CRESTON — Sheriff B. Phil Howell has announced the arrest of Joseph Anthony Boccardy of Ashe County.
On Sept. 29, detectives with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, along with the NC SBI conducted an investigation at the home of Boccardy.
Upon arrival detectives located cocaine, methamphetamine, psilocybin mushrooms, large amount of marijuana and marijuana extract, scheduled pills, a large amount of drug paraphernalia and items used to manufacture marijuana. All items were seized and held by the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office.
Boccardy was not able to provide any documentation or records in which he legally manufactured and sold cannabis in conjunction with North Carolina State laws and regulations. Boccardy was transported to the Ashe County Detention Center where he was charged with violations of applicable North Carolina State Statutes.
Joseph Anthony Boccardy — Age 51 of Creston was charged with the following:
• Possession of Cocaine
• Possession of Methamphetamine
• 2 Counts of Possession of a Schedule I Controlled Substance
• Trafficking Marijuana by Manufacture more than 10lbs but less than 50lbs.
• Trafficking Marijuana by Possession more than 10lbs but less than 50lbs.
• Simple Possession of Schedule IV
• Possession of Drug/Marijuana Paraphernalia
• Felony Maintaining a Dwelling
Boccardys bond was set at $103,500 and he was released from the Ashe County Detention Center on September 30, 2021 after posting bond.
For more information about the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office visit www.ashesheriff.com or call (336) 846-5633.
WEST JEFFERSON — The Stomp N’ Brew craft beer, wine, and music festival made its triumphant return to downtown West Jefferson on Saturday, Oct. 2, following last year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The festival — now in its third year — is organized by the Stomp N’ Brew committee and serves as a fundraiser for the Ashe County charity organization Shoes For Kids, which works to provide quality footwear to children in need.
Shoes for Kids was founded in 2013 by Martin Little and Melody Rector and has since expanded its reach, with the organization creating shoe closets in all of Ashe County’s schools, childcare centers and at the Department of Social Services.
Despite not being able to hold the event in 2020 due to the global pandemic, festival organizers made a strong comeback this year with visitors, vendors and artisans coming in from across the state to enjoy a day of craft beer and music.
“It’s been wonderful and we’re so appreciative of Stomp N’ Brew,” Rector said regarding this year’s festival. “They work so hard. They work all year to pull this off and then they donate everything to Shoes for Kids.”
“They work so hard to promote it. And they’re doing all this for the enjoyment of it, because they’re not gaining financially from it,” added Little about the the Stomp N’ Brew committee.
The previous Stomp N’ Brew festival raised more than $11,000 for Shoes for Kids, all of which went towards the purchase of name brand shoes for Ashe County children.
“We don’t spend money on anything other than buying shoes for the kids in Ashe County,” Rector said. “We don’t purchase any shoes that I wouldn’t buy for my children. The shoes that we buy are Nikes, Adidas, Vans, then winter boots. They’re popular shoes that the kids are proud to wear.”
Aside from the food, music and craft libations, this year’s Stomp N’ Brew festival saw the addition of a classic car show which was put on by the Blue Ridge Midnight Runners. Throughout the day the car club collected donations and held a people’s choice award, allowing visitors to purchase a ticket and vote on their favorite car. By doing so, the Blue Ridge Midnight Runners raised an additional $1,000 for Shoes For Kids.
“We were ecstatic. This was the first car show that the Blue Ridge Midnight Runners have ever put on,” said Jimmy Cox of the Blue Ridge Midnight Runners car club. “We had 45 cars and we were able to raise $1,000 for the charity. All the proceeds from the car show — every dime of it — goes to the charity.”
Jerry Ashley and his 1941 Packard won the title of favorite car, earning him a trophy donated by Danny Jones at the Hobby Barn, as well as bragging rights.
“It was a good day, a beautiful day. We had a huge crowd and I think everyone coming to town enjoyed the festival, plus the added benefit of seeing all the beautiful cars,” said Cox.
Currently, the amount this year’s Stomp N’ Brew raised is still being calculated, but given the size of the crowd it is expected that it will yield a similar amount as the previous event.
The Ashe Post & Times will report on this developing story once more information is available.
JEFFERSON — The Ashe County Board of Education met in regular session on Monday, Oct. 4 in the annex of the Ashe County Schools central location to vote to keep masks mandated in all Ashe County schools.
The meeting was attended by Chair Josh Roten, Vice Chair Dianne Eldreth, Dr. Kim Simmons, Polly Jones, Keith McClure, Superintendent Dr. Eisa Cox, Finance Officer Amanda Coldiron, Jamie Little as well as some community members who made public comments.
The meeting began with comments from Cox with updates on the school system and events.
Cox put out a reminder that Oct. 8 is an early release day for students. Elementary schools will release at 11:30 a.m., Middle school is noon, Early College is 12:15 p.m. and High School is 12:30 p.m.
The schools also held a vaccine clinic for those eligible.
“We held a vaccine clinic at the middle and high school on Sept. 24 and had about 24 students who had parent permission who participated,” said Cox. “Eligible staff members were able to get their booster shot. We have a handout for later in the COVID section with updated information on vaccines in our community.”
