Apr 142017

By Thomas Sherrill, in the Watauga Democrat:

BOONE – The Watauga County Democratic Convention was held on Saturday [April 8], with over 100 people filling the Watauga County Courthouse to elect leaders and listen to speakers.

The convention concluded with nine resolutions being adopted and approved, ranging from favoring Watauga County intervention in the Maymead asphalt plant lawsuit to welcoming a diverse population in Watauga County to imploring President Trump to release his tax returns and calls for an investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.

Matt Wasson

Matt Wasson

The keynote address was made by Matt Wasson, director of Appalachian Voices, whose speech was titled “Rolling Back the Enlightenment: Inside the Conservative War on Science.”

Wasson told a story about Kentucky mining and its effects on the local streams and how toothless legislation led to the coal mining companies providing fake reports on the effect on the local waterways.

Wasson said that he used to be non-affiliated, but is now a Democrat, “as I’ve come to the conclusion that’s there’s only one right side on this debate.”

Political Director Pam Williamson spoke about the party’s success in the recent election.

“We tweaked some things, had some really great candidates, looked at things very strategically and got all the votes we needed to win plus more,” Williamson said.

“My sister was trying to tell me that it was Wake County who put in Roy Cooper; I’m sorry, it was Watauga County who put in Roy Cooper,” she said.

Williamson also noted flipping the County Commission and winning the county for Sue Counts and Hillary Clinton and “keeping the school board in progressive hands.”

Williamson said the time for negotiation and compromise with the Republicans was over.

“Here’s my idea of compromise. Either impeach Donald Trump or haul him off in handcuffs for conspiracy against the United States of America,” Williamson said.

imageWilliamson also spoke of the plant sale, which she called their most important fundraiser and implored people to sponsor plants.

“The more people that participate, the lower the prices,” Williamson said.

Christine Behrend, director of operations and data, spoke about “exporting the Watauga model,” which would provide Democratic party training for surrounding “red counties,” which includes using data models, canvassing, field work and registering people. Behrend noted that several counties have expressed interest.

Chairwoman Diane Tilson spoke about the progressive movements Democrats have historically been involved in.

“We are Democrats. We have social security and public education because of Democrats; we have clean water and clear skies because of Democrats; we have National Parks and protected wildlife because of Democrats; we have safety nets for our children, our disabled and our elderly because of Democrats; Democrats have fought for racial equality, marriage equality, gender equality and diversity, and we will continue to fight for everyone to choose what bathroom they will use,” Tilson said.

Apr 012017

Annual Community Plant Sale

Master Plant List

Updated for 2017


For the FULLY ILLUSTRATED guide to some of our FEATURED PLANTS this year — perennial flowers, shrubs & trees, fruit, lilies, dahlias, and collector day lilies — pending … direct link will be posted soon.

This is a partial listing, as plants are added on a daily basis. This list also includes cultivars that have been ordered from commercial growers and seeds sown. Sometimes those do not come through.

This list is alphabetized mainly by common name, with some cross-referencing to botanical names.

Details about the Sale:

imageOne day only! June 10, 2017, starting at 7 a.m. (sorry, no sales earlier than that … DON’T EVEN THINK OF ASKING!). Prices start at $1 and range upward, depending on the genus, the age and size of the plant, and its rarity. Availability of many of the species listed below will be extremely limited.

 This year’s theme — “Return of the Natives.”

Once again, we’ll be selling a fine selection of outdoor furniture and garden accessories as well as a group of specially made birdhouses (made by us!).

The price list for the cultivars below won’t be developed until just before the sale, but most perennials sell for $1-$3, annuals $1, trees & shrubs & very rare plants may go as high as $15/$20.

Ron and Suzanne Joyner of Big Horse Creek Farm in Ashe County will also be on hand with a selection of two-year-old heirloom grafted apple trees.

WHERE: Home of Pam & Jerry Williamson (“Aunt Pymm’s Table Antiques”), 375 Old 421 South, Boone NC 28607.

The Williamson gardens will be open to the public.

All proceeds go to support the Watauga County Democratic Party.


Visit us on Facebook:



NEW IN 2017 ABUTILON, “Bellvue Mixed” and “Bella Select”

ACANTHUS, Spiny Bear’s Breeches, both mollis and spinosus

Agapanthus "Blue Donau"

Agapanthus “Blue Donau”


AGERATUM, “Blue Hawaii 5.0”

AKEBIA, Chocolate vine

ALLIUM, flowering onions, various cultivars


NEW IN 2017 ANEMONE “Wild Swan”

ARBOVITAE, Thuja standishii x plicata, “Green Giant”

ARTEMISIA vulgaris,“Oriental Limelight”; ARTEMESIA ludoviciana, silver king wormwood

NEW IN 2017 ARGULA, “Roquette”

ASARUM, see Ginger

ASPARAGUS, “Purple Passion”

ASTER, Eurybia divaricata star wood aster; NEW IN 2017, China aster, Callistephus chinensis, “Hulk”

