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

Jan. 16, 1958

The Boone and Blowing Rock Chambers of Commerce contended that the National Park Service was denying the use of more information about facilities off the Blue Ridge Parkway and thus causing private businesses to compete with the federal government, an article titled “Boone, B. Rock Chambers ask parkway information signs,” said.

“Strongly worded brochures with pictures are being circulated to towns and individuals along the parkway route in an effort to prompt some action from those affected by the matter,” the article stated.

The two chambers passed out leaflets that said “We are not going to sit still while the tourist business is sold down the river.”

“Illustrations on the brochure show that signs now existing on the parkway, with respect to nearby towns, actually contain less information than was the case in 1950,” the article stated. “Spokesmen also pointed out by way of contrast that signs near the government sponsored facilities on the parkway give far more complete data, denoting availability of gas, meals and lodging.”

In other news, First Baptist Church of Boone pastor L.H. Hollingsworth was elected to serve as president of the general board of the Baptist State Convention for 1958.

“Hollingsworth, who held a pastorate at Mebane before coming to Boone, has been a member of the board’s executive committee for the past two years,” the article stated. “He is also a member of the convention’s standing committee of 25, appointed in 1956 to study present and future needs of Baptist institutions.”

Jan. 15, 1988

A proposed downtown Boone municipal service district, which would include a new tax, drew a variety of opinions from potentially affected business people, according to an article titled “Reactions mixed to downtown tax district.”

“Downtown merchants generally favor the tax, while owners of other businesses, such as attorneys and residents of the area, oppose it,” the article stated.

A survey conducted on the matter had 27 respondents in favor, 24 against and 10 with no opinion.

Reasons given for the tax district, allowed by N.C. General Statutes, was to boost downtown revitalization or provide off-street parking, the article stated.

“The value of the proposed tax district is approximately $14 million and the suggested tax rate of 30 cents would provide an estimated $40,000 per year in new revenues.”

Jan. 14, 1998

More than 100 Red Cross volunteers were organized to aid the Roaring Creek, Jerry’s Creek and other locations in Avery County following flash floods that occurred the previous week, according to a Watauga Democrat article titled “Help is here: Red Cross Volunteers and others rally around flood victims.”

“Damage estimates are still being tallied by local, state and federal emergency management staff,” the article stated. “(Watauga County Red Cross director Sonny) Sweet said he heard an unofficial $7 million as the damage estimate for the entire region, from Buncombe County to Ashe County, and staff at the state Department of Emergency Management said $735,000 is the amount estimated ‘so far’ for Avery County alone.”

The Red Cross was serving 2,500 meals a day mainly to victims and rescue workers, Sweet said, and there were 100 cases of emergency assistance requested in Avery County.

The Red Cross, Salvation Army and N.C. National Guard were on site in Avery County, with the National Guard airlifting supplies to houses that were isolated due to destroyed bridges and roads.

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