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Over 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ transplant, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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According to U.S. Census estimates released in late May, well over half (61%) of North Carolina’s 551 municipalities gained population from 2020 to July 2021.

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The decision of Wilkes County School central office administrators to end the school system’s participation in Battle of the Books (BOB) leaves a disturbing impression.

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North Carolina, including Wilkes County, is in the midst of a silent surge in COVID-19 cases.

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The Brookings Institute recently released results of research indicating significant student learning losses nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Wilkes County commissioners have taken a definitive step toward addressing the county’s roadside litter problem.

Wilkes County Emergency Medical Services reached a new milestone on April 28 when it began carrying whole blood for administration directly on the scene of emergencies and while transporting patients to trauma centers.

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An audit of Bridges Charter School by the State Auditor’s Office revealed more clearly the lack of appropriate oversight and accountability in North Carolina’s charter school system.

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Perhaps it has something to do with emerging from the hardships of a pandemic, but we can’t remember a time when there have been so many efforts with so much potential for positive change in Wilkes County.

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A team of local people representing health, legal, human service and other sectors of the community believes a recent sharp rise in child fatalities in Wilkes County could be partly the result of unsafe infant sleeping conditions.

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We enthusiastically concur with many of the Wilkes County Outdoor Action Plan’s recommendations, shared with local elected officials last week and in a community meeting from 4-6 p.m. today at the Stone Center in North Wilkesboro.

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Heart disease has replaced cancer as the leading cause of death in Wilkes County, according to the 2018 and the 2022 Community Health Assessment reports.

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The many matters of public interest that failed to get the attention they deserved due to the upheaval of COVID-19 include results of a study on workforce-related transportation needs in Wilkes County.

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You might say the Wilkes Soil and Water Conservation District is producing a good return on investments, considering its success in seeking grants over the past three years.

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Data indicating that COVID-19 caused more graduating Wilkes County high school seniors to enter the workplace and fewer to attend four-year public universities was shared with the Wilkes school board Monday night.

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Unprecedented amounts of federal funds distributed among local governments and availability of even more created opportunities that challenge the imagination.

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The tragically ironic thing about sexual exploitation of children is that the most likely victims are those in need of love and attention.

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The North Wilkesboro town board’s retreat Friday at the Wilkes Art Gallery was one of the more productive and promising such sessions this governing body has held.

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Icy road conditions Monday illustrated well the unpredictability of winter weather and of being alert for the unexpected.

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Although not representative of the entire pandemic, the difference in COVID-19 death rates of Wilkes County residents and those statewide in the last week or so is disturbing.

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It’s hard to not react with cynicism when the Wilkes County commissioners talk about addressing roadside trash, as they did Jan. 18 when a Cleanup Wilkes leader asked them to make the Wilkes Solid Waste Ordinance more effective with this problem.

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Heating equipment is by far a leading cause of winter structure fires in Wilkes County.

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COVID-19 testing is perhaps more important than ever during the post-holiday surge of the omicron variant of the virus.

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Here’s a wish list with a few things we’d like to see happen in Wilkes County in 2022.

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Wilkes County is in parts of the U.S. targeted by drug cartels engaged in industrial-scale production of methamphetamine, increasingly with fentanyl added.

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More is yet to be learned about the omicron variant, but one sure bet is that the impact of this highly transmissible version of COVID-19 will be most severe in counties like Wilkes with low vaccination rates.

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Wilkes County, like much of the rest of the state and nation, is facing a workforce shortage that has become a crisis in some economic sectors.

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The Wilkes County Christmas Parade on Saturday in the Wilkesboros was one of the largest and best editions of this annual event in recent memory.

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Conditions are ripe for wildfires in Wilkes County and the area, resulting in a ban on open burning until further notice.

No amount of money can make up for the lives lost, damage to families (in some cases for generations) and economic loss from unscrupulous efforts of pharmaceutical companies to increase profits through the sale of prescription pain medication.

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The Wilkes County Band Expo was started to showcase the four Wilkes high school marching bands and raise money for these programs.

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Seventeen Wilkes County children in foster care through the Wilkes Department of Social Services are waiting for the security of being part of a family — permanently.

In a dedication ceremony Saturday for a new nature and environmental education center at Camp Harrison in Boomer that largely resulted from his efforts, B Townes observed that the disconnect between young people and the outdoors worsened during the pandemic.

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Coleen Triplett Bush, who died on Oct. 22, will be remembered for her strong leadership on the Wilkes County school board and for breaking new ground in education, especially for women.

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Many top administrators in the Wilkes County Schools rolled up their sleeves and spent days working in school cafeterias to help make sure students were well fed when there were 12 food service vacancies, not counting people out due to medical leaves or COVID-19-related situations.

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The number of vehicles in the parking lot for W. Kerr Scott Reservoir’s Warrior Creek mountain bike trails in recent weekends indicates a surge in use of this outstanding outdoor recreational resource.

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When the 2021 General Assembly session began, passage of legislation increasing public access to records of disciplinary actions taken by state and local government employees seemed like a longshot.

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The tens of thousands of people at MerleFest this weekend, including many spending their nights in Wilkes County, was a reminder of revenue being missed by not expanding the occupancy tax beyond Wilkesboro to include the entire county.

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We share the Brushy Mountain Ruritan Club’s “deep regret” over having to cancel the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival for the second year in a row due to COVID-19, especially considering that clearly it didn’t have to turn out this way.

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The great many adjustments made with the rescheduled MerleFest within a matter of weeks in the interest of public health are impressive.

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Wilkes County is in the grips of an exploding COVID-19 variant that is twice as contagious, makes people sicker and is more of a threat to school-age children than the original alpha strain.

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Records show Wilkes County’s population decline from 2010 to 2020 was the first time the county lost people from one decennial U.S. Census count to the next since 1850. (It increased by only half of 1% from 1950 to 45,269 in 1960.)

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As of Aug. 17, the Wilkes Board of Education still planned to start the 2021-22 academic year Monday with masks optional instead of mandatory for students, staff and visitors inside Wilkes schools.

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Wilkes County’s largest employer is to be commended for stepping up and requiring that roughly all of it workforce nationwide be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

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Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week that he’ll let a statewide mask mandate expire on July 30 and leave it up to local school districts to decide if children must wear them when they return to classrooms.

An April 22 incident at Wilkes Central High School resulting in five male students being charged with simple assault should prompt a review of policies and actual practices impacting adult supervision of locker rooms at all Wilkes County schools.

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The State of North Carolina is reneging on a promise to voters by even considering not building an N.C. National Guard Readiness Center in Wilkes County.

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The American Red Cross is experiencing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise, thus depleting the nation’s blood inventory.

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Kudos to the Ronda town board for agreeing to host the Wilkes Fresh mobile farmer’s market and to Ronda Town Clerk Tracy Romans for suggesting this in the first place and then helping to make it happen.