Jan. 14, 1897: One hundred twenty-five years ago today, The Comet quipped, “The weather this week is too bad to do anything but of course it will not interfere with the Legislature.”

Jan. 14, 1909: The Bristol Evening News, with a dateline from Johnson City, reported news about Johnson City’s municipal government. “As regards the charter changes, the Staunton, Va., idea seems to prevail.”

“All of the city aldermen will be elected from the city at large. The city is to be divided into two wards, with two voting precincts in the (indecipherable) corporations. The mayor is to receive a salary, and also the recorder and chairman of the finance committee. The executive department of the government is to be employed by the city at a salary.”

The Bristol Evening News is now known as the Bristol Herald Courier. Johnson City did not have a daily newspaper in 1909. The Comet was published weekly.

Jan. 14, 1916: According to The Johnson City Staff, “George L. Carter, of Johnson City, who has for the past fifteen years been one of the most prominent coal operators and railroad builders in Southwest Virginia, and East Tennessee, has completed at Coalwood, just across the State (sic) Line (sic) in West Virginia, a coal mining shaft at a cost of $1,000,000. The shaft has been (indecipherable) 600 feet straight down into the ground in order to permit the mining of what is said to be one of the best and thickest veins of coal in this section of the South. Mr. Carter has severed his connection with the Clinchfield coal and railroad interests and has mobilized much of his capital and put it into the West Virginia development which is one of the largest of its kind being carried on in the South. Mr. Carter, whose home is in Johnson City, is temporarily making Coalwood his headquarters.”

Coalwood, West Virginia is about 128 miles from Johnson City.

A million dollars in 1916 is now worth approximately $25,500,000, according to www.in2013dollars.com.

Jan. 14, 1922: One hundred years ago today, The Journal and Tribune reported news with a dateline from Johnson City. Readers learned, “Rev. Father William R. Bonniwell, for the past year assistant pastor of St. Mary’s church (sic) in Johnson City, left Wednesday afternoon for Kansas City, to which point he has been transferred and where he will be assistant pastor of the Holy Name Church. Father Bonniwell leaves many friends in Johnson City where he has been prominent in civic and social affairs. He has been notably active in promoting the physical and social welfare of the American Legion and all ex-service men.”

The Journal and Tribune was a newspaper published in Knoxville. We do not have access to most newspapers that were published in Johnson City in January of 1922.

Jan. 14, 1947: Seventy-five years ago today, the Johnson City Press-Chronicle gave news of a recent debate. “A lively debate on ‘Should Tennessee Authorize Retail packaged Liquor Stores Under State Management and Control’ featured a well attended (sic) meeting of the Men’s Club last night in St. John’s Episcopal parish hall.”

“Upholding he affirmative side of the question were C. Hodge Mathes and Frazier Cochrane. Defending the negative side were T.C. Carson and E.E. Hawkins. S.G. Gilbreath was moderator.”

“All of the participants are teachers or formerly engaged in the profession of teaching.”

“The affirmative team emphasized contrasts in conditions in this area, which they described as ‘just about as dry as the center of the Mississippi River’ to those in Canada and in other centers where the state or country legalize and control the sale of liquor.”

The article continued to state that “The negative pair based their chief plea on the idea that a state should not engage in any activities that are detrimental to the welfare of the citizens of that state. Liquor, they said, as a contributing factor in crime, illicit sexual relationships and in gambling, should not be the basis of a state business.”

“Both sides stressed the need for education on temperance, and home example. Both claimed drinking is on the increase today, but draw different conclusions.”

“Questions were asked from the floor at the close of the formal debate.”

“Dr. G. Edward Campbell presided over the meeting, which followed a dinner served by women of the church.”

Jan. 14, 1972: Fifty years ago today, the weather was in the news, according to the Johnson City Press-Chronicle. Readers learned, “Temperatures remained quite warm late last night as the National Weather Service persisted in its forecast of one to three accumulated inches of snow by dawn today.”

“Following a record high of 72 early yesterday, thunderstorms quickly moved into the Tri-Cities area, a forewarning of the cold front which was forecast to enter the area by early today with high winds, colder temperatures and that elusive snow.”

“At 11 p. m. yesterday, most of the area was covered by heavy rains, extending into Western North Carolina. Several reports of hail accompanied storms were noted throughout Upper East Tennessee.”

“If indeed that snow arrives, it may stay on the ground a day or two with today’s high temperature of 30 expected to add to the longevity of any accumulations.”

“Light snow early today should diminish as the day grows cloudy and colder. Tonight should be partly cloudy and cold with a low in the mid-teens predicted.”

“Yesterday’s high of 72 was preceded by a Thursday morning low of 42.”

“As in the Tri-Cities area, most of Carolina experienced a mild day with many communities reporting high readings in the mid 70s (sic). And, as in Tennessee, those temperatures were to drop rapidly after midnight in the mountainous areas.”

“Checked visually at midnight, snow had yet to come whispering into Washington County.”

“If indeed it has snowed by the time you read this ‘forecast,’ please drive safely and anticipate skiing, sledding and snowballing tomorrow.”

“If it hasn’t register your gripes with Mother Nature.”

Finally, readers were advised, “In either case, have a good day.”

Jan. 14, 1997: With a dateline from Murfreesboro, the Johnson City Press carried important news about rabies 25 years ago today. “Rabid skunks are causing a stink here.”

“Since last July, 17 cases of rabid skunks have been reported to the Tennessee Department of Health, said Rebecca Wood, assistant director of Rutherford County Rabies Control. A rabid bat was also reported.”

“The prior year, the county reported 25 cases of rabid skunks and one rabid horse, said Wood, noting the Rutherford County has led the state in rabies cases for the past five years.”

“Skunks are the worst carriers of rabies in Tennessee, according to a recent survey by the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.”

“The CDC said there were 93 cases of rabies in Tennessee in the reporting period. Of those, 82 were observed in skunks. The others were in bats and foxes.”

“Among domestic animals, rabies occurred in three dogs, three cows and one horse.”

“Rabies is fatal without treatment. And officials warn pet owners to vaccinate their animals and keep them indoors, if possible.”

“’We don’t want to take the chance of somebody getting bitten by a rabid skunk,’ Wood said, adding that people can contract the virus from their unvaccinated pets if it was exposed to rabies.”

“Veterinarian Ralph Hall of the University of Tennessee said the last human to die from rabies in the state was a Cumberland County woman in 1994.”

Twenty-five years later, rabies continues to be an issue. A local veterinarian, Josh Hinkle, DVM, reports, “Rabies is a fatal viral infection that presents a serious public health problem in animals and people. One of the most important parts of my job is providing direct rabies prevention to my pet patients and thereby indirectly protecting their owners.”

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Sources: 

Rebecca Henderson is a contributing columnist for Johnson City Press.

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