April 24th, 2017 meeting and events


Guest speaker, John Cooper, Chairman Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, presented to Blowing Rock Rotary club members on Monday, April 24th, all the reasons why the theatre is of such significance and importance to the High Country, which encompasses not only Watauga County but regions beyond: Avery, Ashe, Caldwell and throughout the High Country. The economic impact on the town of Boone and all of Watauga County is in the millions of dollars. According to John it only makes good “cents” to invest in such a project. With 80% of their goal reached they are looking to the governments to contribute to the re-building effort because of the importance to the community, not only economically, but culturally as well. The funds needed keep escalating as time goes by, therefore the importance of reaching their funding goal quickly is to avoid additional expenditures due to escalating costs.

First constructed in 1938, the building as shown here, was a popular venue for patrons of the movie theatre. The original façade, as shown here, was torn down and the building was vacated and gutted. The intent of the project is to historically restore the theatre to its original 1938 art deco design, as shown below.

Interior demolitions and exterior renovations, which includes the façade and marquee, are part of phase 1, which is just about complete. The first phase should be done in the coming days; all that’s really left to do on the exterior is finishing up below the marquee as crews wait on some of the glass for the exterior doors and box office.

As you can see by this recent photo, much of the original design of the marquee has been captured in the new design.

For more visit their website: savetheapptheatre.com



The April student of the month, Lena Westwood, was presented her award and a $25 gift certificate from Staples. Shown here with President Ray and her parents, Dan and Andrea Westwood, she plans to use the certificate to purchase school supplies for next year. Her favorite subject: MATH. When asked about her future plans after high school she said she wants to attend the University of Minnesota, which should make Jim West happy.


Rotaract and Blowing Rock Rotary combined their efforts to package over 20,000 meals for the Rise Against Hunger initiative. The pictures below are of some of our members who assisted in the packaging: Ray Pickett, Kenneth Wehrmann, Mike Page, Vernon Dunn, Kathy & Bill Leahey, Sylvia and Cullie Tarleton, and Virginia Vanstory.

President Ray Pickett, left

Treasurer, Bill Leahey, right







Mike Page, left
Vernon Dunn & Bill Leahey, right








Cullie Tarleton, left
Virginia Vanstory, right




Thanks to Vice President Kenneth Wehrmann for all the pictures



Mike Page gave a dollar to the C.A.R.T. bucket so he could brag about his leading horse.  Jim Clabough , pictured above, says “Not so fast Mike, Rob’s Riders are very close behind so you better beat that horse a little harder. In third place is Kenneth’s Winners, fourth is Ray’s Chargers and bringing up the rear is Van’s Victors. Jim reported the sales to date are over $27,000 with just a few weeks to go. He would like us to set a new record so keep on running everyone, the race is not over, until it is over!


Only $700 of raffle ticket sold to date, according to Charlie. Half of the pot goes to the winner and the other half goes to the club Foundation, so come on every body, let’s get in the race!


April 17th, 2017 Program and Events


Judith Phoenix, pictured here,  the Board Chair of the BRWIA, was one of the three speaker’s at Rotary’s Luncheon meeting last Monday.. Before her retirement she worked at Appalachian Regional Medical Center in Home Health and Dialysis and was an adjunct instructor in social work at ASU. Very active in other community affairs, she devotes much of her time to promoting women’s involvement in agriculture. She does not herself own a farm but is passionate about this organization, which is dedicated to strengthening the High Country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education, and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture.



Agriculture’s CRAFT program. CRAFT stands for Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training and cultivates meaningful mentor relationships between aspiring and experienced farmers. Dave previously worked as the Program Manager and Grant Writer of High Country Local First’s entrepreneurship program, Ascent Business Network. He holds a MA in Appalachian Studies and Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences from Appalachian State University and a BA in American Studies from Sewanee: The University of the South. Dave’s Masters Thesis concerned how first-generation farmers become successful in Blue Ridge Appalachia, and counts himself amongst them as he launched his farm, Daffodil Spring Farm, in the spring of 2017.  When asked about organic food production Dave said the challenges imposed by FDA and other regulatory agencies are enormous. Records must be kept and maintained on a daily basis; where grown, what type of soil and many of other requirements that are necessary, but burdensome for small farming operation. Another challenge is the aging out of farmers. As farmers grow older, they are not often replaced by willing offspring who elect to use their education and talents in a more lucrative endeavor.


Shannon Carroll has 30+ years of experience providing leadership and support for instructional technology for Watauga County Schools. She is currently dividing her time among 3 positions – being the High Country Food Hub Coordinator, the Lettuce Learn garden coordinator for Parkway School, and helping her husband, Terry, with his SunCatcher Passive Solar Greenhouse business. She also recently earned her Master Gardener certification.

Shannon explained that farmers in our region have limited space to store their crops or products and need boxes in which to put items they produce .

