This Week in Local History: Dec. 24, 2020


The Graham Star’s front page from 50 years ago (Dec. 24, 1970).

10 years ago

* Graham County filed a lawsuit against Swain County and the N.C. Department of Revenue, claiming the county was short changed by nearly $15 million for the taxable value of Fontana Dam over the past 62 years. Commission Chairman Mike Edwards agreed that the county needed to fight for the money. “We would be remiss if we didn’t go after funds due us,” said Edwards.

* The good news for the Black Knights was that they were able to disrupt the Hayesville Yellow Jackets’ undefeated streak. The bad news was knowing that no matter how many games the team won that season, they would not be allowed to participate in the state playoffs due to a multi-player skirmish with Andrews earlier in the year. Six Black Knights’ saw limited playing time against the Jackets. With seconds left in the game, Chris Daniels scored and drew the foul. It was all the Knights’ needed to win the game, 63-60.

25 years ago

* The average 1995 academic scores of Graham County students rose 7.3 percent over scores from 1994. When compared with other school systems in the state, only five in North Carolina did better than Graham in grades 3-8 in math. “For the most part, we are seeing improvement and we are pleased with that,” said Assistant School Superintendent Rick Davis. High school students ranked 98th, compared to the other 118 school systems in the state.

* Robbinsville High School wrestlers outscored Franklin, 51-30 for a win, but one of the teams’ state contenders was sidelined by an injury. Trevor Peterson had a shoulder separation. Coach Ritchie Trammell was pleased with the wrestlers and thought they were very focused.

50 years ago

* Jerry Nelms was in serious condition in Swain County Hospital after being severely injured in a car accident. The accident occurred on Hwy. 129, north of Robbinsville, between Moodys’ Station and Deals Gap. The car reportedly went off the right side of the highway, down a 10-foot embankment and slammed into a tree. The driver of the car, Edward Holder, was uninjured. An investigation was ongoing. The vehicle was completely demolished.

* The Black Knights suffered their first defeat of the season, 51-50, in a heartbreaker to the Franklin High School Panthers. The lead changed hands a few times in the first few minutes, but Robbinsville pulled away midway through the first quarter, 15-12, behind the fine offensive play of Lowell Snider and Nicky Jenkins. 

– Diane West