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I love Ashe County.  All of Ashe County 

I love the unlovable parts of Ashe county. The parts that make the tourists cringe. I love the places up in the hollers with moonshine stills…. Wait… I reckon that’s meth labs now, isn’t it ? 

With the broken down trailers and RVs and junk cars.  

I love our people. The people that the tourists find ugly. The people who live in homes built of tires and refrigerator boxes and tarps.  The ones who live in broken down houses on broken down farms where the tin is blowing off the barn roof….Oh wait !! that’s me ; )  

I am mad at Ashe County.  I feel impotent and ineffectual. I feel voiceless. This is a righteous anger born of watching my people be dragged down by substances that were handed to them by health care professionals! The people we are supposed to trust ! Last month someone from a committee I am on met with a group of people who work in harm reduction. They were asking what we could do to support their work.  They were concerned that anything we did would draw attention to them and make their work harder. Do more harm than good. 

I was sick to my stomach!!! I am still sick to my stomach.  How can fighting a drug epidemic that has harmed so many of our families …. ? 

Why can’t the people doing the work… the experts… Why can’t they count on the unconditional support of county officials ??  

Who does it benefit for our county to still be dying from this epidemic? 

I think I became an activist today, Dolly once asked at a Down Home meeting “when did you become an activist ?? “ I thought What the heck ? I'm not an activist !   I said I didn’t know … and Jeff Land said oh you’ve just always been an activist ?  I don’t know … what the heck ? 

But today, when I heard that publicity around the work of the people doing harm reduction work could very possibly backfire and cause their work to be more difficult … 

Ineffable. Its the only word. There just aren’t any words, or enough words or … even a big enough emotion for what i felt… and feel … 

This is an epidemic. This is an epidemic that is robbing people of families … sons and daughters and mamas and daddies.  

Why are we still fighting a war on ignorance?  Why hasn’t our county been out front in this fight ? 

We are losing people daily and still rolling our eyes at the idea that addiction is a disease !!! 

Is it classism? Is it money ? Is it corruption?  Keep people stupid, numb and making money for the few ?

I asked my cousin Jefferson once, Why can’t we have peace? Now Jefferson is a hippie from WAY back,  I was hoping for some sage answer. He just laughed and said Are you kidding?? The economy would completely collapse !  

I realized he was right. We are addicted to war 

 Ashe County has a drug problem. We are addicted to substance misuse. 

Not from a physiological standpoint… but from a dollar bill standpoint.  How much revenue is gained through substance misuse in this county ? 

Into whose pockets does that money go ? 

In 2019, I attended a 2 day event at the Landing  put on by AMH to address the Opioid Crisis. They had received a grant. 

I was an oddity there, with all those medical people and folks who work in Harm Reduction and know what they are doing, I was invited because of the Odd Fellows. I was just absolutely and completely out of my league y’all, and boy did I ever learn bucketfuls. 

As the mom of an “addict” who had been brought up on the tough love model, my mind was blown. I was learning all sorts of new vocabulary … and compassion… a lot of compassion. 

I asked Ashley Wurth how to empower someone without enabling them. She very gently explained to me that it was the same word. You know how you sometimes read or learn something and you can feel your brain expand and shift ? oh man… did I ever!  It was a change of perspective for me. I learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences scores and how that is an indicator.  

As I have continued to learn about the disease of addiction over the years, my compassion has continued to grow, As well as a lot of righteous anger. 

How have we allowed this? The medical community has ALWAYS known that addiction was a disease. 

I have a lot of anger at the medical community here, continuing to pass out narcotics long after the rest of the world knew the harm they were causing.  

OOPS … Make a U turn, don’t go down that rabbit hole Nancy. 

How can we address addiction in a meaningful way here?   


On April 17, 2024, A grassroots group I work with, Down Home North Carolina,  is hosting a listening session about Harm Reduction and how we can go forward. Lots of good information, lots of people who will share their experiences.

I will update you as soon as I have more information, I sure would like to see you there. 

We need your voices. 

We need the voices of people who are affected by the fallout of substance misuse.

Whose Ashe County ? Our Ashe County!

Love you ! Nancy Beth

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Hey Y’all, My name is Nancy Beth Weaver and I want to change the world… so   I’m running for county commissioner. 

