Gaston & Catawba

Burke News |

The historic town of Valdese recently launched a new travel and tourism Web site with enhanced navigation, new photography and expanded resources.

“The site expresses the exact character of Valdese, charming and neighborly,” said Barbara Hefner, director of travel and tourism for the town of Valdese. “After visiting the new site, you will feel right at home when you visit our remarkable town.”

The site provides information about the town's history, local attractions, area events, local tours, food and lodging. The Web site is regularly updated to include an array of cultural and entertainment events. also provides contact information, directions and day-tripping suggestions for the casual visitor or for those relocating to the area.

Contact the Valdese Travel and Tourism Office for more information at (828) 879-2126.

Burke County United Way recently kicked off its annual campaign themed “Live United,” setting a fundraising goal of $800,000.

Weeks into the Pacesetters campaigns, the nonprofit has recorded $132,000 in pledges, a sign that “people are stepping up to the plate,” according to Wendy Cato, resource development director for the United Way.

The 2008 campaign will incorporate more than 75 individual industry and business campaigns, along with a concentrated Table Rock Society leadership drive.

“The economy, unemployment, and gas prices are all having an affect on how people spend their money … on how companies spend their money,” said Trent Toner of Toner Machining, “but we are still seeing the commitment from plant managers to host campaigns and human resource personnel to develop their campaigns for success.”

Cato said one of this year's campaign strategies will be to identify and reach out to parts of the community that have not been asked to support the United Way in the past.

The nonprofit organization's volunteer board of directors is lead by President Jeff Morse. Executive Director Sally Learned joined the organization in July, bringing 28 years of experience in nonprofit and local government sectors.

Ron LaSalle of Hospice of Burke County leads the 2008 Campaign Cabinet.

“This Live United campaign is a challenge to take up the strength and commitment of that one word (United) and join others to ensure that the resources will continue to be there for this community to ensure quality of life for those who need help.”

The 2008 Burke County United Way Campaign will run through October. Pledges can be made as businesses or individuals.

For more information, call 828-433-0681 or visit

Mary Katherine Creel