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

July 29, 1948

“Each county in the Alleghany-Ashe-Watauga District has now reported its first case of the polio-myelitis,” stated a front-page article in the July 29, 1948, Watauga Democrat titled “Precautions urged as first polio is reported.”

“To date there has been one case in Alleghany, two in Ashe and one in Watauga,” the article stated. “This fact should bring about voluntary restriction of any action that might expose a child needlessly, and common sense precautions on the part of everyone.

“As yet, there is no need of panic and wholesale closing down of all meeting places in these counties but it will be wise to observe the following points.

“If your child is sick, keep him at home, preferably in bed and contact your family doctor,” the article advised. “Polio usually starts with slight fever, listlessness, loss of appetite and in the more advanced form is accompanied by headache, weakness and stiff neck.”

July 13, 1978

In a 1978 article in the Watauga Democrat titled “ASU asks for help with stadium lights” it refers to Appalachian State University’s football stadium as Conrad Stadium. Conrad Stadium was renamed to Kidd Brewer Stadium in 1988.

“Appalachian State University has asked the Watauga County Commissioners for a minimum amount of $75,000 to help purchase new lights for Conrad stadium,” the article said.

“ASU is in the process of expanding its stadium, and according to Bob Snead, vice chancellor for Development and Public Affairs, a new lighting system will be a necessity if night games are to be played. Watauga High uses the facility for its home football games.

“Watauga County Commissioner Chairman Gene Wilson said he thought it was a matter that should be taken before the county Board of Education, and Vice Chairman J. Paul Combs concurred,” according to the article. “However, Snead said he has not been told to make a request to the school board.

“Over the past several years, ASU generally has played two or three night football games, but this coming season there are no night games, and athletic officials have said that lights are not necessary in future schedules.

“However, lights are necessary if Watauga High School continues to use the Conrad Stadium facility to play its home games on Friday nights.

“Snead said that the $75,000 would only cover about half of the cost of the new lights, according to the estimates of the architects,” the article stated. “Snead said he didn’t know what course of action the university would take in the future if financial support was not received from the county.”

July 24, 1998

“President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore will come to the High Country next Thursday to announce a special designation for New River and nine other rivers around the country, a spokesman said in the July 24, 1998 Watuaga Democrat.

Clinton and Gore were to stop somewhere between Todd in Ashe County and Pine Creek in Alleghany County to make the announcement on the river’s bank.

“Clinton announced his American Heritage Rivers initiative during a State of the Union Address 10 months ago,” the article stated. “Since then, an advisory committee has narrowed a list of 126 rivers to 10 that include New River.

“The designation assigns a full-time federal employee, or ‘river navigator,’ to each waterway. Advocates say the money would restore downtowns and historic buildings along the river, promote tourism, local history and culture, maintain farmland and keep the river clean. It would not restrict property rights.

“Formed an estimated 320 million years ago, the New River is believed by geologists to be the oldest river in North America.”

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