Article Published: Jun. 17, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Humane Society temporarily suspends dog adoption

Although no dogs are currently ill, the Watauga County Humane Society is suspending canine adoption through June 24.

Lynn Northup, shelter manager, said the shelter recently took in a stray that was confirmed to have the canine distemper virus.

A case of distemper has not been seen in the area for years, Northup said. The standard vaccines for dogs include a distemper vaccine. However, unvaccinated pets can contract the virus from wild animals.

Northup said the female stray dog was picked up in a rural area of the county.

The humane society vaccinates animals as soon as they enter the shelter, and no other potential pets have shown any symptoms of the virus.

Northup said the suspension of adoption for two weeks is only a precaution to observe the dogs in the shelter. The incubation period for distemper virus is two weeks, meaning dogs may contract the virus without showing symptoms for up to 14 days. The chances are slim any other shelter dogs would have distemper.

Northup reminds residents to keep their pet current on vaccinations.

Distemper is a multi-system virus and often fatal. The early symptoms of distemper include fever, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting and mild eye inflammation. Cases are rare, and vaccines will prevent the virus.

The stray dog that came into the shelter was euthanized when she didn't respond to a week of treatment.

Canine adoption will resume on June 24, and the cat adoption is still available. People are still welcome to visit the shelter to play with or choose a dog, in the meantime, as it is highly unlikely any of them will fall ill.

The shelter is open Tuesday through Friday from 12:30 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12:30 to 5 p.m., and closed Monday. Visit the website to view photos of the animals up for adoption at

- By Melanie Marshall

Benefit singing to aid area family

On Sunday, June 20, at 5 p.m., Bethany Lutheran Church on Big Hill Road in Boone will be hosting a benefit singing for the family of Stanley Grubb.

Grubb sustained a serious injury in April that prevents him from working and will most likely keep him from returning to his regular job in the future. He has no disability insurance.

Additionally, his wife has medical problems that have prevented her from working for the last ten years.

Sunday's event will feature music by The Sheets Family, along with Cecil Gurganus, all well known in the area for their traditional mountain-style music.

A love offering will be taken to assist the Grubb family with mounting expenses.
Refreshments will follow the singing.

The public is invited to attend and lend a helping hand.

- Sherrie Norris

Boone council tweaks budget

The Boone Town Council put some finishing touches on its proposed $22.3 million budget, discussing recreation, room tax revenues and water conservation efforts.

The budget is up about 14 percent over last year's, largely due to several capital priorities, with about $1.1 million moved from the general fund to balance the budget. Another $200,000 is available from room tax revenues, and an additional $100,000 will come from the N.C. Department of Transportation's King Street widening.

As proposed, the property tax rate would remain the same, but water rates would increase slightly, based on interest rates for money borrowed to expand water service.

After two budget work sessions, the council had made about $10,000 worth of minor changes to the budget recommended by staff, which included several council priorities.

The most costly priorities added for the next fiscal year are the post office renovation ($450,000); King Street lighting ($200,000); Delmar Street improvements ($200,000); Chestnut Street improvements ($170,000); and reinstating contributions to the capital outlay fund ($250,000).

- Scott Nicholson

Area TDAs to merge

The Watauga County Tourism Development Authority has approved an administrative merger with the Boone TDA, and the agreements have been signed, leaving the authorities to pool some resources and explore joint marketing.

Watauga TDA director Wright Tilley said the two boards would still operate independently in making decisions on how to spend room-tax funds collected in their respective jurisdictions.

"It's more of the Boone TDA is contracting with us to run their administration, and it will still have a board," Tilley said. "It will run pretty much the same."

The two boards will also be exploring requests for proposals from advertising firms to create branding for the region.

"What will change for us is that between the two organizations, we will save a pretty good amount of administrative funds which we can put more money into marketing," he said. "I am also excited about the fact that it will be one consolidated message that will be easier for the consumer."

The Watauga TDA essentially replaces the role the Boone TDA formerly contracted for with the Boone Convention & Visitor's Bureau through the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. "We will probably have a part-time administrative position and we will look at another position," Tilley said.

The Watauga TDA expects to collect revenues of about $735,000 in the current fiscal year. Under state law, one-third of room-tax money must be spent on tourism promotion while two-thirds is spent on capital improvements designed to enhance tourism.

The new agreement formally takes effect on July 1. Tilley said the two boards would continue to meet separately and make their own marketing decisions but would probably meet twice a year to discuss larger plans.

- Scott Nicholson

High Country Host annual meeting June 17

High Country Host will celebrate 30 years of regional co-op marketing at its annual meeting Thursday, June 17, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Chetola Resort.

"Everyone who has been part of the Host and its history" is invited to attend, said Millie Barbee, High Country Host executive director.

Tickets cost $15 per person and include hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, tea and a cash bar. Please call (828) 264-1299 or email ( by Tuesday, June 15 to RSVP.

Barbee explained that the main focus of the event will be to commemorate the organization's "successful regional cooperative marketing from 1980 to 2010."

"In addition to celebrating the Host's past history, we will focus attention on the exciting marketing plans for the future," Barbee said.

High Country Host was formed as part of a marketing plan to combat the decline in visitors to the region due to an economic downturn. Today, the membership marketing organization serves six counties in northwestern North Carolina and includes 280 tourism related businesses.

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