Get Breaking News

Enter your email address to sign up.

Receive special offers from

Avery County Probation and Parole office in proximity to LMC gymnasium parking
Photo courtesy of Craig McPhail

Originally published: 2013-09-11 12:31:14
Last modified: 2013-09-11 12:31:58

LMC asks commissioners to move county parole office

Caroline Harris / (

Faculty and administrators from Lees-McRae College attended the Avery County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Sept. 3 to petition commissioners to move the county probation and parole office from its temporary location, which is located next to LMC. Currently, the parole office is located in a former daycare center adjacent to LMC’s Williams Physical Education Center, and the two share a parking lot.

LMC staff who attended the meeting included Dr. Barry Buxton, president of LMC; Craig McPhail, athletics director; Ray Cameron, women’s lacrosse coach; Caroline Hart, vice president of Advancement; Suzette Fronk, vice president of Finance and Business Affairs; Merritt Yackey, associate athletic director and head softball coach; Ben Austin, director of Admissions; Megan Hall, director of Communications; and Darcy Vasilas, secretary to the president.

Buxton addressed the board concerning the impact of the parole office’s location. Buxton expressed concern for the safety of female students.

“There have been multiple instances of parolee contact with our students and staff. We are fortunate nothing other than exposure to inappropriate behavior and comments has happened yet. We continue to have complaints from our young female student athletes and coaches regarding the things that have been said to them or inappropriate actions that have been witnessed,” Buxton said at the county commissioners’ meeting.

To read the complete story, please pick up a copy of your hometown newspaper, The Avery Journal-Times, available at almost 100 locations in Newland, Banner Elk, Crossnore, Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain, Tenn. To subscribe to The Avery Journal-Times, please call (828) 733-0401 or click to