Editor’s note: This article features news and photos from past editions of the Watauga Democrat.
Oct. 17, 1977
According to the Monday, Oct. 17, 1977, publication of the Watauga Democrat, “early snow chilled autumn tourists in the Boone area, accumulating as much as 5 inches on Beech Mountain.” Monday’s temperatures “got down to 16 degrees Fahrenheit with 40-knot winds and a chill factor of minus 21 degrees Fahrenheit.”
The Watauga Democrat also reported on a preparedness exercise that involved most of the area’s first responders. The exercise “started as a result of a mock severe weather alert which caused fires and wrecks throughout the county, setting off alarms at several schools and a bank.” For some participating departments, the training came from responding to emergency calls and checking for victims of flooding. Members of the Watauga County Rescue Squad responded to an explosion scenario.
Oct. 14, 1987
Coverage of the year’s Woolly Worm Festival was included in the Oct. 14, 1987, edition of the Watauga Democrat, noting that “approximately 4,000 people attended and 284 woolly worms competed at the event.” A worm named Pretty Cougar won owner Morgan Anderson the $500 grand prize and predicted “cold and lots of snow” for the winter season. “The festival even featured something for the modern health-conscious woolly worm — a Woolly Worm Workout Kit featuring weights and a little cotton towel for those worms who take their training seriously,” reported the article.
Also, the relocation of the Watauga Democrat printing press was reported on Oct. 14, 1987, in “Let the presses roll.” The printing presses were placed in the former Rivers Building in Boone’s industrial park where they still are today. “Democrat crews began tearing down and moving the presses Friday afternoon … and by Monday had several set up in the new facility off U.S. 421.” It wasn’t until later that the business office of the Watauga Democrat joined the presses at the industrial park office.
Oct. 17, 1997
The Oct. 17, 1997, edition of the Watauga Democrat, reported “a Boone man, formerly charged with military weapons violations was among 13 arrested … related to thefts from Camp Lejeune.” Federal agents searched Boone Self Storage and Moving Center on the N.C. 105 Bypass, but no one on-scene would comment to reporters regarding the situation.
“The material, if any, recovered in Boone has not been disclosed, however, photos taken at the time ... appear to reveal military type ammunition cases…” according to the article.
Also in the Oct. 17, 1997 edition, Watauga County Healthy Carolinians and the county health department participated in Breast Cancer Awareness Month by hosting a Pink Ribbon Week. “Churches, employers and community organizations distributed more than 5,000 information cards with pink ribbons attached” during the week of Oct. 5-12, 1997, stated the Watauga Democrat article.
“The pink ribbon has become a symbol of hope for a cure for breast cancer and a reminder that breast cancer does not have to be fatal,” advocated the two lead organizations, before announcing free and cost-affordable mammograms that were offered in the area for the month of October.