Community Owned. Local News. Burke County, NC.
Top Stories

Cybersecurity breach at Optum delays Burke County prescriptions and insurance claims

In a significant cybersecurity attack targeting UnitedHealth Group's subsidiary, Optum's Change Healthcare, Burke County's local pharmacies, medical labs, and providers face disruptions. 

UNC Health Blue Ridge's Spine Center earns second Gold Seal

UNC Health Blue Ridge has earned the Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval recognizing the hospital’s Spine Center for the second time.   According to the commission’s website, a …
Dr. David Moore (l), Joara Foundation's Executive Archaeologist, examines artifacts during the History Museum event

Time Capsules Unearthed: Western North Carolina’s Archaeology Day Unveils Ancient Wonders

Join us for an enthralling recap of the Exploring Joara Foundation’s Annual Archaeology Day at the History Museum of Burke County, where enthusiasts from Western North Carolina and beyond discovered ancient artifacts, from Native American pottery shards to rare quartz projectile points. Dr. David Moore, alongside archaeology aficionados, delved into the mysteries of these ancient treasures, offering insights into their historical significance and the skilled craftsmanship of Paleo-Indians. Experience the connection to a distant past through engaging stories of artifact discovery and expert analysis.

Morganton Heights Traffic Alert: Bridge Project Initiates Lane Closure

Beginning next week, the Morganton Heights Shopping Center will experience lane closures due to a bridge replacement project by the N.C. Department of Transportation. The right westbound lane near the center will be closed for approximately two weeks to facilitate the construction of a temporary retaining wall. This development follows the closure of a private road used as an entrance to the shopping complex, expected to last 12-18 months. With the project completion slated for Jan. 11, 2028, residents and visitors are advised to anticipate traffic adjustments and plan their visits accordingly.

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Glen Alpine Police Department reserve officers Greg Snider and Lara Dopp are building Welcome Home, a support program for law enforcement personnel.

Discover the groundbreaking 'Welcome Home' program initiated by Glen Alpine reserve officers, aimed at enhancing the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of police officers. This pioneering initiative, piloted across eight North Carolina counties, offers comprehensive support through nine tailored pathways, addressing the unique challenges faced by law enforcement personnel. Learn how this innovative approach seeks to improve longevity, reduce stress, and foster a healthier relationship between police and the community.

Read more.
During a drought, such as Burke County experienced last autumn, the pond on top of Shortoff Mountain goes completely dry. This winter,  the pond is full -- although it has been frozen pretty solid a few days.
 Any discussion of the weather these days will almost invariably include liberal use of the word “extreme.” That’s certainly the case for Burke County. After being mired in an historic …
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CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Alex and Kenneth Corpening and the department’s 1942 Chevrolet fire truck at Lake James Fire and Rescue.
In 1969, the area surrounding Lake James was dotted with small, largely Black communities, fishing and hunting cabins, and not much more... And, there was no organized fire protection.
Read more.
Olive Hill Community Economic Development Corporation

Supporting Burke County black-owned businesses

As Black History Month comes to an end, The Paper wants to recognize Burke County's black-owned businesses of all types. Whether you are looking for a place to eat, a photographer, or to shop for …
Read the E-edition

Police & Fire

Discover how federal marshals brought a nationwide manhunt to an end, capturing a convicted sex offender in Burke County's Pisgah National Forest. Explore the details of the apprehension and learn about the offender's history of non-compliance with registration requirements, highlighting the importance of law enforcement vigilance in ensuring public safety.

Convicted felon duo arrested with hidden firearms and drugs in Morganton A convicted felon couple was arrested Thursday night for possessing concealed firearms,   Around 10 p.m. on …
Celebrating Burke County law enforcement, the second-annual Burke Law Enforcement Banquet welcomes supporters and officers for a night of recognition and appreciation for the people who protect our …
Education
Burke County Public Schools recently held its annual Elementary School Science Fair awards ceremony at the Old Rock School in Valdese. There were a total of 55 projects representing all 14 elementary …

Students in Ed Hallyburton’s CTE classes at East Burke High School mean business. The highly-motivated teens who enroll in Hallyburton’s Sports Event Marketing, Computer Science Principles, and Business Essentials classes already have their eyes trained on successful futures. 

