Stick Boy buys Melanie's
The Mountain Times has confirmed Stick Boy Bread Company owner Carson Coatney has purchased Melanie's Food Fantasy, located at 664 W. King St. in downtown Boone.
Established in 1991, Melanie's has quickly become a fixture at its present location, known for organic coffee, its large selection of breakfast and lunch items and its outdoor seating.
Stick Boy Bread Company, Boone Area Chamber of Commerce's Small Business of the Year 2010, known for its assortment of breads and pastries, has been open since August 2001.
Coatney does not anticipate big changes at Melanie's.
"We plan on keeping things pretty much the same over there, and Patrick, who worked for me at Stick Boy, is my business partner and general manager at Melanie's now," he said, via e-mail.
Calls to former owner and founder Melanie Patterson had not been returned at press time, but insiders say Patterson needed a break and plans to enjoy her success away from the kitchen for the time being.
Coatney said the deal was finalized Tuesday and that he is trying to "make a quiet and smooth transition," and is waiting until the shift has been well established to make "any big announcements."
At present, both Stick Boy and Melanie's are conducting business as usual.
- Lauren K. Ohnesorge
Grandfather celebrates National Trails Day
On June 5, Grandfather Mountain will celebrate the 32nd anniversary of its organized trail program, as part of the 18th annual National Trails Day.
Volunteers are invited to help with trail maintenance in the mountain's backcountry. The backcountry became a North Carolina State Park this past year, and volunteer efforts on the trails will be led by rangers from the North Carolina State Park Service, as well as rangers from the Grandfather Mountain travel attraction.
"We appreciate the support and the assistance from the public. This is a good opportunity to help the new state park," said Sue McBean, superintendent of Grandfather Mountain State Park.
To ensure the health and safety of the trails, volunteers will help with routine maintenance, including debris clean up, water bar installation, trail marking and high branch removal.
"This past winter was the worst winter we've had since I have worked here," said trails manager Luke Appling. "We have placed all of our focus on cleaning up the trails for the spring, and we have gotten behind on our regularly scheduled duties."
Volunteers will meet at the Grandfather Mountain entrance gate at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Tools are provided, but volunteers are asked to wear good hiking shoes, gloves and safety glasses.
"This will be a great opportunity for the trails staff to get caught up and for the public to gain an appreciation for the trails system," Appling said.
Admission to the Grandfather Mountain travel attraction is free to those who volunteer. For more information about the National Trails Day Volunteer Project at Grandfather Mountain or to volunteer, send an email to (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (828) 737-0833.
Watauga jobless rate drops in April
After more than a year or up-and-down unemployment rates, Watauga County saw a surge in jobs during April to move it up near the top of the state.
Watauga's April unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in April, down from 8.8 percent in March.
That's the sixth-lowest rate in the state, with Currituck (5.8 percent) the lowest and Scotland (15.8 percent) the highest. Among surrounding counties, Avery's April rate was 9.1 percent, Ashe's was 11.3 percent and Catawba's was 12.8 percent.
Unemployment dropped in 99 of the 100 counties during April, with the statewide rate at 10 percent. Locally, 1,769 eligible workers are still unemployed.
In the past year, eligible people in Watauga County have received $14.5 million in unemployment benefits. Statewide, $5.4 billion in unemployment benefits has been paid out over the past year.
- Scott Nicholson
Watauga Rescue nets state grant
The Watauga Rescue Squad has been awarded a $24,730 grant from the N.C. State Fire Marshal and Department of Insurance offices.
The funds are available through the state 2009 Volunteer Rescue/EMS Fund. The check will be mailed to chief Randy Collins to be used to purchase necessary equipment, which must be approved by the Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshall.
"Departments that provide rescue and EMS services to their communities play a vital part in the protection of our citizens, and they deserve the best equipment so they can do their jobs safely and efficiently," said Wayne Goodwin, insurance commissioner and state fire marshal. "I know the Watauga County Emergency & Rescue Squad Inc. will put this money to good use in service to their community. Thank you, chief Randy Collins, and thanks to your staff for all of your hard work and dedication."
Watauga County Emergency & Rescue Squad, Inc. has received a total of $248,979.54 from the Volunteer Rescue/EMS Fund in the past 21 years since the program began.
The General Assembly created the Volunteer Rescue/EMS Fund in 1989 to help volunteer units raise money for equipment and supplies. The grant funds must be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to an approved amount, by monies raised locally to purchase necessary equipment. Since the program's inception, the Department of Insurance has distributed more than $24 million to rescue and EMS squads across the state.
- Melanie Marshall
Paving scams continue in Watauga
In response to multiple reports of paving companies using high-pressure tactics to coerce homeowners into contracts, the Watauga County Sheriff's Office has now partnered with the N.C. Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection.
During the past few months, WCSO, the Boone Police Department and neighboring agencies have received reports of intimidation, pressure or coercion by paving companies. Citizens are encouraged not to sign any contract until they fully understand the terms as many citizens have experienced expenditures in the thousands.
Anyone who feels they have been pressured into a contract is asked to call (877) 566-7226. The office of consumer protection is aware of the activity in the area and is prepared to handle the complaint.
- Melanie Marshall