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It is good news — the best news, actually — that came from Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell late last week: The graffiti threats found in the bathrooms at Ashe County Middle School have been determined to not be “credible.”

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As Ashe County Schools concludes — and the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office nears its end of — the investigation into the graffiti threats at Ashe County Middle School, it must be said that the communication to the public of any potential danger appears to be ending much better than it began.

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When it comes to delivering nearly 2,500 miles of shoebox gifts around the world — that’s more than 10.6 million laid end-to-end — the Boone-based Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse rivals even the mantra of our professional postal workers. After all, rain, sleet and snow take t…

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Each of us has a unique definition of the word, “best.” But, when it comes to the businesses where we shop, the service providers we choose or the organizations we support, there are a few “best of” phrases we can all agree upon: excellent customer service, quality products and positive expe…

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Communities across the United States that are concerned about having a voice in the health of their local environments lost a friend and leader with the death of Janet Zeller on Jan. 14.

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For the third or fourth storm — or is it the fifth or sixth or … ; much depends upon your own particular elevation and location in the county — since the active 2018 hurricane season melted into winter, a shout-out is again due to the men and women who seemingly ignore the worst of Mother Na…

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There has never been a shortage of volunteer spirit in the High Country. Indeed, we would argue that this is one facet of “mountain life” that is inseparable from the idea of “mountain living.”

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Thumbs-up: to employees and employers giving back. We know that a number of local businesses — AEV is one (https://tinyurl.com/ycbdbj8n) — offer opportunities for employees to donate to area charities. Some even match their employee donations. That’s all especially important during this time…

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Virginia O’Hanlon, age 8, wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.

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Although there are some in Ashe County yet digging out from the effects of our recent winter storm — you know you’re in for a “real” storm when national forecasters make a visit — it is not too early to note the heroic efforts of our utility workers, first responders, emergency personnel and…

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President George H.W. Bush died Nov. 30 at the age of 94. Many North Carolina leaders reflected on the lifelong service of our former president and statesman, and a few of those thoughts are included here. To add your own thoughts or remembrances about our nation’s 41st president, visit this…

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By the time you read this, Giving Tuesday will have passed. But, in the spirit of the season, those giving opportunities can’t be limited to a single day.

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With Tuesday’s elections following what seemed to be a longer-than-usual, and certainly more-divisive-than-usual political season, the winners are clear — and we’re not talking about only the candidates.

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Now you see it, now you don’t might be the most apt description of this fall’s leaf season: According to both local university biologists and local residents working from a lifetime of experience, the best leaf-looking will peak early this year. Indeed, the color at some of the High Country’…

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While some county residents are yet dealing with the aftermath, now that Hurricane — a la Tropical Depression — Florence is largely in our rear view, what can be said?

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Thumbs-up, or down, you decide: Is it the summer season or winter that captures your High Country imagination? The passing of Labor Day, our nation’s unofficial end to summer, is a time for reflection or elation depending upon your personal view. At any rate, we still have a few weeks of won…

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With myriad road bicycling events during a High Country summer, Ashe County residents know how narrow and hectic the roads can become during this time of the year — last weekend’s Blue Ridge Brutal was an example. Even as finely run and executed as was that bike race — and a shout-out here t…

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What once upon a time would have been unimaginable — school systems training and preparing for the possibility of a personal attack on its students, staff and educators — is now the reality for our children.

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We don’t use our mailboxes the same way we used to. And now, with the advent of increased small package delivery and the increasing amount of time our mailboxes are not monitored, law agencies across the nation and in Watauga County are reporting a growing concern of mail theft.

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While we await an even more-detailed blueprint to the governmental fulfillment of public record requests from N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein, there is much to applaud in the updated guide recently released by Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

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A public library can fill many needs in a small community, and Ashe County has one of the most active in the High Country when it comes to needs fulfillment. From its programming and literacy outreach to its research and computer offerings, Ashe County Public Library serves thousands of resi…

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As predictable as the mountain laurel and rhododendron, an American Red Cross appeal for blood blossoms each spring and summer — a need that arises annually from increased demand and hundreds of fewer blood drives and donors than at other times of the year due to holidays and vacations.

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With more than 1,000 bicyclists expected to converge on our roadways early Saturday, there are two things to remember.

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We have seen the future — on Sunday, June 3, actually — and the future is strong, fast, gifted, intellectually sharp and most of all, willing to give selflessly to those in need.

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It’s no secret that some scammers are more brazen than others, but those who not only impersonate law enforcement officers, but do so under the names of real local officers, top the list.

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While we won’t say for sure that spring is finally here — as gardeners know, local lore advises you always have a chance of frost until mid-May — what we do know is that the warmer weather has prompted the beginning of bicycling season, and that always presents a challenge to High Country dr…

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Your right to vote is one of the most important rights you will ever exercise. It’s that right which gives you a voice in who will make the governmental decisions which affect the lives of you and your family. Moreover, it’s your right, your vote: walking into a voting booth and casting your…