.

The previous record of 143,891 had been set in November 2009. The authority's ridership increased 7 percent, while miles of service and hours of service increased by 10 percent, as AppalCART had an extra Green Route bus scheduled this year, as well as more hours of service on the third bus on the POP105 Route.

The bus service in the Boone area accounted for 151,058 trips in 48,382 miles for November 2010. AppalCART experienced an increase of 28 percent in ridership on its paratransit routes, which provide door-to-door transportation for people with disabilities that prevent them from riding the bus service. The total number of paratransit trips increased in number to 1,084 in November 2010.

For more information on AppalCART and its route schedules, visit or call (828) 264-CART.

N.C. unemployment rises

North Carolina's unemployment rate ticked up a bit in November, as the state lost 12,500 jobs, according to numbers released this morning by the state Employment Security Commission.
North Carolina's unemployment rate rose to 9.7 percent. Besides the overall job loss, more than 3,000 workers left the labor force from October to November, and since last year at this time, the labor force has contracted by more than 1 percent.

Since the recession's lowest point, North Carolinians' incomes have grown 6.1 percent, about 45 percent faster than the national and Southeastern average.

During the third quarter, North Carolina residents' income grew nearly 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2010, ranking 22nd nationally and second in the Southeastern states east of the Mississippi.

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