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AP: Biden elected 46th U.S. president
Harris first Black woman to serve as vice president

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Associated Press on Saturday, Nov. 7, called Pennsylvania and Nevada for Democrat Joe Biden, projecting he had surpassed the 270 Electoral College threshold needed to unseat Republican Donald Trump in the race for U.S. president.

The outcome of the presidential race was not immediately known on the night of the election, Nov. 3, and election workers in a number of battleground states have taken days to count an unprecedented number of mail-in absentee ballots.

The Associated Press declared the former vice president the winner of his birth state, Pennsylvania, at 11:25 a.m. Saturday as he held a 34,243-vote lead in the state’s vote count. The AP determined that the remaining ballots left to be counted would not allow Trump to catch up. At 12:13 p.m., the AP declared that Biden had won Nevada.

Biden, 77, was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted, the AP reported. With counting continuing in some states, Biden had already received more than 74 million votes, more than any presidential candidate in history, according to the AP.

Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, becomes the first Black woman and the first person of South Asian descent to be elected vice president, becoming the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in U.S. government, the AP stated.

Trump had not conceded the race as of Tuesday, Nov. 17.


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A Life of Service

Bill Carter served in the National Guard for 22 years.

JEFFERSON — Ashe County veteran Bill Carter was born in Jefferson and grew up in the Big Horse Creek area of Lansing. He has always lived within the county limits and currently serves as Post Commander for the local VFW post.

Photo Submitted 

Bill Carter and his wife, Susan, at a VFW Banquet in 2014.

He worked for many independent mechanic shops over the years. Carter worked at the Ford place for 17 years in West Jefferson until 1988. He started his own business, The Powerstroke Shop, in 2004.

When he enlisted in the United States National Guard in 1979, he completed basic training and Military Occupation Specialty training at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

According to Carter, the Ashe County unit has switched to different trucks over the years and he went through three different truck types during the 20 years he was in the Jefferson unit. The last two years he was in the National Guard, he served in the Concord unit.

According to Carter, when he first joined the Jefferson unit he was 1453rd transportation and between 1982 and 1983 the unit switched over to the 1450th transportation unit. They also switched trucks at this time and the second trucks they were given was what they took to Operation Desert Storm.

Photo Submitted 

Bill Carter

Carter said while he served in the 1450th unit, the state began pushing marksmanship within the units. The battalion was assigned to be machine gunners and he was assigned to be in charge of this. He and Ashe County resident Mark Mallette, were the ones who started the machine gun teams in the 1450th.

The unit competed a couple years and the first year they competed, Carter took a novice third place trophy home. The second year they competed, the team took home a fourth place trophy and Carter won the second place trophy in the division.

According to Carter, they started bringing in teams from Lenoir to compete in the matches. There were two truck platoons and a maintenance platoon at that time in Lenoir and a one truck platoon and headquarters platoon in Jefferson.

“Me and one of the guys from Lenoir started shooting on a team together and the first year we competed as a team we took second place in the state,” Carter said.

The first-place team went to Nationals and the second-place team went to Camp Blanding in Florida to compete in the Regionals against the 17 states. At that match, the closest team to Carter and his teammate was 248 points behind them.

According to Carter, the general who was handing out trophies said it was the biggest gap he had ever seen in any shooting match.

“We took first place down there and after that we placed higher at the state level,” Carter said.

He then stepped back and became the coach of the team. The first two years he coached first place teams in North Carolina, back to back. At Nationals his team placed third one year and fourth place one year.

He later became certified as a truck driver instructor. This was due to several units in the state making the switch from fuel artillery to transportation.

“So, we had to train those guys to become truck drivers,” Carter said.

In 1990, they were mobilized in Operation Desert Storm where Carter served as a team leader with 12 men under his instruction. He and his unit were in the Basra area for total of two weeks as they provided fuel for all of the equipment after the cease fire was over.

“We got lucky, we took 68 pieces of rolling equipment to the desert, we brought 68 rolling pieces of equipment back,” Carter said.

Their unit brought all the equipment back even though some of it was no longer in good shape after the operation. His unit ended up receiving the trucks that the Concord unit had upon their return, which was more suitable for over-the-highway use. According to Carter, the first two lines of trucks his unit had were off-road trucks.

