Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.

Feb. 1, 1989

A report in the Feb. 1, 1989, edition of the Watauga Democrat detailed precautions taken by Appalachian State University in the face of a red measles outbreak.

“Nearly 385 Appalachian State University employees and students are going to be taking an involuntary two-week vacation unless they either get their red measles vaccination or prove they have immunity to the disease,” the report stated.

“Two new cases were confirmed Monday, bringing the total of ASU students afflicted with red measles to three.”

Following the two-week mandatory vacation, “faculty, staff and students who have not been properly immunized against the disease have been told to stay off campus until Sunday, Feb. 12, the end of the two-week incubation period for the disease, or they will be subject to an unlimited fine or a jail sentence of up to two years.”

Speed Hallman of the ASU News Bureau said “the administration and health officials” were not taking the disease and chance of outbreak “seriously enough,” adding that red measles can lead to “encephalitis, pneumonia or even death.”

Feb. 8, 1999

As a part of the Watauga Centennial Celebration, the community participated in a “Beard Growing Contest,” according to an article titled “It was a hairy situation for many Wataugans” in the Feb. 8, 1999, edition of the Watauga Democrat.

“Men from all over Watauga County worked on their beards for weeks in preparation for the county’s sesquicentennial celebration … “ the article reported.

“The beard grow acted as a salute to the men who founded Watauga County 150 years ago, those who braved the elements and yet stayed somewhat warm because of those great long beards.”

Categories in the competition included “Most Colorful Beard,” “The Whitest Beard,” “Oldest Beard,” “Best Twin Beards,” “Darkest Beard” and “Most Distinguished Beard.”

Feb. 1, 2009

The Feb. 1, 2009, edition of the Watauga Democrat reported on progress made on the wetland project off of the Greenway Trail in Boone, which was created to provide a home for “a diverse ecosystem for wetland plants and animals.”

According to Wendy Patoprsty, an agent at the N.C. Cooperative Extension at the time, “Every time it rains, our rivers and streams are exposed to pollutants, such as oil and gas from roads, trash and debris, pet waste, sediment from erosion, and excess nutrients and chemicals.”

“The wetland, which is located in a flood plain, will treat stormwater from 30 acres of impervious parking lots, roads and buildings, removing sediments, nutrients, heavy metals chemicals and bacteria by natural means and preventing them from entering the nearby New River,” stated the article.

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