One of the solutions is the “HIGH COUNTRY FOOD HUB” , where they can share freezer, cooler and root crop storage space. They can, through a cooperative effort, order in bulk, certain needs that would be cost prohibitive on an individual basis. The High Country’s Food Hub Online Marketplace which went live just recently, April 7th, hopes to be another avenue to farmers getting their products out to consumers in a wide area of the High Country.. There are over 200 products available online. Shannon encouraged Rotarian’s in attendance to “get involved!” You have a series of ways to get involved: By attending a workshop, visiting the Ashe or Watauga Seed Library, supporting their “double bucks” program, joining the 11th annual farm tour, shopping the hub , and of course, becoming a member.

To learn more about his program go to brwia.org and to go to the Online Marketplace go to foodhub.brwia.org on the internet.



Charles Hardin, CEO, Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and member of our club, presented a check for $1,500 to President Ray Pickett, from proceeds of the 2017 Winterfest. The money will be added to the C.A.R.T. fund. Also donated was a check by Bill Leahey, Treasurer, from C.A.R.T. bucket donations this year.


On April 3rd the Neurosurgical Society of America, presented David Kline a Gold Medal for his service. Again on April 10th, David was the Conley Lecturer in New Orleans. Congratulations David!


Jim Clabough, Chair of the Horse Show Contest, said that new member Mike Pace’s team is way ahead in the race and that this year’s effort is ahead of last year’s pace. (No pun intended)



Abe Bachman, March, 2017, Student of the Month, wrote this letter of thanks to the club for honoring him with his award. We received the letter just before our meeting April 17. The print is a little small so we’ve reprinted it verbatim below:

“Dear Rotarian Club of Blowing Rock. This is Abe Bachman, the student of the month for March. I would like to thank you for lunch and having me as company. I would also like to thank you for the $25 gift card to Staples. I have used that money to buy two very nice pencles in wich I am using to write this letter. I know you may be receive this letter a while after I received my reward but I would like to show my gratitude. Sincerely – Abe Bachman.”


April 10th, 2017 Program

Blowing Rock Rotary donates $1,000 to Wine to Water

Madi Barker                  Josh Elliott                President Ray Pickett


Blowing Rock Rotary Club’s Monday noon meeting, Madi Barker and Josh Elliott told the story of Wine to Water, in which they turn filthy, dirty water into clean drinkable water for families in poverty-stricken places like Dominican Republic, Uganda, Cambodia, Haiti, Ukula and Nepal.

The founder of Wine to Water is Doc Hendley, a bartender from Raleigh. Doc who was familiar with nearly every wine but knew little about water. On a sleepless night, Doc had an epiphany of sorts, when the words “wine and water” kept bouncing around in his head. In this vision he realized a need for clean water in countries that are underdeveloped for people who are hurting and forgotten in this world. The problem worldwide is that women and children spend 200 million hours every day collecting water (not clean but contaminated water). Waterborne illnesses are the number one killer of children under 5 years of age in the world, and a child dies every 90 seconds from a water-related disease.

The solutions in many ways are simple: $1 dollar can provide clean water for 1 person for 1 year. A ceramic water filter, which looks like a flower pot, can provide clean water to a family of 5 for at least 5 years. Ceramic water filters which are made of clay, sawdust and Nano-silver are $50 each. They are currently being made in the Dominican Republic and are fired in a kiln at 1000º F. A Bio-sand filter can provide clean water to a household for a generation or more, and new and repaired wells can lift communities out of a cycle of waterborne illness forever. To repair a well costs $1,500. Water crisis, said Josh, is the number one global risk based on impact to society according to the World Economic Forum. Rotary International has agreed to provide funds for 175 ceramic water filters and the donation that our club made to WTW last year made it possible to start a project to extend water pipes to communities.

When asked how they might use the donation ($1,000) made by our club this year, Josh said it would probably be used in Nepal, their biggest need right now.



Blowing Rock Rotary Club donates $2,000 to STOP HUNGER NOW!

At the April 3rd program, President Ray Pickett presented a check to the STOP HUNGER NOW. Accepting the check from president Ray is Lydia Harris, President of the Rotaract Club at Appalachian State University. Also shown is Pattie Mackensie, International Development officer of STOP HUNGER NOW, who spoke at the meeting where she said, among other things: The importance of the STOP HUNGER NOW (SHN) stems from the startling fact that there are 795 million malnourished individuals in the world today. SHN works with 30-40 organizations in 40 countries. Rotary distributed through SHN 100,000 meals in 2010. Our own club, working with the ASU Rotaract club packed 10,000 meals last year which went to 43 countries.. Each meal provides 14g Protein, 23 essential vitamins, and can cook in 20 minutes. As a result of this effort through Rotary and Rotaract, in cooperation with SHN, there were over one million lives that were nourished last year. The goal for 2017, according to Patti, is for 74 million meals and 1,011 school childhood & youth programs, using 392,207 global volunteers.


Jim Clabough, Past President and Chairman of the Rotary Club of Blowing Rock Horseshow Event, kicked off the 2017 Horseshow Fundraising Event by assigning five team leaders and teams.