Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
May 5, 1966
The May 5, 1966, issue of the Watauga Democrat announced that “a telegram was received by Boone’s Mayor Wade Brown Monday, informing him of a grant of more than $1 million toward building the city’s new water and sewage system.”
“It all comes to a total of $3,103,500,” the article stated, with $1.8 million approved by the citizens of Boone, $300,000 from the state of North Carolina and $1 million from the feds. Water-sewer bonds were approved by Boone voters on May 22, 1965.
“The mayor explained that the grant from North Carolina will be Appalachian State Teachers College’s part in building the sewer plant. They have their own water system,” the article stated.
The project was to be divided into several segments.
The issue of the newspaper featured a photo of a performance by the world-renowned Dave Brubeck Quartet at the Broome-Kirk Gymnasium at Appalachian State.
The newspaper’s editorial spoke of the active development of new motels, restaurants, shopping centers, college buildings and residential communities.
“Hound Ears is still building, as is the Seven Devils promotion, while preliminary grading and timber clearing is going on between Linville Gap and Linville for the Morton Golf Course complex, and work is expected to gather increased momentum on the Elk River and Beech Mountain golf, ski and residential developments,” it stated.
May 7, 1986
The newspaper announced in the May 7, 1986, issue that its parent company, Rivers Printing, had agreed to buy five acres at the county’s new industrial park to allow the company to expand its printing operations.
“The facility at the park, located off U.S. 421 east of Boone, will house the company’s printing operations; the newspaper’s offices will remain in downtown Boone,” the article stated.
Joe Furman, the county planner, noted in the article that water and sewer services were being provided to a site that would house facilities for Charleston Forge, “a local manufacturer of accessory furniture that will be the park’s first tenant.”
Another article in the issue announced the addition of a new helicopter at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, referred to as a “flying intensive care unit,” that would serve all hospitals within a 150-mile radius, including Watauga Hospital.
In a report on television’s “sweeps” ratings, the top TV shows were listed as “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties,” “Cheers,” “60 Minutes,” “Night Court,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murder She Wrote,” “Kate & Allie,” “Newhart” and “North & South, Book II.”
May 3, 2006
“No need to panic” about bird flu, a front page headline reassured Watauga Democrat readers on May 3, 2006.
The headline referred to the avian flu outbreak in Asia, Africa and Europe at the time. Twenty-five deaths had been attributed to the bird flu, with nearly half in China. The outbreak led to import bans on turkeys, chickens and other poultry that could carry the disease.
“It’s good to be aware of, but it’s not a pandemic flu at this point,” then-Appalachian Health District Director Danny Staley said in the article.
Another article in the issue advised readers of the growing number of wireless internet hotspots in the Boone area.
“(Larry) Griffin is one of many High Country residents who prefer the cafe environment in which to surf the Web connected via a high speed wireless (Wi-Fi),” the article stated. “And free Wi-Fi hotspots are cropping up in the area. In Griffin’s case, his job requires frequent travel, and having his Blowing Rock condo connected to a high-speed internet hardly seems worth the expense.”