Community Owned. Local News. Burke County, NC.
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Pets of the Week

Got treats for Barry? This 6-month-old is great with other dogs, cats, and people of all ages

Barry: This adorable 6-month-old boy is so ready for his new home. He is great with other dogs, cats, and people of all ages. Barry loves to play, get all the treats, and go for walks.

Burke Animal Services is located at 425 Kirksey Drive, Morganton. The phone number is 828-764-9588.

Top Stories

Edward Perrou selected as interim Town Manager for Valdese

Edward D. Perrou
Shortly after taking the oath of office as new Valdese Town Council Members, Glenn Harvey, Gary Ogle and Heather Ward wasted no time Monday night in hiring an interim Town Manager to replace Seth …
Clerk Renee Carswell exudes energy, confidence,  and a winning attitude at Morganton City Hall.
Clerking for a city the size of Morganton is a job that requires a high energy level, a desire to work with the public, and — perhaps most importantly — a strong dedication to serving the citizens. …
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More local news
Rep. Patrick McHenry
Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10), who represents Burke County in the U.S. House of Representatives, released the following statement:  “I will be retiring from Congress at the end of my …
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If the enthusiasm level of Burke County’s passenger rail supporters is any indication, the train could be headed this way. A crowd braved a chilly evening at the Historic Morganton Depot for a meeting and gala hosted by Waiting for the Train, a local group organized to drum up support for the return of passenger rail service to the area for the first time since 1975.  …
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Nelle and H. Allen Smith, grandparents of The Paper's publisher, Allen VanNoppen, have been memorialized with the establishment of the Nelle and H. Allen Smith Endowment Fund which will support community journalism.
This year’s “State of Local News Project,” an exhaustive study on the health of local news nationally, listed The Paper among emerging news outlets deemed  “shining examples of news organizations that are showing promise for the future.” …
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Police & Fire
Six injured and one Morganton man airlifted after two car collision A two-car collision on Thursday afternoon resulted in six people injured and a Morganton man being airlifted to an Asheville …
Morganton Public Safety investigated a call about an intoxicated Morganton man on Sunday night that led to three drug-related felony charges.  On Sunday, Nov. 26, officers responded to a call …
Morganton Public Safety officer arrests two individuals for stolen vehicle A Morganton Public Safety officer arrested a Morganton man and woman for stealing a vehicle on Tuesday afternoon. The …

Musgrove plans to listen and learn as new CEO of Community Foundation of Burke County

New Community Foundation of Burke County President and CEO JJ Musgrove in his Morganton office.

JJ Musgrove is settling into his undecorated office at the Community Foundation of Burke County, but he is already thinking about the future of the organization under his leadership and the impact he would like to see it make …

Extreme drought conditions now encompass most of Burke

The cove along Lake Rhodhiss, where McGalliard Creek flows into the lake, is at least two-thirds dry now, unaffected by the rains which fell on Nov. 21-22.

The bright red portion of the North Carolina Drought Management’s map of the state started as a thin, crimson streak across the southernmost counties, but has steadily inched northward over the …

Three Burke County Commission seats, four seats on the Board of Education, and the county’s Register of Deeds position will all be on the ballot for the Tuesday, March 5, primary election. Filing …
Morganton's Emergency Shelter Network is still accepting volunteers to help out with Warming Nights this winter – evenings when the temperature is expected to fall to 15 degrees or below. Pastor …
Burke County Schools’ Teacher Cadets are sporting new shirts and Freedom’s marching band competed in stylish new uniforms this fall, according to Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan, in his update to …
Councilwoman-elect Heather Ward will host an impromptu prayer time at the flagpole at the Valdese Town Hall immediately prior to the council’s regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 4.  Ward and her …
Joshua Lowman/Amanda Ferguson
Joshua Lee Lowman, 38, and Amanda Mae Ferguson, 40, of Morganton passed away unexpectedly Monday. November 27, 2023. Josh was born on March 24, 1985 in Burke County to Reba Ann Carswell, and Amanda …
Frances Willian Powell
Frances Williams Powell 94, of Valdese, died Monday, November 20, 2023. Frances was in the care of Amorem Hospice. Born in Burke County, December 29, 1928, she was the daughter of the late James …
Diane Alexander Meyer
 Diane completed her service here two weeks shy of her 78 birthday. She was born to Samuel N. Alexander and Eleanor F. Magazine on November 15, 1945 in the District of Columbia. Her father was …
Cynthia Clark Fletcher
Cynthia Clark Fletcher
On Thursday, October 26, 2023, Cynthia (Cindy) Clark Fletcher passed peacefully in the arms of her daughter after a period of declining health. Cindy was born at Grace Hospital in Morganton, N.C. on …
Patricia Hartsell Clark
Patricia Hartsell Clark, 82, of Morganton, NC passed away peacefully on Friday, October 20, 2023. Born in Cabarrus County, NC on May 8, 1941, she is the daughter of the late Hal Craig Hartsell …
Local Sports
H.S. basketball coaches | Part Two

