This week in history: Aug. 21

August 19, 2013 

Bunn fullback Tim Trader, left, quarterback Joey Henn, center, and linebacker Thomas Dew reach for the football in this preseason photo taken in 2003.


Like a time machine, we take you back through the pages of our eastern Wake County newspaper archives to give you glimpses of what was going on in the area in years past. Each week we pull samples of the local news that made headlines 10, 25 and 50 years ago.

This week in 2003, weather was an issue for the Carolina Mudcats, much like it has been in more recent years. In 1988, enrollment projections were the hot topic for local elementary school officials. And in 1963, a local driver’s license examiner had some very valuable advice for bicycle riders.


Mother Nature threw Five County Stadium a curveball in the form of torrential downpours that led to flooding.

It forced the then-Double-A Mudcats to cancel a doubleheader this week, 10 years ago, as well as other games that would have been under sunny skies.

According to an official weather report, the stadium grounds rank just behind Moore County as receiving the most precipitation recently.

“It’s the worst I’ve seen it,” Director of Field Operations John Packer said. “The biggest concern is if it’s an unplayable field.”

He added the field was not conducive for baseball games several times during the recent homestand. “Football, possibly,” he said.

Conditions were so severe two N.C. State University professors of crop science visited, offering advice on behalf of Cooperative Extension Services.

“It’s a miracle (Packer) has been able to get the players out here,” Dr. Art Bruneau said. “He has done a tremendous job.”

“It’s just as much of an education for us as it is for John,” Dr. Dan Bowman said, adding the cloudy weather was just as much to blame for the sloppy conditions as the rainfall.

The three paced the deluged property, pondering all the variables attributing to ill effects. Each step mired a new footprint into the saturated soil.

If you thought poor drainage was to blame, you’re correct. At the time, the organization was in the process of looking into a new runoff system.


The early word from elementary school leaders in Knightdale and Wendell was that they would have slightly higher enrollments this year than they did the year before – which wasn’t terribly surprising.

Some principals were reporting substantial increases in pupil enrollment, while others expected less change.

A few curriculum changes are planned for this academic year, which begins Monday, but no major facility changes are expected other than renovation projects.

At Knightdale Elementary, Principal Tony Mallette expected about 630 students – an increase of about 30.

Mallette said the enrollment might surpass that amount by the 10th day of class, which is the basis used for funding teacher positions and other expenses. Another teacher slot may be added later, if tradition holds true.

Lockhart Elementary Principal Mary Alice Wiggs expected an increase of nearly 40 students, while Carver Elementary Principal Alex Taylor anticipated 20 extra pupils at most.

Wendell’s Principal Betsy Rountree at the time said enrollment was about the same as the year before, close to 580.


For those planning to ride a bike 50 years ago, driver’s license examiner Clarence Hocutt had some important safety recommendations to offer.

Obviously Hocutt’s message is a good one even today, but the way it’s presented has that Smokey-the-Bear humorous tone written all over it.

You should always be on the alert when riding your bicycle. And remember, an accident prevented may be a life saved and that life may be your own.

If your local city ordinance allows you to ride on the sidewalks, always be on the alert for pedestrians. Be courteous to those persons sharing the sidewalk with you.

Bicycles are considered vehicles. So far as the flow of traffic is concerned, bicyclists must ride on the right side of the road. The rider must give hand signals for turns or stops, as auto drivers are required to do. The bicyclist is like the pedestrian in one important respect; he is likely to be seriously injured in almost any collision with a motor vehicle.

Skipping forward:

If you ride your bike at night, be sure to have the bike equipped with a headlight and a red rear light or red reflector on it. Don’t ride anyone on your bike with you. This prevents a clear view and makes balancing of the bike difficult.

Keep your bike in good condition, and do not practice any stunt riding, day or night. Do not ride your bike too far and too fast at any one time. This practice will make you tired and any tired bicyclist is not a safe rider.

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