ASTILBE various cultivars, various colors; NEW IN 2017, Amethyst Astilbe

ASTRANTIA, see Masterwort

AZALEA, Rhododendron calendulaceum, flame Azalea, “Tangerine Dream”

BABY’S BREATH Gypsophila paniculata, “Festival White”; NEW IN 2017 Elegans alba grandiflora

BALSAM “Peppermint Stick”

NEW IN 2017 BAPTISIA, false Indigo, “Twilite”

NEW IN 2017 BEAN, “Mascotte” green bean; “Purple Teepee” dwarf; runner bean, “Sunset”

NEW IN 2017 BEAUTY BERRY bushes, Callicarpa americana

BEEBALM, Monarda, “Jacob Cline”; NEW IN 2017, Monarda hybrida “Bergamo”

BEGONIA, RHIZOMATOUS, various cultivars

BELLFLOWER, spotted, Campanula punctata; BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND in 2017 “Pink Octopus”

BLACKBERRIES, “Triple Crown” thornless

BLACK COHOSH, Cimicifuga racemosa atropurpurea, a.k.a. Actaea racemosa

BLACK MONDO GRASS, Ophiopogon planiscapus

BLACK-EYED SUSAN, Rudbeckia hirta; BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND IN 2017, “Denver Daisy”; NEW IN 2017 “Little Henry”

NEW IN 2017 BLACK-EYED SUSAN VINE, white “Susie” series; “Arizona Dark Red”

BLACK GUM TREE, see Tupelo Black Gum


BLUE FESCUE, Festuca ovina var. Glauca

BLUE LYME GRASS, Arenarius glaucus

NEW IN 2017 BOLTONIA, “Snowbank”

NEW IN 2017 BONESET, Eupatorium perfoliatum


NEW IN 2017 BUTTONBUSH, Cephalanthus occidentalis

CALENDULA, NEW IN 2017 “Touch of Red”; “Frost Princess”

CAMASSIA esculenta

CAMPANULA, see Bellflower

CANARY VINE, see under Nasturtium

CAROLINA SWEET SHRUB (a.k.a. “Carolina Allspice,” “Bubby Bush”)

NEW IN 2017 CARROT, Parisian

CATMINT, Nepeta racemosa, “Early Bird”

CATNIP, Nepeta cataria

CELANDINE POPPY, Stylophorum diphyllum

CENTAUREA montana, Mountain Bluets

CHAMELEON PLANT, Houttuynia cordata

CHARD, rainbow, “Five Color Silverbeet”

CHIVES, Allium schoenoprasum

Chrysanthemum "Garland Daisy"

Chrysanthemum “Garland Daisy”

CHRYSANTHEMUM “SHEFFIELD,” hardy Chrysanthemum; Chrysanthemum parthenium dwarf; “Global Warming” Chrysanthemums; NEW IN 2017, Chrysanthemum coronarium, Garland daisy; mini chrysanthemum


CIRCLE FLOWER, Lysimachia punctata “Alexander”

CLEMATIS, “My Angel,” small-flower Clematis

NEW IN 2017 COCKSCOMB, dwarf, “Coral Garden Mix”


COLEUS (different cultivars), Solenostemon scutellarioides

COLUMBINE, Aquilegia canadensis (various colors)

CONEFLOWER, “Hot Papaya”; Rudbeckia subtomentosa, “Henry Eilers”

CORAL BELLS, see Heuchera

NEW IN 2017 CORALBERRY, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

NEW IN 2017 CORN, “Golden Midget”; “Painted Mountain”

CORNCOCKLE, “Milas Mixed”


COSMOS, “Xanthos”; NEW IN 2017, C. bipinnatus, “Fizzy Rose Picotee”; “Cupcakes White”

CREEPING JENNY, Lysimachia nummularia “Aurea”

NEW IN 2017, CRESS, Persian cress

CROCOSMIA, “Lucifer”

NEW IN 2017 CUCUMBER, “Patio Snacker”

NEW IN 2017 CUPID’S DART, Catananche caerulea var. Alba

NEW IN 2017 Cymbalaria muralis, Kenilworth ivy


DAHLIAS: NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE “Arabian Night” (decorative); “Lindsay Michelle” (cactus); “Alauna-Clair Obscur” (cactus); “Party” (single); “Peter” (ball); “Sunny Boy” (ball); White Perfection” (dinnerplate); “Vancouver” (dinnerplate); “Grand Prix” (dinnerplate); “Peter” (miniature ball)

NEW IN 2017, DAME’S ROCKET, Hesperis matronalis

DAYLILY, Hemerocallis, named cultivars: ; plus unnamed (unknown) varieties


NEW IN 2017 DIANTHUS superbus “Rainbow”

DRAGONWORT, Persicaria bistorta “Superba”

ECHINACEA, see Coneflower

NEW IN 2017 ELEPHANT EARS, Colocasia

ENDIVE, “Frisee”