Bartlett, Ramsey the faces of East Burke’s programs

Crystal Bartlett is in her ninth season as East Burke's girls basketball coach, having led the Lady Cavaliers to a program-record 27 wins on four separate occasions and to the NCHSAA 2A West Regional final twice.
East Burke may not have the nine high school basketball state titles that Freedom does, but it has a tradition of its own that is still growing in the sport. And that’s thanks in large part to current head coaches Jerome Ramsey and Crystal Bartlett …
East Burke's Braelyn Stilwell pushes the ball upcourt during a preseason scrimmage. Stilwell scored 21 points twice as the Lady Cavaliers started the season 2-0.
Braelyn Stilwell scored 21 points for the second consecutive game, and the junior point guard also had eight steals and multiple assists as the East Burke girls basketball team defeated visiting …
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The Patton boys basketball team, pictured here on media day on Nov. 11, defeated rival Freedom for the first time on Nov. 17, overcoming a 16-point deficit to win 66-62.
Even the best gameplans get scrapped sometimes. I had my Thanksgiving high school basketball column sketched out in my head, then the Patton boys basketball team beat Freedom last Friday night for …
Read more.

Draughn wrestling team hosts East Burke, NCSD as part of opening quad

Draughn's Mackenzie Barrett (top) wrestles North Carolina School for the Deaf's Emily Elliott in the 126 weight class on Wednesday in Valdese.

More than half of the Burke County high school wrestling teams were in action at Draughn on Wednesday evening as the Wildcats hosted a quad match with East Burke, the North Carolina School for the …

Draughn senior quarterback Eli Tillery recently became Burke County’s seventh individual from the 2023 fall sports season to win a top award from a conference as he was named Western Highlands …
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Jenna Abernathy, Draughn girls basketball Grade: 12th Position: Guard How long have you played this sport? Probably since I was 6 years old. Why should others try this sport? I think it builds your …
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Valdese Christmas Parade requires months of preparation

The Draughn High School Marching Band makes its way down Main Street in front of the Old Rock School during a recent Christmas Parade.

As Santa polishes up his sleigh and Mrs. Claus gives the reindeer last minute treats, the staff in Valdese is busier than ever preparing for this morning’s annual Christmas parade and other holiday …

Cassidy Gerace dances to benefit Hope House Ministries

Cassidy Gerace

Editor’s note: The Paper is running a series of stories about the local celebrities performing in Dancing with the Burke Stars. Each Burke Star will dance to benefit a charity. The event is …

The Morganton community goes ‘all out’ for annual parade tradition

Santa Claus will make an appearance at the DDA Morganton Christmas Parade.
If you have been struggling to get into the holiday spirit, the annual Morganton Downtown Development Association Christmas Parade will help you sing a different tune …
Kasharity Hardy of Freedom holds her three-dimensional book art in the Student Art Exhibit.
To be publicly recognized for excellence is a highlight of any artist’s career and some Burke County students are certainly feeling that sense of accomplishment.  The Rock School Arts …
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'Christmas Wonderland' set at Morganton Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 9

The latest news from the Children’s Library: If you missed the Holly Jolly Paint Party at the Valdese Public Library this weekend, you still have two chances for some holiday fun at your local …

The Nutcracker comes to CoMMA Performing Arts Center as part of World Series Ballet

The beloved holiday classic "The Nutcracker" comes to CoMMA Performing Arts Center for a one-night-only performance on Sunday, Dec. 17, as part of World Ballet Series’ 2023-24 U.S. tour. The …
Tuesday, Dec. 5

Morganton Christmas Parade

This year's parade theme is

Picks of the Week

Celebrate the spirit of the season with a tree lighting, parades, and performances of "It's a Wonderful Life" ...