According to Carter, they set many records during Desert Storm with the amount of fuel, equipment and supplies they had transported. They were a POL unit and they assisted the 1454th unit in transport and supplies.

Carter and his unit delivered over 800 million gallons of fuel and hundreds of thousands of tons of supplies. They had zero accidents and the only incident they had was when one truck clipped their fuel tank over another truck that was parked on the side of the highway.

He recalled driving on the highways in Saudi Arabia as very dangerous.

During the ground battle of Desert Storm, Carter said they had to sleep on the hoods of their trucks or on top of their trailers and did not experience good rest.

According to Carter, he and his unit just returned from a mission, took a shower and were eating in their tent when they were told to pack up their stuff and prepare to enter the ground battle.

He recalled how windy it was that night at the staging area, with some rain mixed in. He and his unit did not any sleep that night and was up all night waiting to head into Iraq. Right before daylight, they began moving into Iraq and went 48 hours without sleep during the ground battle.

According to Carter, they were fortunate that nobody in his unit, to his knowledge had to fire a shot.

After returning from Desert Storm in 1991, he later joined the VFW in 1993. He was in the VFW for about two years when the man who served as Quartermaster suffered from a severe heart attack and died. They had to elect another Quartermaster and Carter was the one who was elected.

He was the Quartermaster for two years before he was elected as Commander. He served as Commander for eight years at the post and then was elected to District Commander for two years. He served in that capacity for two years, before returning to the post and being re-elected as Post Commander.

Carter currently serves as Post Commander of the VFW. He also serves as National aide-de-camp for the state of North Carolina which assists the national commander when coming to the state.

“If a national commander comes to the state of North Carolina, I have to make sure his accommodations, travel and everything is taken care of,” Carter said.

He served as part of the Jefferson unit from 1979 to 1998. In 1998, he was offered the position of platoon sergeant in Concord, N.C., which he accepted.

Carter retired from the National Guard on Oct. 31, 2000 as Sergeant First Class and recently celebrated 20 years of retirement.

Growing up, he said he looked up to his older brother who is 16 years his senior. He joined the United States Marine Corps at age 16 and served in the Vietnam War.

As Post Commander for the VFW, Carter helps take care of any issues veterans in Ashe County may have.


Community
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From military to the law, Houck never stopped serving

ASHE COUNTY — For many veterans of the United States Military, it can be difficult to figure out the next stage of their lives. Others, such as Ashe County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Danny Houck, have a much easier time deciding what to do with their desire to serve.

Before he was the second-highest ranking law enforcement officer in Ashe County, Houck was a member of the JROTC program at Beaver Creek High School, going through the program run by Bob Carol.

“Probably one of the people who most influenced me was Bob Carol,” Houck said. “He worked with the JROTC program, he was over the JROTC program, and he really helped a lot of kids get to where they were going or wanted to go.”

Houck was a part of a group of six friends, who joined him on his military journey.

“We hung out together and went through JROTC at Beaver Creek. We decided that we wanted to enlist in the military, so we enlisted in the National Guard over here in Jefferson between our junior and senior years of high school,” Houck said. “So we went through Army boot camp together and were stationed in the same platoon through boot camp. That was a fun summer for us.”

After graduating from boot camp at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, they came back for one more year of school. Houck said for 18-year-olds, going through boot camp and then coming back to high school made them feel on top of the world.

“We graduated high school and went to our advanced training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and it was all six of us,” Houck said.

Once the advanced training was over, they went about normal lives, getting jobs or going to school. However, that ended in October, 1990, when their unit was called up to serve in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War. Houck was mobilized out of Fort Lee alongside the rest of the 1450th.

“I was 18 when I got that call,” Houck said. He said it was sad leaving his family, but Houck wanted to see the world. “Over in Saudi, we played a lot of rook, a lot of horseshoes and a lot of volleyball. At 18 we didn’t have a lot of fear of nothing at that point.”

Houck and his unit were stationed in Saudi Arabia for roughly seven months, during which they were transporting supplies.

“We hauled fuel. When we didn’t have a fuel run, they’d give us a flatbed trailer and we’d go either get beans or bullets,” Houck said.