EPIMEDIUM, see Fairy Wings

NEW IN 2017 EUONYMOUS americanus, strawberry bush (a.k.a., “Hearts a-Busting”)

EUPHORBIA, see Spurge

FAIRY WINGS (a.k.a. Bishops’ Mitre), Epimedium, various cultivars

NEW IN 2017 FENUGREEK greens

FERNS, Ostrich • Sensitive • Wood • NEW IN 2017 “Ghost” fern; NEW IN 2017 Autumn ferns, Dryopteris erythrosora


FILIPENDULA rubra, Queen of the Prairie; F. ulmaria, Meadowsweet

FOAM FLOWER, see Tiarella

FORGET-ME-NOT, Brunnera macrophylla, “Langtrees” and other cultivars; NEW IN 2017 “Mystery Rose” Chinese forget-me-not


NEW IN 2014 FOUR O’CLOCK, wild, Mirabilis longiflora

NEW IN 2017 FOXGLOVE, “Summer King”; “Rusty” Digitalis ferruginea gigantea

GAURA lindheimeri “Summer Breeze”

GERANIUM maculatum, “Espresso”; G. oxonianum, “Claridge Druce”; G. macrorihizum (bigfoot cranesbill); G. sanguineum “Max Frei”; G. platyanthum, “Wooly”

NEW IN 2017 GILIA tricolor (annual), Birds Eyes

GINGER, Asarum (various cultivars, both native American and Asian)

The "Boone" Gladiolus

The “Boone” Glad

GLADIOLUS dalenii,” Boone” (1920’s heirloom)

GOLDENROD, Solidago “Gold Spangles” variegated

GRASS, Miscanthus sinensis zebrinus Zebragrass; Imperata cyclindrica “Rubra” Japanese bloodgrass; Dwarf Mondo grass; Black Mondo grass

NEW in 2017 Hazel nut shrubs Corylus americana

NEW in 2017 HEAL-ALL Prunella vulgaris

HELLEBORUS, see Lenten Rose


HEUCHERA, NEW IN 2017 “Fire Chief”; “Obsidian”

HEUCHERELLA, NEW IN 2017 “Buttered Rum”

NEW IN 2017 HIBISCUS, Russian, Kitaibelia vitifolia

NEW IN 2017 HIBISCUS cannabinus, Kenaf

HOLLYHOCK, Alcea rosea, “Outhouse Hollyhocks”; NEW IN 2017 “Dwarf Queeny Mix”

HONEYSUCKLE, BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND IN 2017 Lonicera sempervirens, “Major Wheeler”

HORSERADISH, Armoracia rusticana

HOSTA, MINIATURE “Electrocution”; also unnamed green, gold, white variegated varieties

HYDRANGEA arborscens, “Annabelle”; H. paniculata grandiflora (“Pee-Gee”); NEW IN 2017 Hydrangea serrate “Beni”

HYPERICUM calycinum, St. John’s Wort

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND in 2017 INDIAN PINK, Spigelia marilandica

IRIS, Louisiana, “Ann Chowning”; I. sibirica, blue Siberian Iris; I. sibirica, white Siberian, “Snowcrest”; I. sibirica “Caesar’s Brother”; Iris, “walking” (house plant), Neomarica gracilis; I. pseudacorus, yellow flag; NEW in 2017 I. sibirica, “Silver Edge”; NEW in 2017 Iris “Carl Amason”; Bearded Iris “Grand Canyon”

ITEA virginica, Virginia sweet spire, “Henry’s Garnet”

JADE TREES, Crassula ovata (house plant)

JAPANESE MAPLE TREES, Acer palmatus and A. japonica, several different collector varieties

NEW IN 2017 JOB’S TEARS, Coix lacryma-jobi

NEW IN 2017 KALE, dwarf Siberian

KENILWORTH IVY, see Cymbalaria muralis

KERRIA, a.k.a. EASTER ROSE, Kerria japonica

LADY’S MANTLE, Alchemilla mollis; dwarf Lady’s Mantle

LAMIUM purpureum, purple dead nettle

LENTEN ROSE, NEW IN 2017 “Ballerina Ruffles”; “Wedding Ruffles”; “Snow Love”; Helleborus orientalis (unnamed cultivars)

NEW IN 2017 LETTUCE, “Heirloom Cutting”; “Harris Blend”; “Parris Island Cos”; Mizuna “Red Streaks”; Siamese Dragon Stir Fry Mix; Red Wing Mix; Rocky Top Mix

LIGULARIA, “Desdemona”; NEW FOR 2017 L. przewalskii, “Przewalski’s leopardplant”

LILAC, old-fashioned; Syringa pubescens subsp. patula, “Miss Kim”

LILY OF THE VALLEY, Convallaria majalis

Asiatic LILIES: NEW AND BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND FOR THE 2017 SALE “Tiny Ghost” (dwarf); “Tiny Sensation” (dwarf); “Tiny Padhye” (dwarf); “Vermeer”; “Summer Breeze”; “Black Out”; “Strawberry & Cream”; “Double Sensation”