Grow with Drexel presents 'Christmas in Drexel'

Grow with Drexel, a new citizen-driven community group, will host “Christmas in Drexel,” a family-friendly celebration, Dec. 7, 8, and 9 at the downtown Drexel Park. Anchored by a children’s …

Roast Perfection: Cooking a rib roast for the holidays is easier than you might think

Buy a rib roast that provides about half to three-quarters of a pound per guest.
Rib roasts are becoming more and more popular as Christmas dinner table centerpieces. The fear of a cook failure on such an expensive piece of meat may scare some folks away, but I am here to show …
The price for all burgers on the menu includes one side. Here The Standard is pictured with french fries.
Guilty pleasure foods. For some, the go-to comfort is pizza. Those with a sweet tooth might grab a freshly baked doughnut. For me, it's a hamburger. A sloppy, juice-running-down-my-forearm hamburger.
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You don't have to travel to Tea Thyme in Marble Falls, Texas, to enjoy turkey tacos. They are easy enough to make at home with leftover Thanksgiving ingredients.
Two things come to mind when I think of leftover turkey. As a child, I hoped for leftovers so I could make a turkey sandwich (white and dark meat) on Sunbeam Old Fashioned Bread with plenty of …
Read more.

Restaurant Inspections

The Burke County Health Department’s Environmental Health division regularly inspects restaurants, food trucks, food stands, school cafeterias, and other food establishments. The frequency of …

Poh-kay: Ono Poke Bowl set to open in Morganton in early 2024

The Hudgins family is opening a poke restaurant in downtown Morganton in early 2024. Josh, left, and Brooke, right, are pictured with their children Jonah, Syrus, and Sarayah.

When Brooke Hudgins tells people she is opening a poke restaurant in Morganton, she’s sometimes met with confused looks. Poke is a departure from traditional Western North Carolina foods like …

Happy Cooking! A twist on Thanksgiving favorites

Chef Lara Hicks of Queen's Catering leads a cooking class at the Burke Arts Council on the evening of Nov. 15.

If you want to add a little pizzazz to your Thanksgiving while still honoring the traditional flavors of the big meal, we have some delicious dishes, courtesy of the Burke Arts Council and Queen’s Catering. BAC regularly hosts cooking classes. Lara Hicks, head chef, makes cooking accessible with her unstuffy style. 

General Columnists
<center>Fred Schuszler</center>
Balancing music from the hymnal and music 'from the radio'
I have written a series of columns based on interviews with local pastors and senior ministers about the future of the church in our community. I would like to adapt this series to discussing with …
<center>Christopher Pedro</center>
College season begins for seniors at NCSSM-Morganton
North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics-Morganton is proud to have its students go out into the world and achieve unimaginable heights in their academic and personal pursuits. As the first …
<center>Henry Beall</center>
Reasons to be thankful for a Freedom High School student
Yes, Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I still think Thanksgiving is a great holiday. Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is overlooked too often in favor of the much flashier Christmas. I will not launch …
<center>Dr. David Streater</center>
Josiah Bartlett was among the foremost of the Founding Fathers
This vignette is an educational moment in American history.  It is about those who made a difference during the Revolutionary War era and how they served our country. J osiah Bartlett was an …
<center>Lisa Propst</center>
Rhoda revealed the secret to the fountain of youth
I had the honor of doing something this week for the first time. I attended the celebration of life for a precious saint who was a “nonagenarian.” What is a nonagenarian you may ask? It is a …
<center>Bill Poteat</center>

