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

Feb. 14, 1980

The debate over legalization of beer and wine sales in Boone made the front page of the Feb.14, 1980 edition of the Watauga Democrat. According to the article, the “on-again, off-again” campaign for legalization was off again due to local organizers of the campaign appearing to have “backed off the issue for the time being.”

“Everything seems to be at a stand still right now,” said Mike Sollectio, a local restaurant owner and organizer of the campaign. “I don’t really know what’s going on, and I don’t know when things will get going again.”

The article by the Watauga Democrat stated that supporters of the legalization movement had hoped to circulate a petition the previous fall in order to call a referendum sometime in the following January, but vocal opposition expressed by some members of the community forced the organizers to postpone their plans.

Feb. 19, 1990

The Feb. 19, 1990, edition of the Watauga Democrat brought word of a Cherokee snow dance. According to the article, a midwinter warm spell had caused the local ski resort, Hawksnest, to recruit help from nearly 20 Cherokee dancers. The article stated that the snow dance tradition dated back some 12,000 years and the songs were ones of thanks and praise.

“They got up here on Friday night and the temperature started dropping. We started the snow guns about 5 a.m.,” said Tom Gidley, area manager of Ski Hawksnest.

According to the Watauga Democrat the ceremony worked so well that the event had to be moved indoors to the lodge because of the cold wind. About 300 spectators came to watch the snow dancers in 1990. The snow dancers had last performed at Hawksnest in 1984, when warm weather had delayed the start of ski season.

Feb. 18, 2000

On Feb. 18, 2000, the Watauga Democrat reported that a long-lost dog had finally made its way home after 13 years. The dog in question, a beloved beagle named Sandy, belonged to Boone resident Wesley Hayes, who had received the hound as a Christmas gift from his father in 1985.

According to the article, Sandy, who had reportedly wandered off in 1987, was found roaming around the Junaluska community wearing the same collar she had on when she disappeared. “She’s bound to have been somewhere and someone never took her collar off, I’d like to know who it was,” said Patrick, Hayes’ father, referring to where the dog had lived for over a decade. According to the Watauga Democrat, Sandy the beagle was only home a week before she took off again.

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