"Stargazer" Lily

“Stargazer” Lily

Oriental LILIES (highly fragrant): NEW FOR THE 2017 SALE “Sunny Bonaire” (dwarf); “Sunny Keys” (dwarf); “Stargazer”; “Pink Romance”; “Fleeting Romance”; “Thalita”; “Cassandra”; “Zirconia” (trumpet); “Regale” (trumpet)

NEW in 2017 Regal LILIES

NEW in 2017 LIMNANTHES douglasii, Poached Egg

 LOOSTRIFE, FRINGED, Lysimachia ciliata “Firecracker”

LUPINE, dwarf “Pixies Delight”; “Russell Mix”

NEW IN 2017 MAGNOLIA virginiana, sweetbay magnolia; M. stellata, Star magnolia


MARIGOLD, “Crackerjack”; NEW IN 2017 Mexican marigold, Tagetes lucida

MASTERWORT, Astrantia major; NEW FOR 2017, “Star of Fire”

MEADOW RUE, Thalictrum aquilegifolium

MEADOWSWEET, see Filipendula ulmaria

MOCK ORANGE trees, Philadelphus

MONARDA, see Bee Balm


MONKSHOOD, a.k.a. ‘Wolfsbane,’ Aconitum napellus

NEW IN 2017 MONKEY FLOWER, yellow, Mimulus luteus, “Queen’s Prize”


NEW IN 2017 MORNING GLORY, dwarf, Convolvulus tricolor “Ensign Mix”; “Chocolate White Edge”; “Kikyozaki Mixed”

MOUNTAIN BLUET, see Centaurea montana

NASTURTIUM Tropaeolum, “Empress of India”; Canary Vine, Tropaeolum peregrinum; NEW IN 2017 “Sahin’s Paso Double”

NEW IN 2017 NICOTIANA mutabilis, flowering tobacco; dwarf, “Starmaker Lime”

NEW IN 2017 NIGELLA, “African Bride”

NEW IN 2017 OKRA, “Cajun Jewel Dwarf”

 OREGANO, GOLDEN, Origanum vulgare “Aureum”

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND IN 2017 OXALIS deppei, “Iron Cross”

PACHYSANDRA, Pachysandra Terminalis “Japanese Spurge”; NEW IN 2017, P. procumbens, Allegheny pachysandra

PAINTER’S PALETTE, Persicaria virginiana var. Filiformis

PAPAVER, see Poppy

PEA, “Tom Thumb”; NEW IN 2017 PEA, dwarf Blauwschokkers, “Desiree”

PENSTEMON, Penstemon Digitalis “HUCKSTER RED”; NEW IN 2017 “Dark Towers”

PEONY, NEW IN 2017 “Edulis-Superba”; “Sarah Bernhardt”

NEW IN 2017 PEPPER, “Ashe County Pimento Sweet Pepper”

PERIWINKLE, Vinca minor


"Cherry Caramel" Phlox

“Cherry Caramel” Phlox

PHLOX, PURPLE GARDEN, Phlox paniculata; NEW IN 2017 “Cherry Caramel,” annual Phlox; “Sugar Stars,” annual Phlox

PLUM TREE, American plums, Prunus americana

PLUME POPPY, Macleaya cordata

POPPY, California; NEW IN 2017 breadseed, “Hens and Chicks”; Corn poppies, “Shirley Single Mix” and “American Legion”

QUEEN OF THE PRAIRIE, see Filipendula rubra

NEW IN 2017 RADISH, “French Breakfast”

NEW IN 2017 RAGGED ROBIN CAMPION, Lychnis flos-cuculi

RASPBERRIES, “Anne” yellow; “Bristol” black

REDBUD TREES, Cercis canadensis

ROSE CAMPION, Lychnis coronaria

NEW in 2017 RUBARB

RUDBECKIA, see Black-Eyed Susan

SAGE, see Salvia

SAINT JOHN’S WORT, see Hypericum

NEW IN 2017 SALVIA coccinea, “Summer Jewel”; S. officinalis, culinary sage

NEW IN 2017 SASSAFRAS trees (2-3 foot),

SEDGE, BROAD LEAF, Carex siderosticha variegata; PALM SEDGE, “Oheme,” Carex muskingumensis

SEDUM, Hylotelephium telephium ‘AUTUMN JOY’; other various cultivars

SHASTA DAISY, NEW IN 2017 Leucanthemum “Broadway Lights”

SILVER KING WORMWOOD, see Artemesia Ludoviciana

NEW IN 2017 SINNINGIA tubiflora, dwarf hardy Gloxinia

SNAKEROOT, CHOCOLATE, Ageratina altissima

SNOW-ON-MOUNTAIN, a.k.a. BISHOP’S WEED, Aegopodium podagraria “Variegatum”

