A Banner Elk man will be going to prison for sexual offenses with a child.

A trailer fire on July 4th is believed to have been intentionally set.

The 16th Annual NC Blackberry Festival is coming up this weekend in downtown Lenoir and it will be chock full of music, drinks, food, activities, and fun for people of all ages. Event goers will find a “Black beery’ Beer Garden with local breweries and craft beers, a cobbler parade, recipe contests, the Blackberry Belle Pageant for girls ages 4 to 9, songwriters can enter the Front Porch Pickin’ Songwriting Contest, where entries will perform at the main stage. The Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce is putting on the festival which also includes a 5K and fun run. Well-known local musicians, including Melissa Reaves, the King Bees, and Shelby Rae Moore, will be performing. These are just a sampling of the “everything-blackberry” events and competitions. For a complete schedule, visit

The Boone Town Council is seeking applicants for appointment to the council seated vacated by Jennifer Teague.

At the Watauga County Public Library, the County now has a MindKare mental health screening kiosk. MindKare is a touchscreen device which enables users to learn about behavioral health conditions, participate in confidential assessments and find local treatment resources. The kiosk was introduced last week at the Watauga County Public Library at 140 Queen Street. One in four Americans has a diagnosable mental health condition, yet the vast majority does not seek treatment. This type of  kiosk is designed for use in public spaces and to reduce the stigma of highly treatable mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Assessments are also available online at

You can now check out an air quality monitor from the Ashe County Library.

The nonprofit group Hunger Free America has released a report which states that over 84 percent of kids in NC fail to get summer meals. The group is publicizing the USDA National Hunger Hotline – which can be reached at 1-866-3-HUNGRY through which callers can locate summer meals sites for kids, food pantries or soup kitchens for families, and/or other government and private meals programs near them. Even though children need just as much, if not more, nutrition during the summer months, in North Carolina only 15.8 percent of kids who receive free and reduced school meals, receive summer meals.  Raising awareness about this program is the single greatest barrier to participation.  Summer meals are available to all kids 18 and under, and no identification is required. If you know of a child in need, share the National Hunger Hotline.

High Country Crime Stoppers and Blowing Rock Police seek the public’s assistance in solving the following crime:

Also from Watauga County Schools, Watauga High School students will be assigned  Chromebooks with the start of the 2017-18 school year, rather than the traditional laptop computers. Starting with the upcoming school year, Watauga County School’s 1:1 student laptop devices will change from Windows-based machines to Chromebooks. Because of the change, students will no longer be provided with backpacks  issued with a laptop, but a protective sleeve. For more information, see the Student/Parent Mobile Computing Handbook.on

AppState’s Department of Sustainability is hosting their sixth annual Appalachian Energy Summit July 10th through 12th.  The Summit is the meeting of some of the world’s most brilliant minds in energy policies and practices. The unique three-day event convenes academia, industry, and students in an effort to deliver meaningful ecological, financial and social benefit.

The 2017 theme, “Perspectives: Policy & Practice” will highlight the multiple viewpoints needed to develop successful strategies that promote clean energy production, distribution, and consumption. The Department of Sustainability would like to invite the public to their keynote speaker events. The first is on Monday the 10th at 7:30 and features Gina McCarthy, the former head of the EPA. Tuesday the 11th at 6:30 features Peabody award-winning broadcaster and urban renewal specialist Majora Carter. Both events will be held at the Schaeffer Center and are free and open to the public. TO find out more, go to sustain.appstate.e d u.

For the upcoming school year, Watauga County School system has spaces for children in the PreK Program for parents to pay $600 per month. The limited spaces are available at  the following schools:  Hardin Park, Green Valley, Cove Creek and Valle Crucis.

Interested parents and guardians may apply for a space by calling Renee Battle of Watauga County Schools at (828) 264-7190.

An application form is available at