Twenty Years Ago

Published 8:45 pm Monday, November 16, 2009

It was 20 years ago yesterday that we walked out of the late Bill McFarland Sr.s office with a diminished bank account and a hefty debt, the happy new owners of the worlds smallest daily. That was day one. Day two brought home all the responsibilities of maintaining what was then a 62-year-old, one-family institution. It took some learning time.

To those of you who have always helped by contributing news, advertisements, suggestions and a well-placed, kind word here and there, we offer our sincere thanks. Your encouragement and assistance are never forgotten.

Seth Vining Sr. on the occasion of his 25th anniversary, told readers the Bulletin existed to chronicle our mutual struggles for growth and happiness. The past 7,300 days, while not at all like those of the 1930s and 1940s, yet surely saw their own struggles and happinesses. In lonely moments, we all long for staunch friends no longer with us and are doubly thankful for all those kind souls here now, struggling still.

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Worry and excitement mingled as the pulse of the area quickened in the 1990s. About 4,000 new residents arrived, largely in the 35-55 age cohort. Trees which had grown up in the roadbed of N.C. 74 were removed and Columbus became host to a three-way interchange. BMW built a plant nearby. Residential development heated up and simmers still.

To keep up, the Bulletin staff grew from seven to 20, now mostly all tenured of ten years or more. The abandoned basement of the historic Bulletin building became home to a new web press and the empty upstairs spaces became offices. In the new century, TDB editors added web publishing to their duties, all while trying to cover the steadily growing work of 14 government bodies and 75 clubs and organizations.

Through it all, this newspaper has remained truly one of a kind, with oddities wrought by 1920s printing equipment still in its veins. No newspaper we know is so indebted to the efforts of so many civic leaders. In that, our pages simply reflect every day a people that treasure their place. JB