SNOWBALL BUSHES, see under Viburnum

SOLOMON’S SEAL, DWARF, Polygonatum humile “Tom Thumb”; variegated Solomon’s Seal

NEW in 2017 SOURWOOD trees, Oxydendron

NEW IN 2017 SPICEBUSH, Lindera benzoin

SPINY BEAR’S BREECHES, Acanthus spinosus and A. mollis

SPURGE, Euphorbia dulcis (purple)

STOCK, Matthiola incana NEW IN 2017 “Hot Cakes”

STRAWBERRIES, NEW IN 2017, “Cavendish”

STRAWFLOWER, Everlasting, “Tall Double Mix”; NEW IN 2017 STRAWFLOWER, Acroclinum, “Double Giant Flowered”

NEW IN 2017 SUNFLOWER, “Firecracker”; “Spot Cola,” dwarf; “Hopi Dye”

NEW IN 2017 SWEET PEA, “Nimbus”; “Oxford/Cambridge”; “Knee Hi”; “Old Spice Mix”

SWEET WOODRUFF, Galium odoratum

SWISS CHARD, see Chard

TANSY, Tanacetum vulgare “ISLA GOLD”; and common Feverfew

TASSLE FLOWER, Emilia coccinea

NEW IN 2017 THELESPERMA burridgeanum, Burridge’s greenthread

TIARELLA, NEW IN 2017 “Candy Striper”; “Oakleaf”

TOAD LILY, VARIEGATED, Tricyrtis macropoda “Tricolor”


Native Blue Vervain

Native Blue Vervain

NEW IN 2017 Verbena hastata, native Blue Vervain

VERBASCUM chaixii f. album, “Wedding Candles”

VERBENA-ON-A-STICK, Verbena bonariensis

VIBURNUM BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND in 2017 Snowball Bushes, Viburnum opulus roseum; NEW IN 2017 Nannyberry, Viburnum lentago

VINCA, see Periwinkle

VIOLETS, various cultivars including “Sorbet”; NEW IN 2017 Viola walteri “Silver Gem”; NEW IN 2017 Viola “Coconut Swirl”

VIRGINIA SWEETSPIRE, see Itea virginica

NEW IN 2017 WHEAT, black ornamental

WOODRUFF, see Sweet Woodruff

NEW IN 2017 YARROW, “Cerise Queen”; fern-leaf yarrow

ZINNIA, purple and carmen rose


Mar 312017

imageMatt Wasson, program director for Appalachian Voices, will give the keynote address at the Watauga County Democratic convention on April 8 on the topic “Rolling Back the Enlightenment: Inside the Conservative War on Science.”

Matt Wasson moved to Boone in 2001 as the new executive director of Appalachian Voices, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the land, air, water, and people of the Appalachian Region. Since 2001, Matt has served the organization in many other capacities including editor of The Appalachian Voice newspaper. As the current director of programs, Wasson provides long-range vision and oversees the organization’s response to major pollution events like the Dan River Coal Ash spill in 2014.

Wasson received his B.S. in zoology from the University of Washington and Ph.D. in ecology from Cornell University. Beginning with his dissertation research on the impacts of acid rain on birds, Wasson has worked on all aspects of the “coal cycle” — from mining, transportation and combustion of coal to the disposal of power plant waste. A nationally recognized authority on mountaintop removal coal mining and coal economics, Matt frequently testifies before Congress and state legislative committees and is a contributor to high-profile media outlets including Huffington Post, Grist and Climate Progress.

The 2017 Watauga Democratic convention will convene at noon on April 8 for potluck luncheon in the lobby outside Courtroom No. 1 in the Watauga County Courthouse. The convention program will begin at 1 p.m.


Mar 162017

By Lisa O’Donnell, Winston-Salem Journal:

imageMarch 16, 2017 — About 20 people braved the cold and wind in Clemmons Wednesday to send a message to U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th, that they are not happy with the proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act.

Christy Robinson of Winston-Salem said the American Health Care Act, a plan put forth by House Republicans last week, would leave too many people without health insurance.

“If there needs to be tweaks to the ACA, we are for pursuing those options, rather than racing to repeal it with a subpar plan that is inadequate,” Robinson said.

She is a member of Women of Action, a newly formed group of Winston-Salem women who joined a rally at Foxx’s district office in Clemmons.

Indivisible Piedmont NC, a grassroots advocacy group, organized the rally. For the past several weeks, the group has presented its concerns to Foxx’s office.

It did the same Wednesday, meeting with a Foxx staff member, and it added some sign-holding on a sidewalk that runs along Clemmons Road.

Sherrod McDaniel, a Lewisville resident and member of Indivisible Piedmont NC, said they represent the 40,000 people in the Fifth District signed up for the ACA, also known as Obamacare, as well as 550,000 recipients of ACA in the state.

“We are not going to let this go,” she said. “We are going to keep pushing.”

Foxx backed the AHCA in a speech on the House floor on March 7, saying it includes common-sense reforms that will give people more choices while lowering costs.