We all know what the issues are … Housing, Drugs, Health Care, Wages, etc 

We all know the solution starts with a Local Government that understands the things that affect our families.  

Could we do something a bit different today? 

May I tell you a story?

  A story that will maybe shed a little light on the division that  seems to 

both  feed and feed on the fear and the anger we often experience

This is a story about how Ashe County folks have often been used as a product.

 We have all met that person who says "My family has been here 34 generations , my granddaddy tilled the soil under the concrete of the building we’re standing in and you ain’t welcome here. "

And we all know people who think the folks that belong to Ashe County are 

just a little bit less than…

There IS some bitterness, and more than a little resentment.

But please try to understand the underlying grief for what has been lost.. 


Did yau know  Ashe County didn’t get “discovered” til the late 70s… and really not until the 90s… we were so isolated ! 


Developers from away, foreigners or furrners as they were commonly known in those days, bought up land, family farms, in some cases being underhanded and pretty nasty about it… searching the obituaries and threatening widows. Buying land for a pittance 

And as our property taxes went up, folks sold out of desperation too. 

Since our fiercely freedom loving folks refused land use planning… development was rampant and not always pretty. 


This began to create a bit of animosity, as you might imagine … and it hasn’t helped that the caricature of the mountain people was cemented in people's brains by shows like the Beverly Hillbillies, Deliverance,  Barney Google and Snuffy Smith in the Sunday funnies …  Even I have given up explaining to people that “paddle faster I hear banjos “ is NOT a compliment.  

Ann Rose told me 20 years ago that when people from here came to the Winston Salem hospitals , they were treated differently. 

So folks moving up from the flatlands thought we were all stupid and inbred. And didn’t hesitate to treat us as such. 

Just a couple years ago a dear friend said to me ‘ well, you know, there really wasn’t anything here til we started moving in ‘  

Whew law  

Maybe WJ wasn’t quite so pretty… and Jefferson didn't have four 4 lane highways.  

 We had community grocery stores,  and if you went to town there were a couple real grocery stores. We knew our neighbors and we took care of each other. 


There WAS so much here. 

Another “friend” of several years posted a caricature on Social media of a hillbilly… with the caption “this is where i live now”  

Trust comes hard sometimes. 

Occasionally folks like to have a token hillbilly to drag around.  I’ve fallen for that one a few times. 

 Anyway. Back to my tale. 

We romanticize the Virginia Creeper, forgetting that it was placed here to haul away our timber. 

And the pesticides. I grew  up in 80 acres of apple orchard, before people knew to wear masks. Before anything was banned.  My first pony died because she ate 2-4D out of the bucket when it was being put out for weed and grass control.

 Don't try to tell me people didn’t know what they were selling. 

We were cheap labor for all kinds of industry, then it went and we were even cheaper labor for the service industry and construction jobs that materialized. 

Now meth has replaced moonshine as the cash crop 

We traded revenuers for ATF and a multi million dollar militarized sheriff's department and privatized prisons. 

We are still the product. 

There's no money in acknowledging the disease of addiction. 

And the inbred hillbilly with no teeth stereotype self perpetuates  

Crime has increased with the influx of substance abuse,  and that brings more fear.

Opiates and the war on drugs have made us a commodity once again. 

Anyway … I hope that I have explained some of the grief that our Ashe county working families have experienced through the years. Maybe you can pass my story on? 

Maybe together this summer we can help people see that it’s time the people of Ashe County were prioritized instead of commodified. 

Could we please elect commissioners who care? 

Who don’t roll their eyes and make faces when people ask them to care?

Who bother to educate themselves about issues like:

Safe & affordable housing. 

Fair wages 

Substance misuse and addiction 

About fully funded public education, 

About accessible CHILD CARE !!! 

Who aren’t racists for pete's sake!!! 


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I’ll tell you what’s the God’s honest truth, y’all. I have been feeling really lost the last few weeks. 

I crave a voice of faith in Ashe County that speaks out against what is happening to our democracy right now. 

 A voice that contradicts the noise of white Christian nationalism.  Loudly. 

I’m in need of some wisdom and encouragement, so I am turning to you folks to help solve this quandary.  

 I don’t feel right wearing my faith on my sleeve, but neither can I watch silently when the other candidates are purporting their version of Christianity to be the only one.  