After returning, Houck moved on, shooting machine guns in competition, with Houck’s team winning a state competition and moving onto nationals one year. Houck had other plans beyond shooting 60,000 rounds every weekend.

Houck graduated from Appalachian State with a degree in criminal justice and went through basic law enforcement training from Wilkes Community College before joining the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy under former sheriff Jim Hartley from February, 1998 until September 1999. Houck then joined the Boone Police Department until returning to Ashe in 2018 as Chief Deputy under Sheriff B. Phil Howell.

Houck said the transition from military to was an easy one for him, and makes sense for other veterans. He noted the desire to serve, but also the background in being taught how to lead.

“It seems like even in the military, those who enlist have a heart of service, that they want to serve their community or serve their nation. That’s always been my thing,” Houck said.

Apart from some time spent on military bases and in the middle east, Houck never strayed too far from Ashe County. He said a big part of it was his family, wanting to take care of his parents.

He said the military made him who he is, and who he will be.

“Being in the military changed my whole life, just giving me my commitment to my country, my commitment to my county and maturing me,” Houck said.


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Jordan, Sands and Powers take commissioner seats, Russell loses House spot

ASHE COUNTY — The unofficial election results are in, and more than 80 percent of the registered Ashe County constituency turned out to the polls to cast their ballots on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 3

A total of 15,821 ballots were cast in Ashe, 80.95 percent of registered voters in the county took to the polls, compared to 71.62 percent in 2016.

The last precinct to report in North Carolina reported just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 4.

A breakdown of the unofficial election results are as follows:

Local Offices

Republicans completed a clean sweep of the three seats available on the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, with Jerry Powers, Jonathan Jordan and incumbent William Sands winning out. Powers received the most votes with 10,055, narrowly edging out Sands’ 10,033, while Jordan picked up 8,810 votes. Russell Killen received 6,031 votes, Beth Sorrell received 4,331 votes and Jim Cain Jr. received 3,309 votes.

Powers previously served on the Board of Commissioners, beginning in 1990. He said he’s looking forward to returning to serving Ashe County and its people, and “getting the job done that they need having done.”

“I am thrilled to be given the chance by the citizens of Ashe to represent them,” Jordan said. Jordan previously served as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2011 to 2019, and said he is ready for his return to politics.

Sands said this election was unpredictable, but went well for him and his fellow Republicans.

“I’d like to thank all of those who supported and voted for me,” Sands said. “I’ve been a commissioner now for 10 years. I love Ashe County and have always tried to make wise, fair decisions that will better our county and our citizens and I’m praying to continue to do that in the future.”

In the local race for Board of Education, four candidates battled it out for two available seats. Josh Roten took the lead with 9,595 votes with Kim Simmons securing the second seat with 7,858 votes. Incumbent Lee Beckworth received 4,813 votes while incumbent C.B. Jones received 4,632 votes.

“We’re just honored and humbled by the amount of votes we received in the county and we’ll do our best to work for the people of Ashe County and do what is best for our students, our faculty and our staff here in Ashe County,” Roten said.

When providing a statement to the Ashe Post & Times after the unofficial results were in for Ashe County, Simmons expressed that she felt overwhelmed and blessed by the support of her family and the community.

She said that despite the unprecedented challenges facing school systems nationwide, she is excited for what is to come in Ashe County Schools. She looks forward to working with the other board members and doing what is best for Ashe County students.

Candidate for Soil & Water Conservation District Supervisor Russell Vannoy, who is unopposed, received 12,473 votes in Ashe.

Federal Offices

Ashe County voters opted for incumbent President Donald Trump to remain in the highest office in the nation; he received 11,388 Ashe votes compared to Joe Biden’s 4,149. Trump won the state with 49.96 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis won 10,552 votes in Ashe, with challenger Cal Cunningham receiving 4,263 votes. Tillis won the state with a narrow margin, beating Cunningham by less than 100,000 votes.

Rep. Virginia Foxx won her reelection bid thanks to 11,194 votes in Ashe County, challenger David Wilson Brown received 4,070 Ashe votes. Foxx won 67.02 percent of the vote in her district to keep her seat.

State Offices

Incumbent N.C. Governor Roy Cooper lost Ashe County to challenger Dan Forest, with Forest receiving 10,551 votes to Cooper’s 4,941. However, Cooper held on at the state level to serve another term with 51.50 percent of the vote.