Beyond dissatisfaction with the AHCA, people at Wednesday’s event repeated their demand that Foxx come to her district for a town hall-style meeting.

“She needs to know that we are looking for her to be responsive toward us,” said Anne Peterson of Elkin, who added that it feels as if Foxx is dismissing her and others with Indivisible Piedmont NC.

Foxx is not currently planning a town hall meeting, spokeswoman Sheridan Watson said on Wednesday. Watson released this statement from Foxx:

“It is important to use many different ways to gather information from North Carolinians on their concerns,” the statement said. “There are ample opportunities for constituents to tell me what they think on any issue: in person, in letters, over e-mail, on the phone, etc. I typically return home every weekend and attend several public events so I can hear from people directly.”

Several members of Indivisible Piedmont NC plan to protest U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s speech Friday at the annual Forsyth County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Day Dinner.


Mar 062017

Letter to the Editor, High Country Press:

imageHigh Country Forward, a grass roots community group, sponsored a Tea and Cookies event on King Street on Saturday that reminded me why I love living in Boone. Nearly one hundred people filled F.A.R.M. Café and patiently listened for two hours as citizens spoke with civility, passion, and concern about the issues facing the nation, state, and high country.

Before the meeting, attendees socialized with tea and cookies. The lack of civility in the last election cycle was a common conversational theme. Boone residents lamented the lack of a moderate voice to speak for the high country. Democrats, independents, one disillusioned Republican, and a Libertarian all spoke with me. A retired teacher, a physician, an Iraq war veteran, a Vietnam veteran, a high school student, grandmothers, mothers, daughters, grandfathers, fathers, and sons addressed the crowd about education, health care, jobs, and national security.

Unfortunately, they had to speak to a photograph of Virginia Foxx as she declined to attend the meeting.

If she had attended, Ms. Foxx would have learned that high country citizens depend on the ACA to cover them, that many people with chronic conditions could not be treated without the ACA, that some people will die or go bankrupt if it is repealed. She would have heard that parents are concerned that their special needs children will not receive the education and care they deserve if The Every Child Succeeds Act is repealed. She would have seen that citizens care about educating all children. She would have discovered that people have questions about the voucher system. She would have understood that Boone citizens care that hungry children get a nutritious meal in school—maybe their only meals of the day. She would have noticed that her constituents want her to be a representative for the entire high country, not just the ones who nod and agree. Her constituents want to hear a public statement not just of what she supports, but why she supports it.

Virginia Foxx gave HFC the vaguest of statements which were printed and distributed to attendees and read aloud. She has an entire office in Washington, DC. Surely some of her staffers can research the issues and provide her with facts that go beyond the ideological talking points she e-mailed. Representative Foxx has said that she prefers to answer each e-mail and question she receives individually. That seems like an inefficient use of her time and tax-payer funds. She could have answered 100 citizens, taken follow-up questions, and gotten to know some people who care about her positions.

High Country Forward is a group of local citizens who began meeting after the November election. We are non-partisan and care about the future of the high country and its residents. None of us are professional politicians. We all live and work here, send our kids to school here, own our homes here, pay taxes here, belong to churches here, and want to make the high country the best it can be for everyone. Someone will probably claim that the event was a partisan stunt. Although an emerging Democratic opponent of Foxx spoke briefly at the end of the meeting, HCF reiterated that she was there as a citizen, had not been invited and that the meeting was not a campaign event. As one of the organizers of the event, I know that is true.

I have never been prouder to be an American or to call North Carolina home than I was on Saturday.


Mareva McDaniel

Boone, NC

Feb 082017

imageThe schedule, including dates, times, and locations for the 2017 annual Watauga County Democratic Party precinct meetings, is copied below. If you do not know your precinct, write and include your full name and your residential address. Precinct meetings are open to Democrats and to Unaffiliated voters who wish to allign with the Democratic Party.

Bald Mountain Three Forks Bapt. Assn., 513 Hwy 194 (Jefferson Rd.), Boone. 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Beaver Dam Bethel Elementary School Media Center. 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Beech Mountain

Blowing Rock American Legion bldg., 333 Wallingford Rd, Blowing Rock. 4 p.m., Sunday, March 5. Contact

Blue Ridge 1419 Deerfield Rd., Boone. 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Boone 1 Boone Town Council Chambers, 1500 Blowing Rock Rd., Boone. 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Boone 2 Boone Town Council Chambers, 1500 Blowing Rock Rd., Boone. 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Boone 3 Roess Dining Hall, Appalachian State University (entrance nearest the elevated walkway over Rivers St.), Boone. 6:30 p.m., Monday, March 6. Contact

Brushy Fork Boone Town Council Chambers, 1500 Blowing Rock Rd., Boone. 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Cove Creek Western Watauga Community Center, 1081 Old US Hwy 421, Sugar Grove. Thursday, March 2, 6 p.m. Contact