Elementary School Lunch Menu Feb. 26 Chicken Fried Chicken Cheese Quesadilla Triple Decker Sunbutter Fun Lunch Feb. 27 Beef Nachos Corn Dog Cheesy Chef Salad Feb. 28 A.C.P. Crispy Fish Sandwich …
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Pets of the Week
Barnacle: This happy boy cannot wait to find his forever home. He loves to go for adventures and play with toys. He enjoys puzzle toys and anything that will enrich his mind. Barnacle is very smart and willing to learn. He is good on a leash and loves people. He does like to pick his own dog friends so he needs slow introductions and would like a home without those little cat creatures. Barnacle is about 1-2 years old.

Barnacle loves to go for adventures and play with toys

Barnacle: This happy boy cannot wait to find his forever home. He loves to go for adventures and play with toys. He does like to pick his own dog friends so he needs slow introductions and would like a home without those little cat creatures. Barnacle is about 1-2 years old.. ...

Obituaries
Sarah “Geneva” Duckworth Reinhardt
Sarah “Geneva” Duckworth Reinhardt, 99, of Morganton, died Tuesday, February 20, 2024. Born in Burke County, NC on May 19, 1924, she is the daughter of the late Zero and Sara Byrd Mull. Geneva …
Sara Wall Patton
Sara Wall Patton of Greensboro passed away after an extended battle with breast cancer on February 7, 2024. She grew up in Greensboro on old Lake Brandt Road in a home filled with her parents, …
John M. McDaniel
John M. McDaniel
John Monroe McDaniel, 75, of Drexel, passed away on Tuesday, February 6, 2024, at his home. John was born February 14, 1948, in Burke County to Addie Walker McDaniel and the late John Hampton …
Peggy Bright Poole
Peggy Bright Poole, 91, died peacefully on Saturday, February 3, 2024 surrounded by her family. Peggy was born in Morganton on May 20, 1932, the only child of Clyde Vernon Bright and Clydia Hawkins …
Rita Pearl Berry
Mrs. Rita Pearl (Brinkley) Berry, of Valdese, passed Wednesday Morning January 31, 2024, at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, after a period of declining health. Rita was born on …
Local Sports
Top Stories
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) on Saturday announced its state basketball playoff pairings, with five Burke County teams making the cut.
Read more.
East Burke's Kara Brinkley (right) goes in for a layup during a game against Bunker Hill.
The East Burke girls basketball team continued its domination of the Catawba Valley 2A Conference during the first two rounds of the league tournament this week.  The top seed in the CVAC …
Read more.

Patton boys secure outright MF7 title

Patton's Jake Perry gets to the basket for a shot attempt against Chase during the teams' Feb. 13 game in Morganton. Perry scored 17 points three nights later as the Panthers defeated Hendersonville at home, 70-58, to clinch the Mountain Foothills 7 1A/2A Conference regular-season title in outright fashion.

The Patton boys basketball team matched the program record for single-season wins on Feb. 16, collecting a 70-58 home victory over Hendersonville to end the regular season at 21-3 overall and 11-1 in Mountain Foothills 7 1A/2A Conference play.

The Panthers’ win also clinched an outright league title, as they finished two games ahead of the Bearcats (9-3 MF7) for the top spot in the conference. Patton defeated Hendersonville on the road as well, winning 65-56 on Jan. 23.