Serving as Cooper’s Lieutenant Governor will be Mark Robinson, who defeated Yvonne Lewis Holley with 51.64 percent of the vote. Robinson won 11,086 votes in Ashe to Holley’s 4,365.

Incumbent State House Rep. Ray Russell lost both Ashe County and the rest of District 93 vote to Ray Pickett. Pickett received 52.57 percent of the vote at the district level, with 10,587 of those coming from Ashe to Russell’s 4,858.

For the N.C. State Senate District 45 seat, incumbent Republican Deanna Ballard won almost 70 percent of the vote to keep her seat against Democrat challenger Jeanne Supin. In Ashe County, Ballard won by more than 7,000 votes.

Jim O’Niell won Ashe’s vote for N.C. Attorney General, with 10,743 votes to Josh Stein’s 4,577. Stein won the race however, winning by just over 10,000 votes statewide.

Ashe’s pick for N.C. Auditor also did not seal the deal at the state level. Anthony Wayne Street managed 10,553 votes in the county to Beth Wood’s 4,594, but Wood won the office with 50.85 percent of the statewide voting.

Steve Troxler won the N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture race with 53.89 percent of the state’s votes over Jenna Wadsworth. Troxler was buoyed by 11,503 votes in Ashe to Wadsworth’s 3,847.

In the race for N.C. Commissioner of Insurance, Mike Causey won 51.78 percent of the statewide votes, which was helped by 10,889 Ashe County Votes compared to Wayne Goodwin’s 4,268.

Josh Dobson edged out Jessica Holmes for the N.C. Commissioner of Labor seat, winning at the state level with 50.86 percent of the vote. Dobson won by less than 100,000 votes, with 10,961 coming from Ashe County, while Holmes won 4,304.

Ashe’s pick for N.C. Secretary of State, E.C. Sykes, could not defeat Elaine Marshall for the seat. While Sykes picked up 10,439 votes in Ashe County, Marshall edged the statewide vote with 51.14 percent.

Catherine Truitt won her bid for the N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction with 51.4 percent of the vote statewide. Truitt won 10,882 votes in Ashe to Jen Mangrum’s 4,291.

Incumbent Dale Folwell defeated Ronnie Chatterji with 52.6 percent of the statewide vote. Folwell received 10,887 votes in Ashe.

Judicial Offices

10,650 Ashe County voters cast their votes for Republican candidate Paul Newby for NC Supreme Court Justice Seat 1 while incumbent Democrat Cheri Beasley received 4,599. Newby won the state race by just 3,742 votes.

In the race for NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 2, Republican candidate Phil Berger Jr. won Ashe County voters over with 10,947 votes while Democratic candidate Lucy Inman received 4,236 votes. Berger won 50.7 percent of the state vote for the win.

Republican candidate for NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Seat 4, Tamara Barringer won the race against incumbent Democrat Mark A. Davis with 10,901 votes in Ashe County. Davis received 4,262 votes. At the state level, Barringer won 51.23 percent of the vote.

Republican candidate April C. Wood won Ashe’s vote for one of the seats on the NC Court of Appeals, with 11,012 votes to Democratic candidate Tricia Shields’ 4,134. Wood carried that to a state win with 51.8 percent of the vote.

Republican candidate Fred Gore received 10,866 votes in Ashe County in the race for Seat 5 NC Court of Appeals against Democratic candidate Lora Cubbage who received 4,233 votes. Gore won the statewide race with 51.3 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Republican candidate Chris Dillon won Ashe’s vote for Seat 6 on the NC Court of Appeals Judge with 10,959 votes while Democratic candidate Gray Styers received 4,116 votes in Ashe. Dillon sealed his reelection bid with 51.97 percent of the vote in the state.

Ashe voters favored Republican candidate Jeff Carpenter in the race for Seat 7 on the NC Court of Appeals. Carpenter won the county with 10,939 votes over incumbent Democrat Reuben Young who received 4,137. Carpenter won the statewide race with 51.61 percent of the vote.

Donna Shumate, who ran unopposed to serve as NC District Court judge for District 23, received 12,715 votes in Ashe County.