Elk Stewart Simmons Fire Dept.. Wednesday, March 15, 7 p.m. Contact

Laurel Creek Western Watauga Community Center, 1081 Old US Hwy 421, Sugar Grove. Thursday, March 2, 6 p.m. Contact

Meat Camp Three Forks Bapt. Assn. bldg, 513 Hwy 194 (Jefferson Rd.), Boone. 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

New River 1 Boone Town Council Chambers, 1500 Blowing Rock Rd., Boone. 6:00 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

New River 2 Three Forks Bapt. Assn. bldg, 513 Hwy 194 (Jefferson Rd.), Boone. 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

New River 3 Three Forks Bapt. Assn. bldg, 513 Hwy 194 (Jefferson Rd.), Boone. 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact


Stony Fork Three Forks Bapt. Assn. bldg, 513 Hwy 194 (Jefferson Rd.), Boone. 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 7. Contact

Watauga 643 Schaffer Road, Boone. 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 1. Contact

Jan 262017

By Grace McEntee, Cove Creek Precinct, Watauga County:

imageI could have left for Washington from Boone, but I wanted to go with my two sisters, so I drove to Alabama where the three of us boarded Birmingham Bus #2 — completely full of marchers — for the 13-hour trip to D. C. (going back over most of the route I had just come down).

We parked at RFK Stadium, where buses of marchers were pulling in every minute. As we walked toward the march’s starting point, down the sidewalks of residential D.C., drivers passing by tooted their horns, waved, and shouted supportive words. Residents came out, often bringing their young children, to wave and thank us for coming. One woman handed out bags of cookies to us. Not a single person made an unsupportive remark or gesture.

Despite arriving early, we never made it to the pre-march rally, where the speakers were. There were far too many marchers — thousands and thousands of us were backed up into any and every empty street we could find. The overflow crowd took up block after block after block.

The three of us ended up crowded like sardines on a street alongside the National Museum of the American Indian. We stood there, shoulder to shoulder to shoulder, for two hours, waiting for the march to begin. There was no place to sit or get indoors on that chilly day. Port-a-john line waits were often an hour long. No food venders were around. As lunchtime came and went, we ate snacks we had in our pockets.

Amazingly, everyone stayed cheerful, patient, and considerate.

The creativity of the signs that marchers brought with them helped keep us in good spirits. Many bore messages supporting our country’s diversity, demands for equality and social justice, or environmental concerns.

Many made their points with a great deal of humor. Among my favorites: “Where do I begin?”; “Resistance is fertile”; “And you thought I was nasty before?”; “Putin played his Trump card”; “A woman’s place is in the Revolution”’; “OMG GOP WTF”; “We are the granddaughters of the witches you could not burn”; “I can see Russia from the White House”; and “Dear World, we’re sorry.” Pink “pussy hats” abounded.

March time came and passed. Finally, word got to us that the crowd was far too big for the planned march route, and we were to take our part of the march wherever we could. So off we went to streets around the National Mall.

For the next hour or two marchers walked the streets, chanting, showing off our signs, merging at intersections, and winding our way through our country’s capital, often shouting out the powerful reminder: “This is what democracy looks like!”

The lack of police presence was striking. I saw only half a dozen officers other than those directing traffic. The only “incident” I witnessed was when a policeman asked a woman who had shimmied up a light post to come down. “I’m concerned for your safety,” he said. So she came down, with the officer cupping his hands to give her a safe last foothold as she neared the ground.

I also witnessed marcher after marcher thanking the officers directing traffic at pedestrian walkways. Civility abounded. Several officers thanked us for coming. And on the way back to the bus a minister and his parishioners stood by the sidewalk to invite us to use their church restrooms if needed, and to offer us bottles of water.

I had no idea what to expect from the Woman’s March on Washington. Would there be violence? Would the tone be full of bitterness, hate, or despair? None of my worries materialized. Some of the speeches I heard once I got home channeled the anger that many felt during a particularly divisive election, but if I had to pick one word to describe the tone of the day it would be joyful.

There was a palpable optimism and joy in the air — along with a sense of resolve and a newfound confidence that ordinary citizens could find ways to influence government officials, even those with immense wealth and power, to pay attention to the needs and concerns of their constituents. All of us went home knowing there would be many lost skirmishes in the days, months, and years to come, some of them heart-breaking. But all of us also came home with a new sense of purpose, a new commitment to action, and a new network to keep us motivated and organized.

Dec 062016

imageThe Democratic Women’s Club of Watauga County is once again hosting a Holiday Party for local Democrats and their friends on Sunday afternoon, December 11, 3-5 p.m., at the Agricultural Conference Center on Poplar Grove Rd. in Boone.

“It’s a pot-luck party,” said Women’s Club President Loretta Clawson, “so if you want to you can bring something to share, something sweet or something savory — it doesn’t matter. And if you can’t bring anything, that’s all right. We’re Democrats, and we always have plenty of food for everyone!”

