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High Country Briefs:

Newland woman charged in murder

A Newland woman has been charged with murder in the death of an Avery County man.

Gloria Hughes Estes, 53, was arrested on June 10 after Samuel “Sammy” Joe Roberson, 59 of Newland, was found dead from severe trauma to the head. The attack occurred on Thursday on Wes Brewer Road, according to investigators. Estes is currently being held in the Avery County jail under a $750,000 secured bond. Her first court appearance is scheduled for June 17.


No injuries in Tuesday wreck near Blowing Rock

Fire and rescue units from Blowing Rock and Boone converged at Mystery Hill Lane on U.S. 321 when two trucks collided Tuesday afternoon. The driver of the smaller truck was trapped in the vehicle for about 20 minutes before rescue workers were able to free him. Five people were taken to an area hospital for treatment, with two others treated and released at the scene. None of the injuries were thought to be life threatening. Responding with Blowing Rock Fire Department were units from Blowing Rock Rescue Squad, Watauga Rescue Squad and Watauga Medics. Traffic both north and south of the accident was held up for more than one hour until the wreckage could be removed. The cause of the accident was still under investigation by units of the N.C. Highway Patrol.


Highland Games brings kilts and bucks to area

As the arrival of the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games draws near, area restaurants, lodging facilities and retail stores will begin preparing themselves for the economic impact this year’s games will have on the area.

While the increase in population includes some overflow from the July 4 weekend, games officials estimate approximately 30,000 people at this year’s event.

It is estimated that the games bring in approximately $2 milltion to $3 million  in business for local establishments.

The 2004 Games brought 12,000 paid attendants to that Saturday’s events.

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Web site currently hosts a lodging directory and personnel say that each of the hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfasts’ listed are booked each year for the week during the Games.  Guests at these lodging facilities are also patrons at local restaurants and visit area retail stores.

Businesses wishing to advertise during this year’s games can also contact High Country Media — a corporate sponsor for the 49th annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games — at 264-3612.

“Advertising in one of the four local newspapers will give your business coverage in either Watauga, Avery or Ashe counties,” a High Country Media spokesperson said.

—Becca Klein, The Avery Journal-Times