In the News

Article Published: May. 19, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
In the News

Danny Staley has resigned from his position as director of the Appalachian District Health Department.
File photo

Staley resigns from Health Dept.

On May 3, Appalachian District Health Department director Danny Staley submitted his resignation, effective June 1.

Staley has been with Appalachian District since 1996 and, during his time in leadership, led the efforts to improve public health infrastructure with completion of two construction and one renovation project for health department offices.

Services provided at Appalachian District Health Department (ADHD) were expanded to include primary care and dental clinic programs.

In addition, ADHD has led North Carolina by participating in numerous pilot programs to improve public health in the area, including being among the first of the state's local health departments to receive full accreditation.

Staley led efforts to seek additional resources to improve and protect water quality in Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties. Quality improvement has been embraced as part of the organizational culture to create a better system to provide clinical services to patients.

ADHD has received several grant initiatives to support chronic disease prevention. In September 2010, the health department was awarded $1.6 million in additional funding, as a part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, to create sustainable policy, systems and environmental changes that will help communities in Alleghany, Ashe and Watauga counties prevent obesity. The effort has brought together community partnerships across the three counties to help create environments that make healthy choices more available for all.

Ken Richardson, chairman of the Appalachian District Board of Health, said, "We thank Danny for his service to Appalachian District and wish him well in his future endeavors to further support public health for North Carolina. The board has already begun to move expediently to appoint a new health director that will carry forward the important work of leading Appalachian District Health Department."

As of June 1, Staley will be taking on a new role as deputy director and chief operating officer for the N.C. Division of Public Health.

"It was essential for me to hire a local health director for this succession of leadership," N.C. Health Director Dr. Jeff Engel said. "The public health enterprise in North Carolina requires a strong trust, partnership and collaboration among state and local government agencies."

As of June 1, Eva Wooten, ADHD's director of nursing, who has been with the department for more than 40 years, will be stepping in to serve as interim health director until the board of health makes its appointment.

Board of Trustees reappointments, elections announced 

G.A. Sywassink of Charlotte and Hilton Head, S.C., and Michael Steinback of Asheville have been reappointed to four-year terms on the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees by the UNC Board of Governors.

In addition, Dr. H. Martin Lancaster of Cary and Dr. Brenda White Wright of Kingsport, Tenn., were elected to four-year terms on the board beginning July 1. 

Sywassink is chairman of Appalachian's board of trustees. He also is chairman and retired CEO of Standard Holding Corporation, whose business enterprises include transportation-related companies and real estate holdings.

Steinback is the current vice chairman of the board. He is a partner in Stonebridge Partners, a private equity firm in Asheville focused on acquiring and successfully growing middle-market manufacturing businesses.

Lancaster is a former president of the N.C. Community College System. He served eight years in the U.S. Congress and also served in the N.C. House of Representatives. He was a member of the UNC Tomorrow Commission, which helped develop the UNC System's strategic plan for the future, and facilitated stronger collaboration between the university and community college systems. 

Wright has more than 25 years of experience as a motivational speaker, trainer and diversity consultant. She was president and CEO of Girls Incorporated of Kingsport, Tenn., for 20 years. She also has served on a variety of for-profit and non-profit board of directors in the East Tennessee and Northwest North Carolina areas.

Registration open for High Country Triple Crown

The Institute for Health and Human Services (IHHS) at Appalachian State University announces the High Country Triple Crown, a series of three challenging and fun races covering beautiful mountain terrain.

All proceeds will benefit Girls on the Run of the High Country, a self-esteem building program for girls in the third through fifth grades.

Headquartered in Boone, the High Country Triple Crown consists of three races of varying difficulty and distance. All races showcase the breathtaking scenery of the North Carolina mountains, coupled with the vitality of the local community.

The first race in the series is The Valle Crucis Cub 7-Miler, which will be held June 4 and is sponsored by Mast General Store. The race begins at 8 a.m. at the Valle Crucis School. Participants can register online at Early registration fees are available until May 28 at $25. After May 28 and until race day, the registration fee is $35.

Other races in the series include The High Country Half Marathon (new for 2011), sponsored by ZAP Fitness Aug. 27 at 8 a.m. The Knob, sponsored by Foscoe Rentals, is a 2-mile race and will be held Oct. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Runners who participate in all three High Country Triple Crown races will be eligible to win $1,000 in cash prizes. Registration fees will be reduced for participants who register early or register for all three races. The cost of all three races is $70.

For more information and to register for the The Cub, The High Country Half Marathon or The Knob, visit or call (828) 262-7557.

NCDOT, public address bicycle and pedestrian safety

In North Carolina, a number of factors - including increasing public interest in bicycle and pedestrian transportation, a growing population, elevated rates of adult and childhood obesity, and a high number of pedestrian crashes and fatalities - indicate a need to address bicycle and pedestrian issues on a statewide level.

In recognition of this need, the N.C. Department of Transportation led a statewide public involvement effort this past winter to identify problems and prioritize solutions specific to bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The first part of the effort was a survey administered by NCDOT that generated more than 16,000 responses. The survey found:

72 percent of the respondents do not feel it is safe to bicycle in their community for recreation or daily needs. A lack of on-road bicycle lanes was cited as the top issue and most-needed safety improvement;
Less than 43 percent feel it is safe to walk to destinations in their community for daily needs, with a lack of sidewalks cited as the top safety issue; and
More than 90 percent said having a safe bicycle and pedestrian network contributes to their personal wellbeing and quality of life.

The public outreach process also included a series of discussions held at various locations across the state with law enforcement, public health professionals, engineers, planners, business owners and advocates. These sessions led to the development of strategies to address challenges related to bicycle and pedestrian safety.

"Our citizens have sent a strong message about what they want," Deputy Secretary of Transit Jim Westmoreland said. "The results of this outreach campaign underscore the importance of NCDOT and local communities collaborating on bicycle and pedestrian planning and identifying funding to meet critical needs; and additionally, will play an important role as we develop a plan for our state's transportation future."

The highest priority identified was a comprehensive implementation of NCDOT's Complete Streets Policy at both the state and local level. Adopted in 2009, the policy demonstrates the department's commitment to designing roads that enable safe access for all users.

Other strategies centered on:

Education and awareness programs;
Policy updates and funding initiatives;
Infrastructure needs;
Improvements through legislation and enforcement processes; and
Better interagency coordination to connect land use and transportation planning.

The results of these statewide discussions will be used to support planning, decision-making and future investment in the state's bicycle and pedestrian network. Specifically, the results will be incorporated into the department's 2040 Plan for the state's future transportation network, which is currently being developed.

To learn more about the findings of the online questionnaire or the regional roundtable discussions, read the full report, "Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Strategies in North Carolina: Statewide Input and Priorities," on the Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation website,

The outreach campaign was administered by NCDOT in partnership with the Institute for Transportation Research and Education's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program at N.C. State University.

For more information, contact Helen Chaney at (919) 707-2608 or ( , or Sarah O'Brien at (919) 515-8703 or (

Facebook Fans
Home » Watauga News » In the News
Local Business Marketplace

Find more businesses on

Attorneys · Automotive · Health Care
Home & Garden · Hotels & Lodging Restaurants
Retail · Recreation · Real Estate & Rentals · Services

Banner Elk My Hometown
Boone My Hometown

From Our Advertisors

  1. Bairstow Eves. Lincoln
ASU Sports