Seven favorite Christmas songs to enrich the holiday season

Let the record show I love Christmas music, but first, a couple of caveats. The second of December is way too early to be listening to Christmas music. A 10- to 12-day period, ending promptly at …
<center>Allen VanNoppen</center>

Capt'm Dad and the big envelope reveal

My daddy, Capt’m Dad, knew, just KNEW, in his bones, that I was on that precarious 18-year-old teenager tightrope, weaving and bobbing to not lose balance and vanish into a bottomless pit of  …
<center>Sandra Wilkerson Quenn</center>

Why does no one warn you about the grief of growing older?

Throughout my life, I’ve learned to heed the many warnings I’ve encountered.  I slow down when an oncoming driver flashes his headlights. There’s either an accident or a state trooper just …
<center>Marty Queen</center>

Survival tips for that dreaded moment when nature calls in the outdoors

Sometimes when you’re out in nature, nature calls. Spend enough time outdoors, and it will happen to you.  Depending on your circumstances at that sudden, inescapable, instant — the point of …
<center>Allen VanNoppen</center>

The evening news and its Maximum Side Effect -- not for the young and faint of heart

It doesn’t take much of a Wise Man to see who network evening news advertising executives target: Those of us with gray hairs and ailments out the ears. Because, if you believe those ads, we are …

December marks new beginning for Burke municipalities

Traditionally, December is considered a month for celebration and contemplation, as the holidays are enjoyed, relationships are savored, and the ups and downs of the year coming to its close are …

Burke Business
Local business

Down Right Country: an eclectic selection and a Southwestern flair

Owners Tia Bowers and Laveda Brown began their dream of owning a shop in Morganton selling accessories and now have a two-room shop from which they can celebrate diversity, community, and small businesses while bringing new style to Morganton.
Looking for a different shopping experience in downtown Morganton? Down Right Country, a new clothing, jewelry, and accessories shop, offers customers an eclectic selection of goods with a distinctive Southwestern flair … and a “hippy” vibe.

EJ Victor supports community in variety of ways

Locally-owned furniture manufacturer EJ Victor may be best known for the superior craftsmanship of their goods, but the company is also noted for their generous spirit in giving to the Burke County …

New Sheetz in west Morganton

A new Sheetz convenience store is under construction in west Morganton at the intersection of Freedom Boulevard and Hwy. 70. Sheetz officials have not responded to questions from  The Paper …

New Dunkin' Donuts under construction

A new Dunkin' Donuts store, located at 909 N. Green Street in Morganton, is slated to open around the first of February, 2024, according to franchise owner Dennis Harvey. The store will be …
Downtown Morganton was bustling with activity and filled with happy shoppers on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25. Mostly sunny skies and seasonally mild temperatures greeted shoppers as they walked …
What a wonderful time of year! We are overwhelmed with beautiful lights, Christmas festivities, yummy goodies and gifts, loads and loads of gifts! You know who else loves to see this time of year? …
Special sections & reports

Burke County Elections 2023

Recap of our Burke County Municipal Election coverage and election results — Morganton, Valdese, Glen Alpine, Drexel

2023 Burke County Elections

Taking a hard look at an issue which divides this community

The Paper tackles the issue of the Confederate monument standing on the Historic Courthouse Square in the very heart of downtown Morganton.

Confederate monument on Morganton's Historic Courthouse Square

Opioid crisis

Lethal doses: Fentanyl deaths skyrocket as use of powerful synthetic opioid increases

The fight against drugs

Sinkhole Watch

Following the sinkhole repair at the Morganton Post office from beginning to end.

Morganton Sinkhole

2023 Graduation

See hundreds of local graduates and stories and photos from every local high school.

Read more

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, Morganton, Drexel, Valdese, Rutherford College and Glen Alpine.

See all our profiles

Learn about The Paper
Frequently asked questions

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

Shown above are the staff of The Paper. From left are Pam Walker, Lilly Brown, Paul Schenkel, Bill Poteat, Devan Berry, Allen VanNoppen, Marty Queen and Angela Copeland.
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 …