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Man charged with rape, burglary after Boone Police investigation

BOONE — A 27-year-old man was arrested and charged with felony second-degree forcible rape and felony first-degree burglary on June 12 after Boone Boone Police Department received a report of a sexual assault in January.

According to Boone Police, Quanshawn Tyquan Jackson, of 343 Fairground St., No. 8, Spruce Pine, was arrested by the Spruce Pine Police Department. Jackson was lodged in the McDowell County Detention Center under a $150,000 secured bond.

A young woman reported to Boone Police that she was assaulted in her home by an unknown person after taking a ride from a local bar to her residence on Jan. 23, the department stated.

“We take these cases very serious,” said Boone Police Lieutenant Chris Hatton, Investigations Division Commander, in a statement. “We began an investigation immediately. We started identifying possible witnesses. We were able to locate some surveillance video footage from the area that was helpful. Our agency also submitted forensic evidence from this investigation to the North Carolina Crime Lab.”

The culmination of this investigation occurred when the Boone Police Department received the results of a DNA analysis from the North Carolina State Crime Lab.

“When we submit evidence to the North Carolina Crime Lab for analysis, it takes time,” Chief of Police Dana Crawford in a statement. “Those results are a crucial piece of evidence in this case. These type of cases are among the most difficult cases we investigate. I am proud of our work in this investigation.”

The suspect was identified as Jackson, and he was arrested at approximately 10:40 p.m. on June 12 in Spruce Pine.

The Boone Police Department stated it wanted to thank the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office and Spruce Pine Police Department for their assistance in this case.

Boone Drug celebrates 100 years of service

As Boone Drug Inc. celebrates its 100 year anniversary since its establishment, company officials credit the business’ dedication to customer service and building community relationships to its longevity and success.

Boone Drug Company was established on June 15, 1919 with the help of George Kelly Moose and John R. McNairy. Since this time, the business has changed hands several times, moved locations, opened new stores and seen changes in the pharmacy industry, but one thing remains — its commitment to making customers “feel at home,” said Jessica Welch, Boone Drug’s marketing and advertising coordinator.

The mission of public service through the work of a pharmacy business has been continued through the years with the help of three men — Jim Furman, John Stacy and Joe Miller.

“Our main goal at Boone Drug was do what you could for the community and to help in any way,” Stacy said. “It’s all in treating people the way you would want to be treated. There’s more to being a pharmacist than just counting pills.”

Furman explained that when Moose and McNairy opened the original drug store, it was located where the Mast Store is now on King Street. The business moved across the street — in the place of the current FARM Cafe — in July 1921 when Moose owned a fourth of the building.

The other parts of the business were then sold throughout the 1920s and 1930s, when Wayne Richardson and O.K. Richardson joined Moose as partners in March 1947. In these days the space featured a full service pharmacy, a grill and a soda fountain where people would gather for community. During the 1980s, the Boone Drug space added a dining area that seated 50 people.

As the Richardson bothers liked to fish, they decided to have a fishing department in the Boone Drug store. Miller started working for Boone Drug during his high school summers making fishing lures for the company. When Miller decided to attend the University of Iowa for taxidermy, one of the Richardson brothers approached him in 1957 with the idea of going into pharmacy.

Miller said he attended the University of North Carolina and earned a degree in pharmacy. After working at Boone Drug for several years as a pharmacist, he was brought on as a business partner in 1964. Furman — a University of Georgia graduate — came to Boone in 1965 with the opening of the Boone Drug King Street Pharmacy, and became a partner of the business in 1967.

Stacy, also a UNC graduate, started working at the pharmacy in 1965 before graduating from pharmacy school in 1969. O.K. Richardson sold his portion of the business to his brother, Miller and Furman. These three men then brought on Stacy as a partial owner in 1970.

Miller, Furman and Stacy were not only partners over the years, they grew to be good friends. Miller said the group would fish and play basketball together.

The group loved to have fun together and even played pranks on each other.

Miller recalled a time during the 1970s or ‘80s that Stacy played a prank on him while the men were working at different Boone Drug locations — as the business had three at the time. Miller said he had received a prescription request for cough syrup and walked down a pharmacy aisle to retrieve the medication.

“I head down to get it, suddenly I’m soaking wet,” Miller said. “Johnny had taken a milkshake cup, filled it with water, placed it on the top shelf and took fishing line across there so when I hit that fishing line here comes the water.”

In an attempt to play a similar prank on Stacy a while later, Miller set up a similar trap. However, he unknowingly caught a customer with his water prank instead. Rather than losing the customer, Miller said the woman continued to return to the pharmacy with a good laugh with each retelling of the story.

During his time at Boone Drug, Miller took an interest in watercolor painting and decided to start selling art supplies out of the store. After pouring his “heart and soul” into Boone Drug, Miller sold his portion of Boone Drug in 1995 to Furman and Stacy to focus on his other business — Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff.

Running the business as a pair of partners, Furman and Stacy grew the brand from three stores to 17 during the years with locations in places such as Lenoir, Sparta and several in Tennessee.

Welch said that in addition to the pharmacy, Boone Drug also offers health care, durable medical equipment, home medical equipment, oxygen and respiratory services, mastectomy products with fittings, diabetic shoe fitting, a full immunization clinic and free delivery of medications in town.

Currently, Furman and his family own 12 stores, Stacy owns parts of four and the two jointly own two thirds of another store. They both agreed that they hope their children continue in the business in the future. Furman — who also owns several Wendy’s chain locations — said being a partner of Boone Drug has been the “best years of (his) life.”

The loyalty of its customers with the personal relationships staff members built is what Miller said was important to Boone Drug and its success, despite chain pharmacies coming into the area. Welch said the thing she hears most when she is out in the community is how much the customers appreciate that their Boone Drug pharmacists remember their name and care about their wellbeing.