Cox also spoke on grants the system has received including a mental health grant and a new middle school clinic grant.
“We have been awarded a continuation of the federal mental health grant,” Cox said. “The total amount for grant is $2.5 million, this year continuation amount is about $675,000. This grant pays for mental health services through our ASC center at the high school, and a social worker.”
The school board also received money for the new middle school health clinic.
“This is fresh off the press and I’m excited to share that earlier this year, Adam Stumb, Jennifer Greene and I met about a grant opportunity for the Bulldog Clinic at the new middle school and provided specifications and costs toward the endeavor,” said Cox. “Today Jennifer Greene was informed that we have been awarded $550,667 toward the costs of that clinic. This is great news for our community and the continuing partnership we have with AppHealth to provide needed services to our middle school students.”
After comments from the Superintendent, the board opened the floor for public comments.
Drew Martin spoke along with a few others on how they feel masks should not be mandated in schools.
After having been through the school system himself as well as leading his kids through Ashe County, Martin said that kids simply cannot learn and interact the way they should while wearing masks all day.
Regarding the issue, McClure said he appreciates the comments given, but he still has concerns about the novel coronavirus.
“I’ve looked at the data and numbers which are going down and I think that is reflecting what is happening in the schools,” said McClure. “I want to see that the numbers continue on a downward trend before we make another decision next month.”
Roten said he still feels the same as he did in the beginning, which is for parents to make the choice of whether or not their child should wear masks. He said with using cloth masks, mold and filth is likely, making it harder for children to breath and stay protected. Simmons seconded this idea that parents should make their own choices, but she said that our county is not prepared emotionally or physically to go maskless in the following days.
“I don’t think that we, as a whole, I dare say across the state, that we are prepared for things like this to support our students and teachers who have some of those anxieties,” said Simmons. “It’s not that I’m not in support of choice, I just don’t think we’d be ready tomorrow to go without them.”
Jones said she gets numerous comments, emails and calls about the fear of going maskless. She sides that the masks have caused the numbers to go down.
“I don’t like them either, but I think they have made the numbers go down,” said Jones. “If we take them off, the numbers are going to go up. The CDC plainly states that this is the single best deterrent we have at this time.”
Simmons said that she thinks that we have to prepare for a transition.
“It has to happen eventually,” Simmons said. “What will the percentages be, what will the protocols be, what will the supports need to be? Someday, the masks have got to go away and that transition has to be in full preparation.”
Eldreth said she is not ready to go without. She doesn’t think that the numbers are what they need to be.
“We started this process (and) the numbers were under five percent and now it’s at 11. I don’t think we’re ready.”
In regard to encouraging disposable masks, Cox said they have purchased boxes and more washable masks that will fit and perform properly. Cox said she encourages children bringing a bag of clean masks with them to change out whenever they feel the need. All schools have disposable masks available for those who are in need.
The Board then ultimately made the decision to vote on whether they believe the mask mandate should continue.
Eldreth made the motion to keep masks, which Jones seconded. McClure voted yes, Jones voted yes, Eldreth voted yes, Simmons voted no and Roten voted no. The vote carried three to two.
In addition to the continuation of masks, the Board approved the Test-to-Stay option which allows a student or teacher who has been exposed to receive a rapid test at school to determine whether or not they are allowed to stay at school. This will ultimately reduce quarantine times along with keeping students in the classroom environment.
The Test-to-Stay option knocked out the pool testing option for sports, as it will allow the student body as a whole to participate with parental consent.
Athletic Director Brian Hampton said he favored Test-to-Stay over pool testing as it will reduce the lack of practicing and classroom time for students.
WEST JEFFERSON — Appalachian Church has recently sent a busload of supplies to companion country Haiti after its devastating earthquake.
On Aug. 14, southwest Haiti was struck by an M7.2 earthquake which occurred at a depth of only 6.2 miles. This was critical for the country because shallow earthquakes usually cause more topical damage.
Dozens of aftershocks shook the earth, leaving Haiti in a state of emergency. The Haiti Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) reported on Sept. 6 that 2,284 people had died and nearly 12,763 people were injured. There were still 329 people missing at the time of this report.
In response to the disaster, Appalachian Church banded together with the youth and leadership to pack a bus full of supplies to send out to the country in need.
Pastor Steve Ashley along with his father Rick said this project meant the world for the church as well as the country.
‘Rick Ashley has a heart for the people of Haiti,” said Steve Ashley. “He served with Samaritans Purse after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake and ever since then he has served and helped the Haitian people in many ways. The latest project was this Multi Purpose/Mass Feeding Unit that will serve thousands of meals per day to meet the most basic need of the Haitian people. Rick founded this ministry as Haiti First Responders and KBO Kingdom Business Objectives is registered U.S. 501c3 charity. Pray for God’s will be done in this great ministry.”
The bus was sent out over the weekend of Oct. 1 and was docked in Florida as of Oct. 3. Ashley said the bus was at the port in Florida and awaiting to be shipped to Haiti on Oct. 4. Time of arrival depends on the logistics of shipping company and Haitian customs.
For more information, visit www.haitifirstresponders.org