President Clawson announced that the famous Sisters of Perpetual Sarcasm would be performing, and there will be “tons” of door prizes which will be given out.

“We have plenty of reason to celebrate the season,” Clawson added, “from a new governor to a new County Commission. Come join us!”

Nov 102016

imageBOONE, N.C. — A special holiday “cash mob” will storm into the Appalachian Antique Mall in downtown Boone on Saturday morning, November 19, and then go to lunch at Mint Indian Cuisine restaurant buffet in the Boone Heights Shopping Center.

The Watauga County Cash Mob is an organized infusion of economic stimulus into the local economy. All members of the community are invited to participate.

The Appalachian Antique Mall (631 W. King St.) is the largest collection of antique and vintage items in Watauga County, some 15,000 square feet of china, furniture, jewelry, books, collectibles, and furnishings of all kinds.

The Cash Mob will arrive at 10 a.m. and spend a couple of hours shopping the three floors and many different vendors.

From King Street, the cash mob will go to Mint Indian Cuisine lunch buffet which will feature a wide variety of seafood delicacies, chicken dishes, and vegetarian fare.

The Watauga Cash Mob is a project of the Watauga County Democratic Party and was launched in 2012 as a way to celebrate and help local businesses.

Nov 092016

By John Brasier, Watauga Democrat:

imageBOONE — Democrat Larry Turnbow unseated incumbent Republican David Blust in Tuesday’s Watauga County Board of Commissioners race, swinging the board to a 3-2 Democratic majority.

Powered by huge support in early voting at Appalachian State University and the Watauga County Administration Building, Turnbow captured 50.93 percent of the vote in District 4, beating Blust by 512 votes for the District 4 seat.

All election results are unofficial until verified by election canvasses by the county and the state. Watauga Board of Elections member Stella Anderson said about 500 provisional ballots would be counted at a county canvass on Nov. 18 if voter registration can be verified.

Turnbow outpolled Blust by 2,270 votes in early voting at ASU. Turnbow also won by a big margin – 1,245 votes – in early voting at the Administration Building.

“I am really gratified that the people of Watauga County decided to make a change on the county board,” Turnbow said. “This is a positive step for our community, our schools and a chance to work on our recreation opportunities. I look forward to working in a positive direction for the people of Watauga County. That’s what I ran on and that’s how they voted.”

Blust beat Turnbow in 2014.

“It’s really easy to stand up here when you win, and I’ve lost races before, and it’s difficult to lose a race, especially when you’re representing the county like you folks,” Blust said. “It’s been an honor to serve you, and I mean that. I’m always optimistic, but you never know in a presidential year what the college is going to do to you, so it’s tough. But again, it’s really truly been an honor to serve you as a county commissioner.”

Republican Perry Yates and Democrat John Welch successfully held on to their seats on the school board. Yates captured 52.61 percent of the votes against Diane Warman Blanks while Welch won 55.39 percent in a victory over Elizabeth Shukis.

Yates and Welch earned four-year terms as the two winners with the highest vote totals, leaving Turnbow with a two-year term.

“I’m humbled. Thank you for letting me serve you for the last four years, and now four more years,” Yates said. “I’ll do my best to maintain Godly, conservative values. I’ll fight for each one of you as hard as I have before, and I’ll do my best to be your representative.”

In N.C. House District 93, incumbent Republican Jonathan Jordan of Ashe County won reelection, receiving 53 percent of the votes against Democrat Sue Counts of Watauga, despite losing Watauga County.

Jordan credited the victory to his campaign focus on House achievements made during his last term.

“I think the fact that I ran a pretty darn positive campaign,” said Jordan, adding that voters agreed with his perspective. “I think that message got through to the people.”

“I’m grateful first of all to my family, and to all those who participated in my campaign and this hard-fought election,” Counts said in a prepared statement. “I congratulate Rep. Jordan on his victory, and hope he will take seriously the concerns of the thousands of voters in Ashe and Watauga counties who have shown their displeasure with politics as usual in Raleigh.”

In N.C. Senate District 45, incumbent Republican Deanna Ballard of Boone routed Democrat Art Sherwood of Caldwell County, receiving 65 percent of the vote.

“It’s been such a joy and a learning experience over the last year, and I want to thank you for believing in me and having faith in me,” Ballard said. “I promise I’m committed to being the hardest-working senator for you guys.”

Despite the easy victory, Ballard won Watauga County by only 99 votes. The almost 5,900 voters at ASU gave Sherwood a margin greater than 2-1.

Brenda Reese, Ron Henries and Barbara Kinsey won seats on the Watauga County school board in a tight race pitting four candidates for three spots. Steve Combs finished with 13,575 votes, only 1,309 fewer than No. 3 vote-getter Kinsey.

In the N.C. District Court Judge District 24 battle of Watauga candidates, Rebecca Eggers-Gryder had a seemingly comfortable lead with 52.59 percent of the vote against challenger Josh Teague.

Brian Miller and Jeff Eason contributed reporting to this article.

© 2016