Honestly y’all, this feels like the year we all have to step up and speak out against this crap that has been parading as Christianity for years, this crap that looks nothing like the Jesus that said “follow me” 

Personally, I prefer to identify as a follower of the Way of Jesus. I have struggled with the word Christian for many years. 

It feels as though my Christianity has been hijacked by extremists. 

It feels as though my flag has been hijacked by extremists. 

The Sermon on the Mount has been deemed woke by extremists

The Constitution of the United States of America has been deemed woke, again, by extremists. 

 This is not a new thing. The Christian church backed Hitler up until 1945, the Taliban, ISIS, religious nationalism doesn’t change. It’s always the same game, different name. 

What the heck y’all ?  I’ve always figured I’d be good if I stayed on the team that didn’t burn books, and now the people who call themselves followers of Christ are not only doing that, but calling human beings “vermin” , "not really people" . NC overwhelmingly went for a man who says he would prefer women didn't vote and a lot of other crap, State Superintendent of Schools could be a woman who endorses Moms for Liberty. Holy Heifers Batman!!!

For several years I have been studying the evolution of Christianity into White Christian Nationalism.

When Colin Kapernick took a knee, when he shared the story of how he had come to this decision..  I cried… I thought “ Man ! What a  beautiful protest. No one could object to that!”   

Then the president called him a son of a bitch and called for him to be fired from the NFL … since when do presidents get involved in hiring and firing of private individuals working in private corporations? 

All the while we were watching videos of black men and women, black children being murdered by police and when we called for reform to make sure that bad cops got fired, that movement was categorized as bad somehow ?  

And when did it happen that the flag and the cross got confused?  

Was it in 1954 when we added “Under God” to the pledge?

Was it in 1955 when we traded E Pluribus Unum for In God We Trust? Or was it later , after the Civil RIghts Movement when Bob Jones and Jerry Falwell started segregation academies masquerading as Christian schools? 

Gradually we turned the flag and the pledge from something patriotic into something sacred, holy; most of us haven’t even blinked. 

Years ago a Presbyterian preacher from Greensboro, Pastor Mark Sandlin, said to watch out for the Stars and Stripes appearing in sanctuaries.  I don’t believe I would have even been aware of the sinister nature of such a thing had I not had that awareness.  Then I started reading books like “Jesus and John Wayne” by Kristin Kobes DuMez.  “Blessed” by Kate Bowler etc. More recently “The Kingdom, The Power and The Glory” by Tim Alberta, a pastor who speaks out against what has happened to the Evangelical Church. 

As I  became more and more cognizant of the threat I started seeing things. Remember when the Church in Tennessee had a “blessing of the guns service” 

(if you don’t, just Google Greg Locke)  Or churches right here in Ashe started removing women Sunday School teachers from being in authority over 12 year old boys?  

When the sheriff's campaign posters featured a cross wrapped up in a flag? 

We stuck our fingers in our ears and said  lalalalalalalalala he’s a God fearing Christian lalalalalalala. 

These were not signs of a healthy democracy y’all. Now they are saying the quiet part out loud, and well, here we are. 

 We have a group teaching  constitution classes  based on the premise that God wrote the Constitution.  Yeah, the one that starts out “We the people of the United States of America… “  that one, yep.

The republican people of our county and state overwhelmingly just selected a man to run for Governor who has said “Women should never have been allowed to vote” among other ridiculous things.  Who called “the civil rights movement “crap” and vowed to work on MLK Day because he’s “not a leach." “

We have a minority of citizens who have hamstrung the entire country because they believe that a con artist is the Second Coming of Jesus.  

The same man who had the national guard clear a church so he could stand in front of it holding a Bible upside down for a photo op ! 

The guy who autographs Bibles. 

Yep, that's the one. 

Maybe they don’t all believe that, but he serves their purposes so they don’t contradict him. 

When are we going to take off the gloves and call him what he is? 

I realize this blog entry will probably lose me some voters. But if I, and those who think like me, don't speak out… Well then, who will?  

 Anyway…. If y’all would just keep me in your hearts and in your prayers… I sure would appreciate it.  I’ve got to decide if this campaign calls for opening my mouth or shutting it.  

Stay tuned. 

I love you !

Nancy Beth 

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Snowy Day from the porch at my house
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