Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
Oct. 28, 1954
The Oct. 28, 1954, issue of the Watauga Democrat brought the news that the Appalachian State Teachers College would play in the 10th annual Burley Bowl on Thanksgiving Day at Memorial Stadium in Boone.
“Official announcement of the choice, confirming reports which circulated as much as two months ago, was made here tonight by Joe Jared of the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce’s Burley Bowl team selection committee,” the article stated. “No opponent for Appalachian has been officially announced, but East Tennessee State is generally believed to be the team the Mountaineers will meet.
“Appalachian is a member of North Carolina’s North State Conference, and has already clinched at least a tie for the loop title,” the article said. “Bowl officials said plans for the two-day event were progressing rapidly. About 3,000 tickets to the football game already have been sold, and a sellout was predicted within the next two weeks.”
Oct. 31, 1974
“Record High In Bridge Game” read a headline in the Oct. 31, 1974, Watauga Democrat.
“In a partnership arranged at the last minute, Harry Brigham, manager of the Shrimper, and Dan Duke, ASU psychology professor, managed to produce a record high win in the local Thursday night bridge contests,” the article began.
“Brigham and Duke tallied 74 out of a possible 96 matchpoints, a monster 77.1 percent victory, and the highest percentage game win since the Boone Bridge Club discontinued playing Monday nights three or four years back,” the article stated.
“Games are open to the public,” the article concluded. “Gametime is 7:30 each Thursday night in the lobby of Lovill Dorm on the ASU campus. Entry fee is 50 cents.”
Oct. 24, 1994
In the first annual Report on School Violence, Watauga County Schools reported 36 crimes in schools in 1993 and 1994, the Watauga Democrat reported on Oct. 24, 1994. Thirty of the crimes involved possession of illegal substances or weapons on campus, three of the crimes involved sexual assault and the other three were assaults.
David Greene, then the Watauga County Schools superintendent, said the weapons violations usually involved knives, not firearms.
“We consider ourselves very fortunate in that regard,” Greene said. “Our biggest problem area is fighting.”
At the time, the newspaper reported, fights between students that did not cause serious injuries were not reported to the state, but the county’s policy was that all fights in the high school were reported to police.
More than 75 people participated in the “Rally in the Valle” event in Valle Crucis to tell representatives of the N.C. Department of Transportation that they didn’t want the state to build an 86-foot-long concrete culvert to replace a 1959 wood and steel bridge over Baird’s Creek. Opponents said the culvert would ruin natural rock outcroppings and would take away from the road’s scenic qualities.
The newspaper also reported that Watauga Medical Center President Richard Sparks spent two weeks in England with teams from four other hospitals from North and South Carolina to study the British National Health Service.
“Perhaps the biggest difference is universal health coverage for all citizens in England, and Sparks said their health statistics are as good or better than ours in the United States,” the article stated.
“We tried to look at what we are doing wrong over here,” Sparks told the newspaper. “The only negative part of the culture is the long wait for surgery, sometimes from eight to 16 months.
“But when you discuss it with the people, it’s not a big issue,” Sparks continued. “To them, the pounds they save outweighs detrimental effects on their health. If it’s truly an emergency, you can get moved up, but they don’t have access like we do.”