DBDA seeks to renew Mainstreet
The Downtown Boone Development Association (DBDA) is hopeful about renewing its contract with the town of Boone to administer its Mainstreet Program.
The DBDA will make a presentation with a report on yearly spending, a list of activities, plans for the year ahead, and an annual audit that is submitted to the town and the state of North Carolina.
The town is conducting a survey of downtown businesses and property owners to determine how to spend municipal service district funds in the future and what role the DBDA might serve.
"Right now, we facilitate 17 community events," DBDA director Tuesdae Rice said. "We have public meetings for stakeholders and business owners. We have facade incentive and sign incentive grants to improve properties, and we facilitate the public art program."
The DBDA has worked with the town on streetscape plans, Rice said, with input on parking and a $10,000 contribution for site furnishings.
Rice also serves a promotional role to spread the word about downtown activities, as well as participating in a weekly cable television show.
The North Carolina Mainstreet Program hosts informational workshops and provides grants, and the DBDA has been a member since 1993. Rice is making a presentation to the town council during the annual budget retreat Wednesday, which will be an opportunity to explore infrastructure grants.
Last year, the town council voted to place restrictions on the use of the municipal service district tax.
The tax is estimated to bring in $115,009 in revenue this fiscal year.
Instead of having DBDA manage the funds, the council voted that 80 percent of municipal district taxes would be used for downtown improvements, with 20 percent available for administrative purposes.
- Scott Nicholson
Cooperative Extension hosts drinking water screening
The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a low-cost water testing event on April 7.
With the recent drought drawing attention to available water supplies, water quality has become the focus of several educational efforts.
The extension service advises testing of drinking water, since private wells and springs are the responsibility of the homeowner.
Unlike municipal water, which is checked daily for contaminants, private drinking water is not checked by anyone, unless the owner of the drinking water system checks it, said extension service agent Wendy Patoprsty.
The extension service is teaming up with the Watauga County Health Department and the town of Boone Water Treatment Facility to test 100 drinking water samples.
The sterile sample bottles should be picked up before the screening, and directions for gathering the sample will be provided. The screening will be held April 7 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., taking place at the Agricultural Conference Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone.
Cost is $15 for county residents and $20 for out-of-county residents. The program is available to the first 100 people to get sample bottles.
Drinking water samples will be screened for the two most common contaminants -coliform bacteria and nitrates.
High levels of nitrate in drinking water are particularly harmful to infants and may indicate that other contaminants are also entering the well.
Private wells near nitrate sources, such as septic systems, crop fields or animal waste, are at risk of nitrate contamination. Recommendations are for annual tests to determine if bacteria is present, with more frequent tests if bacteria has been previously discovered.
For more information, contact Patoprsty at (828) 264-3061 or e-mail Wendy_patoprsty@ncsu.edu.
- Scott Nicholson
Bare Bones Boutique to re-open
The Bare Bones Boutique thrift store is scheduled to re-open in early May.
The store is operated by the Watauga Humane Society and is located on Don Hayes Road in Boone.
With the construction of the new animal shelter under way and the dog park next door, the Bare Bones Boutique will complete a geographic triangle for the organization.
"The timing for reopening our thrift store seems ideal considering the economic climate and our planned opening of our new animal shelter in the fall," said project coordinator and Humane Society board member Ellen Jo Kraemer. "We've cleaned and painted, and are busy putting together a store which will be less crowded and more customer friendly."
Thrift store hours will be Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon until 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The target opening date for the resale store is Wednesday May 5.
Merchandise donations for Bare Bones Boutique, as well as for the upcoming Humane Society Rummage Sale, are currently being accepted each Monday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Blue Skies Storage at 482 State Farm Road in Boone.
"Warmer weather seems to inspire spring cleaning, and we welcome resalable clothing, books, housewares, linens, small working appliances and electronics, jewelry, furniture, toys, and decorative items," Kraemer said.
For further information about Bare Bones Boutique, call Kraemer at (828) 264-6468, or visit http://www.wataugahumanesociety.org.
- Melanie Marshall
Grandfather reports a cold, wet March
The weather data from the month of March recorded at the official U.S. Weather Service reporting station next to Grandfather Mountain's Mile High Swinging Bridge shows unseasonably cold temperatures and more precipitation than normal.
The average high temperature of 39.93 degrees Fahrenheit was 4.72 degrees colder than normal for March, and the average low temperature of 27.6 degrees was 1.01 degrees below normal for this time of year.
The rainfall total of 8.32 inches for the past month was 2.59 inches, or 45 percent, above the 54-year average for March of 5.73 inches. Rain for the year-to-date totals 25.76 inches; which is 10.74 inches (or 72 percent) above the 54-year norm for this time of year.
The snowfall total of 13 inches for the past month was 2.93 inches, or 29 percent above of the 54-year average snowfall total for March of 10.07 inches. Grandfather Mountain has had 94.5 inches of snow for the winter-to-date, up 96 percent from the norm of 48.15 inches for this point in the season.
For more information on the 54 years of weather data from Grandfather Mountain, see the interactive weather database at http://www.grandfather.com.
April 9 is last day to register to vote and for one-stop voting
The last day to register to vote and to change party affiliation for the May 4 primary election is Friday, April 9.
The Watauga County Board of Elections will be holding one-stop voting for the May 4 primary election at three locations: Board of Elections office, 842 West King St., Thursday, April 15, through Friday, April 30, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, May 1, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; the Agricultural Extension Center, 252 Poplar Grove Road, Thursday, April 15, through Friday, April 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, May 1, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; and at the Multicultural Center in the ASU Plemmons Student Unio