Article Published: Apr. 26, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Paving scams return to region
Area sheriff's departments have issued a statement warning residents of a paving scam that has occurred in both Ashe and Watauga counties.

Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman and Ashe Sheriff James Williams have received reports that people presenting themselves as a paving company have approached residents saying they "have additional material that was leftover from another job."

The company then offers to pave the person's driveway, with what often turns out to be inferior material and/or workmanship.

Hagaman added that the company often grossly overprices the job, leaving the resident with a $10,000 paving bill that would have, under normal circumstances, cost far below that amount.
This scam has been reported in Watauga County multiple times over the last couple of years, Hagaman said.

"There are many fine local contractors who are licensed and insured, and can provide superior material, workmanship, references and guarantees that these fly-by-night contractors can't provide," Hagaman said.

"Both Sheriff Williams and I, and other local law enforcement agencies, strongly encourage our citizens to be wary of unlicensed contractors."

- Melanie Marshall

ASU spring commencement May 8 & 9
Commencement ceremonies will be held May 8 and 9 at Appalachian State University.
The ceremony for the Reich College of Education will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 8, in the Holmes Convocation Center. Graduates and their guests will view a multi-media presentation.
The ceremony for the Cratis D. Williams Graduate School will follow at 12:30 p.m. A video highlighting the academic career of five graduates will be shown.

At 4:30 p.m., ceremonies begin for the Walker College of Business. The guest speaker will be Frankie Willis, co-owner and president of Trucks Inc., a trucking firm based in Jackson, Ga.
Ceremonies Sunday, May 9, begin at 9 a.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center for graduates of the College of Fine and Applied Arts. The guest speaker will be Richard Rose, Barter Theatre's producing artistic director.

Graduates of the Hayes School of Music will participate in ceremonies beginning at 1 p.m. at the Broyhill Music Center. The guest speaker will be Dr. Arthur Unsworth, former dean of the music school.

Graduates of University College and the College of Arts and Sciences will participate in ceremonies beginning at 4 p.m. in the Holmes Convocation Center. The guest speaker will be Phil Francis, superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Watauga ESC recognized by state
The local Employment Security Commission office in Boone helped 700 people find jobs last year, and even though unemployment increased overall, Gov. Beverly Perdue selected the statewide agency to receive the Governor's Award for Excellence.

ESC regional manager Jim McMahan presented certificates and paperweights to the Boone office staff on April 12, citing retraining efforts as well as job support.

"This award reflects the outstanding service this agency has provided to our nearly 1 million clients during 2009," McMahan said. "These efforts include services to the jobseeker, the unemployed worker and local employers. We are very proud to recognize the hard work of the offices in the field who deal with our clients face to face every day and best understand the obstacles they face in this recession."

During 2009, the Employment Security Commission office in Boone provided assistance to more than 5,000 applicants. While best known for administering North Carolina's unemployment insurance program, the agency also assists job seekers in nearly every aspect of job search including planning, job bank services, training, special assistance to trade affected workers and military veterans.

The agency also works with employers to find applicants suitable for their business, facilitate assistance programs for applicants with special needs and provide employment tax advice.

- Scott Nicholson

Food pantry, clothing closet opens in Blowing Rock
A food pantry and clothing closet have been opened at Blowing Rock School.

"Blowing Rock is a community that shows they care each and every day," a spokesperson for the community service said.

In this instance, though, C.A.R.E.S. is an acronym for Children Are Really Extra Special, the spokesperson said.

The mission of Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S. is to provide food and clothing for those in need in the community.

"Thanks to the generous donations we've received from businesses, churches, clubs, as well as individuals in our community, we have accomplished this by opening a food pantry and clothing closet in Blowing Rock School," the spokespersons said.

The pantry and clothing closet are open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.

"If you are in need, or would like to find out more about donating, please call Trish Kohlasch at Blowing Rock School at (828) 295-3204," the spokesperson said.

Blowing Rock Spring Fling April 23-24
Blowing Rock School is celebrating spring with a fling that will cover two days of communitywide activities April 23-24 in Blowing Rock.

Its first Health and Wellness Spring Fling will be included, and events will kick off Friday, April 23, with a family spaghetti dinner, movie night for the kids, live music and the start of a silent auction.

Saturday begins with a 5K run sponsored by Rumple Presbyterian Church and the Blowing Rock PTO.

"We then begin the Spring Fling with a One Mile Fun Walk at Blowing Rock School for the kids, silent auction, health and wellness information booths, inflatables, numerous kids' games and activities, live music, food, drinks and so much more," a spokesperson for the event said.

For more Information, go to the Blowing Rock School Web site or check out the event on Facebook. Registration for the 5K can be done online, or download a form from the school web site.

"So, please join us for a two-day event to highlight health and wellness in our community," the spokesperson said.

For more information, visit or look up Blowing Rock School Spring Fling on Facebook.

Commissioners hear comments on community center
Former county leaders were on the other side of the gavel in requesting the board of commissioners' support in building a new community center.

Jimmy Hodges presented a request for a community center in eastern Watauga County. He said the western community center had been around for years and was enjoyed by the residents of that portion of the county.

"We feel a little bit neglected on the other side of the county," said Hodges, who is a former county commissioner.

He said there could be a piece of property available for the project that might be suitable and with infrastructure in place.

He said the county shouldn't wait until it had enough money to pay for it all or it would never be built.

Mary Moretz, also a former county commissioner, said, "We seldom ask the county for anything. We are a strong, independent, reliable people."

She pointed to the successful consolidation of elementary schools into Parkway Elementary School, and she said the people could build it on their own but it would take many years.

"We deserve it, we have earned it, and we have paid for it," she said, noting the deep valley regions meant eastern residents were farther from Boone than most county residents.
Shelton Wilder, a high school teacher, said people had suggested arts, craft and exercise classes, as well as a community kitchen and library. He said a center would also help forge a community identity.

About 30 people stood to be recognized as supporters of a new center.

Commissioner Jim Deal said the county had explored such a center for a couple of years and was seeking an opportunity or donation that could help start the project. He said the sitting board of commissioners never placed money as the first consideration in a public need.

The commissioners expect to discuss the issue during upcoming budget deliberations.

- Scott Nicholson

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