In the News
LOOKING FOR A HOME FOR FARMERS' MARKET
The Boone Sustainable Development Task Force is supporting an effort to secure a visible piece of gateway property as a regional farmers' market, agritourism destination and farm heritage site.
The Henson property, located at the intersection of U.S. 321 and Deerfield Road, is one of the last large farm properties in the town limits.
The 17-acre site could serve as another farmers' market, augmenting four already in the area, and also provide a central pick-up site for community-supported agriculture shares.
"The Henson property has been one of our preferred sites all along," said Watauga County Farmers' Market president Joe Martin. "It is absolutely the perfect place for the farmers' market but the price tag is well beyond the reach of the farmers market. It has plenty of room and would probably meet our need to expand forever. If it happened, it would truly be a permanent home for us."
To help raise funds, supporters are reaching out to conservation groups, sustainability groups and government officials. "Just about everybody," Martin said.
NO DRINKING AND DRIVING OR...
A Banner Elk man faces felony charges after police say he stole a town of Boone vehicle and drove while drunk.
Bryan George Coleman, 35, of 196 Boyden Road, Banner Elk, entered the Public Works lot at 321 E. King St. in the early morning of Oct. 19, hopped into a Chevrolet Trailblazer and started the SUV with keys left inside the vehicle, said Sgt. Matt Stevens of the Boone Police Department.
Although the lot has a chain-link fence topped by barbed wire, the gate is routinely left open overnight, Stevens said. Town vehicles, including police cars, large trucks, tractors, business vehicles and other equipment are kept at the lot when waiting for maintenance.
Tom Redmond, a retired lieutenant from the Boone Police Department, was directing traffic in the construction area on King Street when he noticed the Trailblazer coming toward him, knocking over cones in its path, Stevens said.
Redmond waved his arms and got the driver to stop, but he took off again before police backup arrived.
"Lt. Redmond had to jump out of the way of the vehicle to avoid being struck," Stevens said.
A Boone officer found the vehicle parked on a side street at about 12:50 a.m. and arrested Coleman, who was found walking away from the area, Stevens said.
WNC ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN SLOW RECOVERY
Western North Carolina's economic activity increased 0.9 percent in August, the largest increase since July 2007.
The increase follows three months of declines that totaled 0.6 percent, but as in past months, the Western North Carolina Economic Index paints a mixed picture of the region's recovery from the recent recession.
"Even a typical recovery can be slow to generate significant job growth, so in this slow and bumpy recovery, job growth is not happening at the moment and we may be waiting some time before we begin seeing it," said Dr. Todd Cherry, a co-author of the report and director of the Center for Economic Research and Policy Analysis at Appalachian State University.
The index, compiled at Appalachian, tracks the level of economic activity in 25 western North Carolina counties.
"While the index registered a large increase, the entire report gives mixed signals," Cherry said. "The good news is that the mixed signals are an improvement from the last few months. By avoiding another bad month, concerns of a downward trend are alleviated, at least for now."
According to the index, seasonally adjusted employment for western North Carolina increased 0.19 percent in August, which follows two consecutive months of declines. Statewide adjusted employment decreased 0.4 percent. "In recent history, it is a unique event to see regional employment increase while the state numbers fall," Cherry said. "Too often, we see the region fall behind the state."
EARLY VOTING STILL AVAILABLE
With one-stop, early voting numbers still low, elections officials are encouraging early voting, with three polls now open.
About 3,000 people had voted as of Tuesday morning, fewer than 8 percent of registered voters. Early polls are open that the Board of Elections office in the county courthouse in Boone, the Agricultural Conference Center in Boone and the Plemmons Student Union on the Appalachian State University campus.
Those who haven't registered but are qualified may register in person and vote at a one-stop polls in the person's county of residence during the one-stop absentee voting period. However, there is no voter registration permitted on Election Day, which is Nov. 2 this year.
Those registering on site must fill out a voter registration application and provide proof of residency by showing the elections official an appropriate form of identification with the citizen's current name and current address.
Acceptable forms of identification include: a North Carolina driver's license with current address; a utility bill with name and current address; a telephone or mobile phone bill; an electric or gas bill; a cable television bill; a water or sewage bill; or a document with name and current address from a local, state, or U.S. government agency, such as passport, government-issued photo ID,U.S. military ID, a license to hunt, fish, own a gun, etc., a property or other tax bill, automotive or vehicle registration, certified documentation of naturalization, a public housing or Social Service Agency document, a check, invoice, or letter from a government agency, a birth certificate, a student photo ID along with a document from the school showing the student's name and current address, a paycheck or paycheck stub from an employer or a W-2 statement, or a bank statement or bank-issued credit card statement.
Early votes are disqualified if the voter dies or is convicted of a felony before Election Day. One local vote was disqualified in 2008 due to voter death.
On-site voter registrations can also have their eligibility challenged, in which case the elections director and board of elections must determine eligibility. If a vote is ineligible, the board must go through secured ballots by number to remove the ineligible vote. Secured ballots are kept for three months in non-federal elections and 21 months in federal elections.
For questions on registration or polls, call the Board of Elections Office at (828) 265-8061.
APPALACHIAN TO TEST ITS SIREN WARNING SYSTEM NOV. 3
Appalachian State University will test its campuswide siren warning system Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 11:55 a.m. Tests are normally conducted on the first Wednesday of the month. For more information about the warning system, visit WWW.epo.appstate.edu/siren-warning-system.