In the News

Article Published: Jul. 14, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Westglow in Travel + Leisure Top Ten

Travel + Leisure has revealed its Top Ten Destination Spas ("World's Best Awards 2011"), and Blowing Rock's Westglow Resort & Spa is among them, being recognized as the second-highest rated destination spa in the world.

The "World's Best Awards" are voted on by the readers of Travel + Leisure to honor the top hotels, destinations, airlines, cruises, spas and transportation companies in the world. In the annual survey, destination spas were rated independently by Travel + Leisure readers in five categories: Accommodations/ambiance, treatments, service, food and value.

The Top Ten Destination Spas will be featured in the September issue of Travel + Leisure magazine (on newsstands Aug. 23), and the 2011 results are available on

"We are honored to be in the company of these other world-renowned destination spas," said Bonnie Schaefer, owner of Westglow Resort & Spa. "Westglow strives to provide guests with an unparalleled experience, and we are so pleased that Travel + Leisure readers value this."

The first-place winner is Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, and third is Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Vista, Calif.

For more information on Westglow Resort & Spa, visit or call (800) 562-0807.

Kellar Radio Talent Institute under way

The Kellar Radio Talent Institute at Appalachian State University, now in its fifth year, began Monday with its largest class of students.

The institute has received partial sponsorship from the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters for the 2011 program, held July 11-20.

The NCAB is recognized as one of the top associations for broadcasters in the nation in terms of legislative victories, education, services, benefits and legal assistance. The NCAB's support has allowed the institute to expand its reach beyond Appalachian's campus to include students from other universities.

Twenty-one students have been accepted into this year's institute, including students from North Carolina State University, UNC-Greensboro and Marshall University, as well as Appalachian.
Expanding the opportunity to students from other colleges and universities has been a goal for the institute's organizers.

The Kellar Radio Talent Institute was created in 2007 by Dan Vallie, an industry veteran and founder of Vallie•Richards•Donovan Consulting Inc.

The institute's mission is to attract, train and coach talented students who have a passion for the broadcast industry, as well as possible ownership. The program has received rave reviews from industry professionals and program graduates.

The first and only one of its kind, the Kellar Radio Talent Institute is an incubator for future radio broadcasters.

More than seven out of 10 students who complete the Kellar Radio Talent Institute work in broadcasting or a related field.

To find out more about the institute, visit or contact Dan Vallie at (828) 262-3919 or (828) 262-7621 or via email at (

American chestnut returns to Avery County

Almost a century ago, the chestnut blight depleted the entire local mountain forest of the flowering American chestnut tree.

Remnants of these trees, Chestnut shingles that were manufactured from this huge loss, can still be found on some of the oldest homes and structures in the Linville Resorts community.

Just in time for Avery County's Centennial Celebration and on the eve of The Crossnore School's Centennial Celebration, students planted a row of blight resistant American chestnut trees symbolically along the path that leads from the town parking lot across the hill leading to the Sloop Amphitheater beside the original stone hospital structure built by the Drs. Sloop in 1928.

Crossnore faculty and staff located a nursery in Florida that had blight-resistant American chestnut seedlings. Once in the High Country, the seedlings were kept in a greenhouse until late spring, when they were placed in Avery County soil.

According to The American Chestnut Foundation's website, "The American Chestnut tree reigned over 200 million acres of eastern woodlands from Maine to Florida, and from the Piedmont west to the Ohio Valley, until succumbing to a lethal fungus infestation, known as the chestnut blight, during the first half of the 20th century. An estimated 4 billion American Chestnuts, one-quarter of the hardwood tree population, grew within this range."

For more information on The Crossnore School, click to or call (828) 733-4305.

Experts: Geocaching promotes exercise among teenagers

The popularity of geocaching may be a way to encourage youth to get more exercise, according to two professors from Appalachian State University's College of Health Sciences.

Rebecca Battista, an associate professor in the college's department of health, leisure and exercise science, and Stephanie West, also an associate professor in the department, recruited 56 high school students to participate in geocaching activities and then rate their experience.

Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt that uses GPS units or GPS-enabled smartphones to locate a hidden "treasure" or container. Participants follow GPS coordinates and use a description of the geocache to find the cache and document their find on the website

"We thought that geocaching, which combines technology with an outdoor activity, would be a good way to encourage youth to just go walking," Batista said. "It's quite fun. You are with a group, and for children and particularly teens, the social connection is good, and you find a treasure, which provides a little more incentive to participate."

Battista and others created four geocache sites that took about 60 minutes to locate. The students all reported that combining technology with physical activity was more fun than just walking.

Federal guidelines recommend 60 minutes of physical activity five days a week.

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