With changes coming into the pharmacy industry with how insurance and healthcare are handled, Welch said she remembers a quote Miller said years ago: “We’re not trying to change the history, we’re just trying to make it better.” She said even though times are changing, the business is still dedicated to serving the community.

Not only do customers continue to do business there, Stacy said the employees of Boone Drug have remained loyal to the company as well — with approximately 250 employees across its 17 locations.

As a native to the area, Dorinda Bouboulis started working for Boone Drug in 1991 with the opening of the Boone Drug at Deerfield location as a part-time cashier. Since then, Bouboulis has worked her way up the chain and now works as the manager of human resources. Bouboulis said Boone Drug has been a fun place to work and it is family oriented.

“You feel comfortable here,” Bouboulis said. “It feels like home.”

Steve Behr / Photo by Steve Behr 

Appalachian State men’s basketball coach Dustin Kerns, right, meets the media with Appalachian State Athletic Director Doug Gillin, left.

Howard Knob residents speak out on park redevelopment

BOONE – Nearly a dozen Howard Knob area residents and concerned citizens implored the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority to put the brakes on a potential redevelopment of the county’s Howard Knob Park.

The comments came during the public hearing for the fiscal year 2019-20 Watauga County TDA budget ordinance. Following the comments, the $2,158,032 TDA budget was approved unanimously without discussion.

The budget included $167,000 in infrastructure grants for the further development of Howard Knob. Watauga TDA Executive Director Wright Tilley said the TDA’s budget ordinance is subject to the county’s final approval, as will be the implementation of potential Howard Knob redevelopment plans.

A master plan for the five-acre Howard Knob Park, owned by Watauga County, has been in development by Destination by Design, a firm hired by the TDA for $52,000 in November 2017. The master plan was first unveiled in August 2018.

Phase one of the master plan calls for the development of the viewshed and active recreation areas. Features would include a new overlook deck and area, updates to an existing overlook, updates to the existing shelter and picnic areas, a natural playground, council ring, trail system, new kiosk, upgraded signage, bouldering sites, restroom facilities and a fence around the perimeter.

Local attorney Tom Speed, who lives on Howards Knob Road, said he found it insulting and surprising nobody had mentioned any proposals to him.

“We need to talk before competing with Sugar Top,” Speed said, referencing the mountaintop development in Sugar Mountain. “Leave things as they are or let people know.”

George Bartholomew, a Howards Knob Road resident who previously spoke to the board in February, said he was concerned and baffled that the board didn’t work with residents before developing the master plan.

“I have hope the board will do the right thing and pause this project due to the numerous concerns,” Bartholomew said. “I’m opposed to any budget with any expenditures for Howard Knob on it.”

Monte Green, who owns most of the property surrounding the park and around 70 acres in total in the nearby areas, wrote in a letter to the board that he was bewildered that he wasn’t asked to talk about the project, saying the project could affect his property value. Green tried to sell a 70-acre tract on Howard Knob in 2014, asking $3.7 million.

According to the Howard Knob Master Plan released by Destination by Design, a community survey done in June 2018 received 263 responses, mostly positive. A steering committee met twice in 2018 and a Destination by Design team made a public presentation to “more than 50 business owners” in August 2018, with the notes saying that the group “generally supported” the master plan.

Theresa Waldspurger, an Appalachian State University professor, reminded the board of the consequences of decisions they could make.

“While it would be profitable to cut down trees and add parking spaces, is it the right thing,” Waldspurger asked.

Carrie Furr said lives would be at risk with increased traffic along Junaluska Road and Howards Knob Road, saying that nobody besides residents adhere to the 25 mph speed limit and criticizing a perceived lack of traffic enforcement, a point John Councill also mentioned.

Trespassers were a point of concern for the residents. Furr said for instance, someone could trespass on her property late at night to look at the moon.

“I always see people beyond the fence (in the park), over the fence,” Furr said. “Somebody is bound to go over that edge.”

Turtle Island Preserve’s Eustace Conway spoke about his concerns on the environmental impact and changes to the viewshed.

“The impact of cutting down trees changes the integrity of the soil,” Conway said. “Try to spend money on improving what we already have, dealing with the runoff and the danger for people going up and down (the mountain.)”

The master plan has a line item budgeted in phase one for cutting down trees in the areas to create overlooks, add parking and expand picnic opportunities.

Jason Finch, who said he visits the park frequently with his daughters, asked the TDA to look into improving the restrooms in the park, saying the port-o-potties up there don’t cut it.

Erin Martin, a year-round Navajo Trail resident, wrote in a letter that the proposed bouldering area would lead to the destruction of ferns and ecosystems and shouldn’t be allowed in any capacity.

Tilley noted at the end of the meeting that Destination by Design has been revising the Howard Knob Master Plan based on conversations with the local residents, saying that a facility management strategy will be developed prior to implementation.

Another potential change coming soon would be year-round opening of the park. Currently, the park is closed from mid-October through April. Bartholomew said it would be a disservice to only have the park open half of the year. Many of the speakers said trespassers in the park are frequent during the off season.

Further, Tilley added that the county will seek to partner with the N.C. Department of Transportation to improve Howards Knob Road to alleviate residential and pedestrian concerns.

The TDA board voted to grant Green Valley Park’s board of directors $21,000 to fund the completion of the Eagle Scout Trail and widen the river access road from Big Hill Road to the canoe ramp into the New River to two two lanes and eliminate safety hazards.

Janice Carroll gave a presentation of the history of the park, saying that the park has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its canoe access and picnic areas.

Plans are progressing to build a new playground at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, Tilley said, including meeting with the group that will do the manufacturing. The cost will be half of the originally estimated $75,000, Tilley added.