Hello everyone, here's Bently’s column once again after a four-month break. So indoor soccer season has started, and I am so excited! We had our first practice on Feb. 13, but we didn’t hear …
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Christena Rhone, a 2022 Freedom graduate, recently scored a career-high 21 points for her Brevard College women's basketball team as part of a five-game stretch in which she went for double figures on four occasions.
Rhone hits career-high for Brevard women’s hoops team
Christena Rhone, a Freedom High School 2022 graduate, recently saw some increased playing time for her Brevard College women’s basketball team and upped her production to match. The sophomore guard …
Patton's Marleigh Carswell works from the pitcher's circle during a 2023 contest at East Burke. Carswell led last year's Lady Panthers in five major offensive categories in addition to gaining six pitching wins with a 2.49 ERA and 122 strikeouts.
Burke County 2024 high school softball preview capsules
DRAUGHN WILDCATS Last year’s record: 20-5 (10-2 WHC 1A/2A, T-1st); lost 2nd round 1A state playoffs Returning players: Kadence Clontz, Cydnee Deal, Maddie Crouch, Finlee Young, Avie Helton, Laney …
Draughn left-handed starting pitcher Tate Jensen works from the mound during a home game last season. Jensen was named Western Highlands 1A/2A pitcher of the year and 1A state player of the year as a sophomore as the Wildcats won a second straight league title and reached the fourth round of the playoffs.
Burke County 2024 high school baseball preview capsules
DRAUGHN WILDCATS Last year’s record: 22-5 (11-1 WHC 1A/2A, T-1st); lost 4th round 1A state playoffs Returning players: Jacob Mull, Griffin Stephens, Logan McGee, Blake McElyea, Tate Jensen Other …
East Burke's Ashley Hernandez returns following a 23-goal, eight-assist junior campaign in which the Lady Cavaliers won 11 times and reached the state playoffs.
Burke County 2024 high school girls soccer preview capsules
DRAUGHN WILDCATS Last year’s record: 11-6-4 (6-4 WHC 1A/2A, 3rd); lost 2nd round 1A state playoffs Returning players: Yadira Castejon, Sofie Adams, Ambria Blalock, Abigail Williams, Courtney Sisk, …
Draughn senior wrestler Hampton Blackwell (far left) finished third place in his 1A 190-pound draw at the NCHSAA state championships from Feb. 15-17 in Greensboro.
Draughn’s Blackwell medals at wrestling state championships
Burke County’s six qualifying high school wrestlers ended the 2023-24 season by competing at the boys and girls NCHSAA state individual championships from Feb. 15-17 at the Greensboro Coliseum. …
Arts & Entertainment

Ashley Dula proudly shares the art of sewing with others

Ashley Dula offers measuring tips during her Industrial Sewing Boot Camp at the Carolina Textile District at the Industrial Commons.
Ashley Dula sits in what she calls her office. Unlike many home offices stacked with papers, pens, and writing pads, Dula’s office is filled with thread, notions, and sewing needles – all the …
Saturday, Feb. 17, marked the 176th anniversary of the Edict of Emancipation for the Waldensian people. More than 120 people attended the baked spaghetti supper in the Waldensian Room at the Old Rock School in Valdese. The meal was catered by Countryside BBQ and preceded the formal program held upstairs in the auditorium.
The Catholic Church labeled the Waldensians as heretics. Their crime? Translating the Bible into their local language and preaching its words.  For centuries, these God-fearing people endured …
Read more.
Terry Ratchford's work often focuses on nature, woodland creatures, farm animals, and fish.
Animals are taking over Morganton City Hall. Woodland creatures, farm animals, and fish are a few of the subjects visitors to city hall will see in the art beautifying the walls. Art in the Hall …
Read more.

Thursday, Feb. 29: LEAP for Art!

  What do you do when you have an extra day on the calendar for Leap Year? You celebrate of course! The Burke Arts Council is sponsoring a fundraiser, Leap For Art, with fabulous hearty …

Craft'd-NC  ,  located at 108 W. Union Street in Morganton, will host a complimentary mead tasting with MoonJoy Meadery, a family-owned, small-batch business located in Lenoir. MoonJoy …
Feeding the masses

Kin2Kin celebrates 12 years as Morganton's premier sushi spot

Kin2Kin’s most popular offering is the brown dragon, which contains shrimp and cucumber, with salmon on top. The roll is finished with eel and sauce, then sprinkled with tempura flakes, scallions, and garlic.

Discover the art of sushi at Kin2Kin in Morganton, celebrating 12 years of culinary excellence. From the popular brown dragon roll to the adventurous Sashimi Deluxe, Kin2Kin offers an exquisite sushi experience with handcrafted rolls, fresh ingredients, and skilled chefs dedicated to the traditional art of sushi making. Whether you're a sushi novice or a connoisseur, Kin2Kin's extensive menu caters to all tastes, including cooked hibachi/teriyaki options. Visit us at 103 S. Green St. for a taste of Japan.

The Pad See Eew included freshly sauteed broccoli, snow peas, onions, and carrots.

Pho Lao doesn't serve pretense, just tasty dishes

More than 20 years ago, I frequented a Thai restaurant called Lek’s Taste of Thailand. The red curry (medium spicy with a little extra chili pepper on the side) was amazing. The restaurant’s …

Med Instead of Meds: Cooking class continues at Burke County Agricultural Building

The popular cooking class, hosted by the N.C. Cooperative Extension Burke County Center, meets for two more sessions. By all accounts, everyone is learning how to incorporate more fruits and …

Make sushi at home

You can eat your sushi with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi paste.

