NEWS BRIEFS: Wednesday, May 20, 2020


Fire restrictions lifted in pair of national forests

The Nantahala and Pisgah national forests lifted forest-wide fire restrictions on May 13 to allow campfires. The Forest Service is lifting these restrictions due to increased precipitation and green up throughout the forests. 

The fire restrictions went into effect on April 9 due to high fire danger. This decision was in alignment with the North Carolina Forest Service’s burn ban for 32 western counties that went into effect April 3.

Call 828-257-4200 for more information.


MECHS having drive-in graduation ceremony

Mayland Early College High School is having a drive-in graduation at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21, during which spectators will remain in their vehicles, and the sound will be projected through speakers and via FM radio.  

The plan is for students to say their speeches and walk across the stage to get their diplomas.


2020-21 county budget available for review

The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 for Mitchell County has been submitted to the Mitchell County Board of Commissioners. It is available for public inspection from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday in the Office of the Clerk to the Board of Commissioners in the Administration Building, 26 Crimson Laurel Circle in Bakersville.

A public hearing to obtain public comments about the proposed budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 1, at the Administration Building.


Spruce Pine fireworks canceled; pool won’t open

Due to the uncertainties of COVID-19 policies at the state and local levels, the Spruce Pine Town Council decided on Monday, May 11, to not open Brad Ragan Pool for the 2020 season and to cancel the Fourth of July fireworks.

Spruce Pine Town Manager Richard Canipe said the town was already late ordering the $10,000-worth of fireworks because of the pandemic. 

The uncertainty of whether they would arrive in time for the event was a factor in the decision.  


Spruce Pine budget available for review

The proposed budget for the town of Spruce Pine has been presented to the town council and is available for public inspection at the office of the town clerk.

A public hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 8, in the town hall boardroom, at which time anyone who wishes to make comments about the budget may appear.


Spruce Pine tag office closed until May 26

The Spruce Pine Tag Office will be closed through Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, and will reopen Tuesday, May 26, per orders from the state of North Carolina.

Customers are being asked to use the Burnsville tag office during this time. The Burnsville tag office may be reached by calling 828-682-2312.


Fundraiser aims to get gift bags for Class of 2020 seniors

Some residents have started a fundraiser for the Mitchell High School Class of 2020. 

Lex and Kelly Georgeou, and Nadine Teague are part of a local group donating their time and energy to put together gift baskets for graduating seniors. 

The baskets will include a custom-made T-shirt, gas cards and other items donated by local businesses for the nearly 140 members of the Class of 2020. 

Seniors will come to Blue Mountain at 278 Oak Ave. in Spruce Pine Thursday, May 28, through Saturday, May 30, to pick up the bags. 

Email Lex Georgeou at or call 828-467-0525 for more information, to donate or volunteer.


ABC Board sets public hearing date, time

The Spruce Pine ABC Board is having a public hearing at 4:30 p.m. Monday, June 1, at the Spruce Pine ABC store, 12344 S. Hwy. 226 in Spruce Pine.

The purpose of the public hearing is to present and adopt the 2020-2021 financial budget.


News-Journal office begins process of re-opening to the public

The Mitchell News-Journal office at 261 Locust St. in downtown Spruce Pine has begun the process of re-opening. 

The office is now open to the public from 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Friday until further notice.

For everyone’s safety, we ask that customers practice social distancing, allowing six feet between themselves and our staff.

Anyone who has recently been ill or traveled to an area with community spread of COVID-19 may call 828-765-7169 and be helped via phone. 

Subscriptions may be renewed and classified ads placed at as well.