We glance back at our eastern Wake County newspaper archives on a weekly basis to reminisce on the news that made headlines 10, 25 and 50 years ago.
This week in 2003, a Wendell resident was voicing concerns about the state of her neighborhood, and the direction it was headed. In 1988, just seven years after AIDS was first recognized, local health officials were confirming local cases of the deadly disease. And in 1963, the public faced a significant vote – one that would consolidate schools in four local districts.
June Mantych of Wendell said she was grateful her Cypress Street home wasn’t located at what she called the “less pleasant” end of the once-quiet area.
“The neighborhood is heading to the wrong direction and my only consolation is the fact that things seem to be a little better at this end of the street,” the resident since 1947 said.
Mantych voiced some of the concerns about Cypress Street at a recent public hearing when she attended to speak on behalf of neighbor Randy Robbins, who was embroiled in a debate over whether he could legally operate a business in an accessory building.
“I used the opportunity to tell the Town Board that Randy and his business are not causing any problems in this area, but people having parties at 2 a.m. and breaking into our houses are,” she said.
Mantych added the problems in the neighborhood are concentrated in the 500 block of North Cypress Street.
“Two doors down from Randy’s place. That’s where there is junk on people’s porches and yards, people are coming and going at all hours, and loud music blasts around the clock.”
Mantych feels uneasy in her own neighborhood, and can’t think of any other part of town which has declined as much as her once quiet and clean street.
In June of this year, an article indicated at least two more eastern Wake County residents had been diagnosed with AIDS since the prior summer. In the summer of 1987, medical officials knew of just one local AIDS patient.
This region of the county now has three patients with the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, according to Dr. Leah Devlin, Wake health director.
Because the testing for this fatal disease is done anonymously, Dr. Devlin said she does not know whether the 1987 patient survived and is one of the three now suffering from AIDS, or whether these represent totally new cases.
Wake County had 62 documented AIDS patients at the time, but the health director said the county probably had closer to 3,100 residents affected by the virus – some who likely hadn’t experienced symptoms.
Because of the growing caseload, the Wake County Health Department now has two telephone workers who answer questions about AIDS and help arrange for testing and counseling.
“We only recommend testing for high-risk groups – people who are engaging in high-risk behavior,” Devlin explained.
Those practicing “unsafe sex” would be included, she said, as would those who share syringes or needles with others.
Zebulon residents, like those in Knightdale, Rolesville and Wendell, had a big decision to make this time 50 years back – whether or not to consolidate schools in their school district.
Registrars of the four districts reported that 2,070 persons are registered and qualified to vote in the referendum.
The polling place for the Wakelon district will be Wakelon School. Ballots will carry only two statements: for and against the consolidation of school district 13.
Advocates of a comprehensive high school have emphasized the advantages of one larger high school for the four districts, as opposed to the limited program of instruction possible in present schools of the districts.
An injunction brought against the Wake County Board of Education by the Wakelon District School Committee was still pending at the time of this article. The suit was filed against the board after it decided on the site to locate the comprehensive high school.
If the vote Saturday indicates patrons of the Wakelon district are not satisfied with four-school consolidation, the Committee may then seek further action.
Consolidation forces have been open in their support of the proposed comprehensive high school, and, as the day for decision neared, seemed to gain strength from many persons formerly neutral or reluctant to take sides publicly.