Creating your own tasty sushi rolls at home can be a fun and economical alternative to eating out. The rolls you prepare might not be as attractive as the ones made by professionals at your favorite …

Special sections & reports
The face of the Confederate soldier who has stood watch over downtown Morganton on the Historic Courthouse Square for more than a century.
Confederate Monument debate
The statue’s presence in Morganton has divided our community and inspired a vocal and persistent faction to call for its removal.
The giant sinkhole next to the Morganton Post Office remains a threat to both nearby roads and to the Catawba River.
Sinkhole Watch
The enormous sinkhole in the parking lot of the Morganton Post Office was a ticking time bomb with the potential to spark an ecological and transportation disaster.
This small amount represents a lethal dose of fentanyl.
Lethal doses
Fentanyl deaths skyrocket as use of powerful synthetic opioid increases...
Revered Paul Carlson of Calvary Lutheran Church picks up trash at an abandoned campsite used by unsheltered folks. Community volunteers helped clean up portions of the site, located behind the Morganton Heights Shopping Center, in April. The problem of homelessness was The Paper's top story of 2023.
Burke County's unsheltered
Evicted. Foreclosed. Kicked out. There are many reasons why there are homeless people and families in Burke County without permanent homes.
Left to right, top row: Morganton Mayor Ronnie Thompson, Burke County Manager Brian Epley, Drexel Mayor Dennis Anthony. Bottom row: Rutherford College Mayor Yates Jensen, Valdese Mayor Charlie Watts and  Glen Alpine Mayor Bob Benfield.
Who's in charge in your municipality?
Check out our profiles of local mayors and community leaders and learn about the people who manage your local government in Burke County.
Opinion
Columns
<center>Allen VanNoppen</center>

Chili Cook Off should be a barn burner

(Publisher’s Note: There are two kinds of chili in the world. Mine and everyone else’s. The 2024 March Madness Chili Cook Off is a couple of weeks away and the staff at The Paper already is …
<center>Bill Poteat</center>

Black History Walk: An instructive evening stroll through history and toward reconciliation

The schizophrenic personality of late February was on full display last Tuesday in Morganton — frosty cold in the morning, warm and mild in the afternoon, cold once again as evening began to fall. …
<center>Marty Queen</center>

'Six'll Sink It' provided glorious times on the water of Lake James

A giant, flashing sign beside the interstate blinked an insistent warning: “Caution: Wind Advisory in effect today.” As it is wont to do this time of year, winter – perhaps sensing the end is …
<center>Allen VanNoppen</center>

Why I'll Never Run for President: A Comical Insight Inspired by Biden's Latest Blunder

Explore a humorous take on why running for president isn't on the cards for our columnist, sparked by President Joe Biden's unforgettable mix-up during a recent press conference. This piece dives into the realms of political humor, memory mishaps, and the complexities of immigration policy, all wrapped up with a personal vow never to venture into presidential waters.

General Columnists
<center>Fred Schuszler</center>
Hannah Clark: A young woman who is living life abundantly
Hannah Clark is a 26-year-old who has lived her entire life in Morganton.  She is a graduate of Freedom High School and Lenoir-Rhyne University.  Since 2019, she has been a nurse in the …
<center>Judith Teele</center>
The Abiding Image: Holding Down The Fort in memory of a beloved mother and aunt
I believe in synchronicity, a phenomenon that most of us have experienced at one time or another. A certain number pops up wherever you go; an old friend you haven't seen in 35 years calls the same …
<center>Brandi Silver</center>
Brandi Silver offers tips for protecting your heart
February is American Heart Month, so to celebrate, here are some tips for protecting your ticker. Approximately 16 million individuals in the U.S. are dealing with coronary heart disease, the most …
<center>Fred Schuszler</center>
Of Satan's deceptions and hellfire hilarity at Ridgecrest
As a young youth minister I used to take my groups up to the Baptist Lifeway Conference Center, beautifully located at the top of that winding mountain portion of I-40 that peaks right before Black …
<center>Ken Corn</center>
Swedish Death Cleaning vs. The Man Who Clings To Everything
How does a retirement project beget a lifestyle change? A whole new way of thinking and living? One year ago, I compiled a list of projects to undertake during retirement. Nine months into that …
Burke Business

