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Samaritan’s Purse’s ongoing efforts to assist people in Mississippi after saturating rains have drowned entire communities is a prime example of a legitimate nonprofit organization fulfilling its stated mission, and one to which donors can feel secure about their giving.

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A High Country program that has been serving students with learning challenges for more than four decades is in need of assistance, and you may be able to help.

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Thumbs-up: to Watauga Medical Center’s five-star rating, putting the facility in the top 9 percent of hospitals in the nation on a federal standard. The journey to the top is not an easy one, but moving from three stars in 2016 to four stars to 2019 and now to the top rating reflects, as ARH…

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Not to paint too dark a picture, the Watauga County Arts Council gained an appropriate reprieve during a recent meeting when our county commissioners agreed to extend the organization’s lease for an additional four years. That vote added continued, albeit temporary, stability to an important…

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Once upon a time in a time removed from today … there was little thought to staffing public schools in rural districts with school resource officers.

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At lower elevations, the High Country hasn’t exactly been snowless this season, but largely, those looking for frozen fun have had to head to the slopes where snowmaking has maintained the winter magic for the county.

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A letter to the editor found in this edition of the Watauga Democrat shows again that the residents of Watauga and surrounding counties are selfless in their giving. The signed letter from Dana Williams makes note that through the generosity of our community in ways large and small, we playe…

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Second only to the effects of tobacco use, the chemically inert radioactive gas radon is the leading environmental course of lung cancer in the United States. Annually, thousands die from its effects, including hundreds of people in North Carolina.

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“Clearly there is a breakdown of communication”: How many times have such words been uttered in public and private in connection with the town of Boone and Watauga County?

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Thumbs down: To a severe, current and ongoing flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that the best way to help prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated, but covering your cough and washing your hands can help stop the spread of germs. Avoiding close contact wit…

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A report highlighting a significant portion of the High Country’s forest management has been in the works since 2013, and with the draft version expected in February, it’s one that bears a public view.

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A regional history of oil embargoes, skyrocketing interest rates, warm winters and the first state zoning legislation to affect the Sugar Mountain region — HB 661 was ratified by the N.C. General Assembly on June, 14, 1985 — might have deterred lesser leaders, but not Gunther Jochl.

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Because in this issue the Watauga Democrat publishes its annual year in review, there is no better time to look at a couple of long-standing events that have had deep and important ramifications for our county.

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Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon 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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A bustling holiday season can mean being busted following a few initiatives coming out now from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. So, all the better to watch out. …

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A bustling holiday season can mean being busted following a few initiatives coming out now from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. So, all the better to watch out. …

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“Stop the presses” may seem an antiquated notion regulated to a certain demographic of newspaper readers, but if this is so, why is a new generation embracing the time-enduring technology of print?

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With nearly 1,000 participants testing high winds and cold temperatures Nov. 28 for the High Country’s ninth annual Turkey Trot 5K, the season of giving is off and running.

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To anyone who’s been driving our mountain roads during the past few weeks, it comes as no surprise to know that more than half of all vehicle-deer collisions occur in late fall and early winter. Across the state, that statistic equals tens of thousands of accidents, with injuries and even fa…

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Even in the midst — especially in the midst? — of the shopping season that begins this weekend with presents for family and friends, there’s room for a bit of alternative gifting.

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Thumbs-up: to the DMV? Yes … with an increase in online drivers license services. Now, drivers can skip a physical trip to the local DMV to renew a license, update an address, order a duplicate license or any one of a number of other services. For more information, visit myncdmv.gov or downl…

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The upcoming holidays mean not only a break from school for Watauga students, but also more free time and social interactions for children and teens to spend on their phones, tablets and computers.

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With Thanksgiving Day yet in site, it is not quite time to embrace the Christmas holiday — unless you’re one of the thousands in the High Country who combine their thanks with Operation Christmas Child to create the shoebox gifts that are delivered to millions of children worldwide through S…

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Snow in the forecast and on the ground this week means more than slippery, winter conditions, it means the first slippery, winter conditions of the season — and that means drivers need to re-acclimate to ski season in the High Country.

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Early voting in Watauga County was light during this election cycle — this is not surprising given it’s a municipal voting year — but if you’re not one of the few, you can easily rectify the situation by casting your vote on Tuesday.

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We’ll keep this brief, because this week is Halloween and if you’re not busy prepping costumes for your own little trick-or-treaters, you’re undoubtedly heading out to the store to battle the throng in the candy aisles.

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Thumbs-up: to the young artists at Bethel School whose work will be displayed in the form of two dozen ornaments that will adorn a North Carolina Christmas tree — one of 56 from across the nation and U.S. territories — to be displayed outside of the White House in Washington, D.C.

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One of the most important volunteer roles in our community today is acting as the voice for our most vulnerable population — children who are abused and neglected.

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The first standing ovation in the renovated Appalachian Theatre of the High Country wasn’t exactly for the venue’s first live performance in decades — it was for the theater itself and the myriad ways, large and small, an army of volunteers, benefactors and community members had contributed …

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The results are mixed and trending up — but too many of us are still doubtful or altogether dark on the essential five freedoms of the First Amendment.

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This is important: How well do you know the five freedoms guaranteed you by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution?

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The idea of a barn raising, the collective action of a community to repair or build a barn, is one steeped deep in the tradition of Old Order Mennonite and Amish communities. It’s also one alive today in Watauga County.

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There is rightly a sense of pride when we look for a tag on a product and see the label, “Made in the USA” — words that mean something special to the average American.

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Since its beginning, the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge has made more than 1.5 million differences in the High Country, one dollar at a time, by creating positive change for women and girls through collective giving.

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New highways and bridges represent new directions and opportunities for us to travel. Yet, as we begin traveling the Baldridge Bridge — and many of us will, on a daily basis — let’s take a moment to reflect on the road that led us to this Deep Gap junction.

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Sept. 11, 2001, will for most of us be one of those days for which we remember exactly where we were when we first learned the news of terrorism strikes on our nation.