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

March 31, 1960

“The 1960 Census of Population and Housing — the Nation’s 18th decennial nose count — gets underway on Friday morning, April 1,” according to a 1960 article in the Watauga Democrat, “with 160,000 census takers starting their rounds which will take them to every dwelling unit in the United States.

“In covering the 3.5 million square miles of lane area of the 50 states, the census takers will travel an estimated combined distance of more than 1,000 times around the world, or approximately 28 million miles.

“District Supervisor Roby D. Pennell pointed out that residents of this area can speed up the big count by having their advance report forms filled out and ready for the census takers. This action will save time for both the householder and the census taker, the census official said,” the article stated.

“At every fourth household, the census taker will leave a Census Household Questionnaire which contains additional questions covering population and housing characteristics which are being asked of a 25 percent sample of the population.

“The district supervisor emphasized that all information about individuals and their homes furnished to the Census Bureau is held in absolute confidence under federal law,” according to the article.

April 3, 1980

“Construction is expected to begin this month on the newest building addition in recent years to the downtown area of Boone,” according to a 1980 Watauga Democrat article. The 1980 article references the building it being located at 307 West King St. This building is now known as Appalachian Law Center and is located at 756 West King St.

“Tuesday afternoon groundbreaking ceremonies were held for a $250,000 ofice building to be erected on West King Street. The three-story steel structure with brick exterior is expected to be completed in about eight months.

“Owens of the building are Charles E. Clement, Paul Miller, John L. Payne and Raymond P. Howell. Housed in the structure will be the law firm of Clement and Miller, John L. Payne, CLU, Insurance and the office of architect Raymond P. Howell AIA,” according to the article.

“Rental space will also be made available in the building which will contain 5,500 square feet.”

April 3, 2000

“Though not directly related to an incident at Watauga High School last week, school system officials are still taking all the precautions necessary to make Watauga County’s schools as safe as they can be, according to a 2000 Watauga Democrat article titled, “Plans already in place for metal detectors at high school.”

“By the end of the current academic year, hand-held metal detectors, as well as a walk-through unit for the high school, will be in use at the nine county schools.

“School system officials requested the units earlier this year after the state made funding available to pay for them. The idea of increased protection is apparently not a new one within the system.

“This is something that there’s been an ongoing discussion about having. We’ve been talking for a while about how we can make all of the schools in the system safer,” said WHS Principal Paula Norton in the article.

“Norton stressed that the decision to order metal detectors was made well before a WHS student brought a loaded gun to school last week.

Schools Superintendent Dick Jones said Friday that his take on the situation was that of an unfortunate, but still isolated, incident.

“(Metal detectors) are not a response to any particular incident,” he said in the article. “I still think we have a safe environment in our schools. This is just a precaution that in this day and time we’re willing to have.”

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