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Longtime car salesman Earl Ham remembered after his passing

ASHE COUNTY — Earl Ham, 82, died Saturday, Jan. 15 at his home.

Earl left home when he was 16 years old to join the Army before he finished school. He later returned home and finished his GED through the Army.

Earl was known in the community for being “The Living Legend” in the car business. He started his car salesman career in 1974 at Superior Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, GMC where he worked for 32 years. He was working as a sales professional at West Jefferson Chevrolet until his death with almost 40 total years in the car industry.

Business Manager at West Jefferson Chevrolet Andrew Calhoun said, “Earl never knew a stranger and will be missed by all. Earl loved his children, grandchildren and customers.”

He was a member of Long Branch Baptist Church and a Member of the American Legion. Friends and family are sure there are a lot of cars on the road today that have “The Living Legend” Bill of Sale in the glove compartment so that the legend will keep rolling.

Ashe remembers the life of longtime teacher Joanne Reavis

ASHE COUNTY — Joanne Reavis, longtime teacher in Ashe County, passed away on Jan. 18 after a battle with various health issues.

Reavis sparked a light in the lives of all of her students and those around her. After teaching from 1991 to 2016 at both Blue Ridge and Westwood, she retired to focus on her health.

“It’s so very hard,” said relative Helemarie Reavis. “Our hearts are broken.”

Reavis was born on Oct. 5, 1968, to her parents David and Pat Greene. She graduated from Beaver Creek High School in 1986 and pursued a degree in Elementary Education following high school. She married Clark Reavis in 1991. The newlyweds established their family in Fleetwood where Clark worked for himself, and Joanne worked as a teacher. She had to quit teaching in 2016 due to her health conditions.

According to her obituary, she was a passionate, supportive and caring educator in the Ashe County School System and in her home church, Liberty Grove Baptist. She used her career as a teacher to inspire and help each of her students reach their full potential.

Her legacy is is carried on by her husband, Clark Reavis, her sons, John and Jacob Reavis, her dad and mom, David and Pat Greene and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law, Kendra Miller.

On Jan. 29, her life was celebrated at Liberty Grove Baptist church with her family and friends.

Christmas In July festival returns

WEST JEFFERSON – Ashe County’s Christmas in July Festival is returning to Downtown West Jefferson with a new look and footprint for the festival.

The opening ceremony will kick off the festival on Friday, July 1, at 5 p.m. followed by an entertainment lineup especially for the Friday evening crowd. Saturday will be a full day of fun for all ages with festival hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In support of the Downtown West Jefferson merchants, the festival craft vendor tents will be located on Jefferson Avenue leaving sidewalks clear for walking and more space between booths than in years past. There will be an all-new food court with plenty of food options including food trucks and some of the festival’s popular and anticipated food vendors.

The Farmers Market will return to the festival offering some of Ashe County’s very best homegrown and handmade items including jams, jellies, produce, crafts & more. The Farmers Market will open at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Street performers will be roving the crowd showcasing talents such as magic, juggling, and balloon art. Straight from the North Pole, Santa & Mrs. Claus plan to attend the festival as well.

The Festival invites interested craft and food vendors to complete an online registration by going to The deadline to get the early bird registration is March 31.

The Christmas in July Festival celebrates the Christmas Tree industry and mountain heritage with arts, crafts, and local entertainers representative of the region. The Christmas in July Festival is identified as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization by the IRS and its board of directors & committee members are unpaid volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to host a fun, safe, family-friendly event for the entire community and those visiting Ashe County.

For more information and updates on the festival, follow on Facebook at Christmas In July Festival or visit to learn more about the music lineup, food vendors, fun and festivities planned. Make plans to visit Downtown West Jefferson July 1 and 2.

Community health report released for Ashe County

JEFFERSON — AppHealthCare, in collaboration with various agencies and community partners, has released the Community Health Report for Ashe County. This report identifies public health priorities and provides a foundation for work that will take place in the following years.

The Community Health Report is published every three years in partnership with Ashe Memorial Hospital, the Ashe Health Alliance, Appalachian District Board of Health and AppHealthCare, including many other partnerships, individuals and agencies. The Community Health Report follows an assessment process involving the community to identify and analyze community health needs and assets, prioritize those needs and then implement a plan to address significant unmet needs.

The Community Health Report provides results from a community input opinion survey and review of community data which includes income, poverty, employment, community safety, housing, behavioral health and more. The information is used to guide the work of local health departments and community partnerships to address community concerns and monitor progress toward projected goals.

The health priorities below highlight key areas that community coalitions within Ashe County will focus on and work to improve from 2020-2023:

1. Housing — Promote healthy and safe home environments

2. Mental/Behavioral Health — Depression, anxiety, emotional wellbeing, suicide prevention, and support/intervention for those with mental illness

3. Substance Use and Misuse Prevention — Drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; including misuse or abuse of prescription drugs and use of e-cigarettes or other devices for nicotine delivery

This report completes the first phase in the Community Health Assessment process. The second phase is taking place now through the development of Community Health Improvement Plans that will guide work to the health priorities in Ashe County.

What can we do together to improve our community’s health?

• Practice safe prescription medication use by taking correctly, storing securely, disposing properly, and never sharing.

• Health begins where we live, learn, work and play. Take action in building our neighborhood to be safe and healthy.

• Being healthy takes a community. Attend a Mental Health First Aid training and join local community groups that work to support mental health systems.

• Your opportunity for health starts long before you need medical care. Sign up for your local Women, Infant & Children (WIC) program through AppHealthCare.

• The opportunity for health begins in our families, neighborhoods, schools and jobs. Participate in local bike and walk safety programs to and from school. Being healthy takes a community.

• Your neighborhood or job shouldn’t be hazardous to your health. Support tobacco free living.

• Health starts—long before illness—in our homes, schools and jobs. Investing in our mothers and children is investing in our future.

• Live active, eat local vegetables and fruits.

• All citizens have the opportunity to make the choices that allow them to live a long, healthy life. Support local policies for sidewalks and bike lanes.

Together, we will work toward a shared goal for a healthier Ashe County.

To view the Community Health Report for Ashe County, visit AppHealthCare’s website.

For additional information about AppHealthCare or other community resources and health related data, please call AppHealthCare offices, Alleghany (336) 372-5641, Ashe (336) 246-9449, Watauga (828) 264-4995. For more information, visit our website at and follow us on Twitter and Facebook