A snapshot look at three of Burke County's wedding venues

Heavenly View Venue is located on Jamestown Road in Morganton.
With Valentine’s Day just behind us, love lingers in the air for many newly engaged couples. Young lovebirds, some sporting sparkling new diamond rings, now face the daunting task of planning a …
More Business News
Myra's lights up the night while customers enjoy their long-awaited meal.
A community landmark has been restored to the Town of Valdese with the re-opening of the legendary Myra’s Restaurant after a weeks-long hiatus.   Since its opening in 1958, Myra’s has …
Read more.
Students in Mike Long's Fire Tech 2 class wear turnout gear and use equipment donated by local fire departments.
February is National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, celebrating the achievements and contributions these programs provide in preparing students for high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand …
Read more.

'I'm doing what my hands know...'

Lynn Shell at Burke Myotherapy massages a client using oils and working the muscles of the spine.

Lynn Shell’s family has always called her “the little healer,” and Shell, the owner of Burke Myotherapy, takes pride in intuitive connections with her clients. She says she listens with her heart as well as her hands …

The Marigold Beanie: Local enterprises collaborate to snag top prize in Our State Magazine competition

Marigolds provide the basis for the dye used on the distinctive Marigold beanie.

The Marigold Beanie has been declared a prize winner by Our State Magazine. Say what? The beanie, produced through a collaborative effort involving The Carolina Textile District, Fonta Flora Brewery, …

Beautiful Burke County
A winter view of Lake James from the Fonta Flora State Trail.
Trailblazers: 2024 could be another big year for Burke County trail systems
North Carolina dubbed 2023 “The Year of the Trail” to promote the state’s numerous hiking destinations. Burke County may just have to apply for an extension in 2024. The county’s new trails …
Burke County Trails Specialist Sarah Chabaane hikes in the South Mountains with her step-dog, Niko.
Happy trails to you: Chabaane excited about her role as Burke Trails Specialist
Sarah Chabaane is passionate about making the great outdoors accessible to everyone.  It’s fitting then, that she would end up in Nature’s Playground. Chabaane was hired last June as Burke …
When completed, the Burke River Trail will stretch for 20 miles along the Catawba River corridor.
River Trail Association receives grant to support old Rhodhiss mill revitalization
The revitalization of the Old Glory Mill in downtown Rhodhiss came a step closer to reality recently when Beth Heile and the Burke River Trail Association were awarded a $2,500 grant by her cohorts …
Foothills Conservancy officially transferred 332 acres on Wilson Creek to the U.S. Forest Service on Oct. 11. The land was donated to the conservancy in 2011 by conservationist Tim Sweeney. It is located on a portion of the creek which is protected as a Wild and Scenic River by the Federal Government.
Acres of adventure: Foothills Conservancy protects 2.3 more miles of Wilson Creek
It’s difficult to overstate how important Wilson Creek is to Burke County as a recreational area.  Thanks to Foothills Conservancy of N.C., there are now 2.3 more miles of outdoor adventure …
The only stream crossing in the park is made easy by a small bridge.
Oak Hill Community Park yet another jewel in Burke County's crown
Like many Burke County folks who would rather be outside than in, I have been expectantly awaiting the official opening of Oak Hill Community Park and Forest. I had too many other fish in the frying …
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Welcome to The Paper!

We are delighted to introduce The Paper, a full-fledged community newspaper that is dedicated to only local news. Published on Saturdays, The Paper is owned locally, managed locally, written locally, and wholly dedicated to Burke County’s people, places, schools, businesses, sports, activities, entertainment, governments, and celebrations. READ MORE  
Profiles of our team

Meet our experienced team at The Paper

The Paper published its first edition on Feb. 4, 2023. Shown above is the current staff, from left: Marty Queen, Sandra Wilkerson Queen, Allen VanNoppen, Pam Walker, Lisa Price, Paul Schenkel, Saydie Bean, Bill Poteat, Lilly Brown, Angela Copeland, Janina Linens, Josh McKinney, and Devan Berry.
With the goal of providing Burke County with comprehensive, fresh, thorough, and responsible local news, The Paper has staffed its reporting and advertising teams with a fantastic blend of …