This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was happening in eastern Wake County.
In 2005, gas prices soared well above $3 per gallon. In 1990, East Wake junior varsity football played half a game due to cause of nature and in 1965, two thieves had their due punishment come to them.
You think gas is pricey now, but think back a decade – prices were almost $1 per gallon more!
Standing at a pump in Zebulon on Labor Day, James Monday wondered aloud about selling his SUV – his anxiety fueled by eye-popping gas prices.
“So far, I’ve put in 65 bucks, and it’s not even full yet,” the Spring Hope resident said as his young son watched. At $3.29 a gallon, filling up was a costly proposition. “These prices are just killing me. My wife had to take on extra shifts at work just to help pay the bills.”
An independent handyman, Monday said business has been slow, too. “Nobody wants to spend money on home repairs when they’re paying triple in gas,” he said.
Since Hurricane Katrina sent a wave of high gas prices across the country, eastern Wake town leaders and residents have struggled to keep up with rising costs. While analysts say the prices may have topped off, there’s much uncertainty still lingering about possible shortages.
For the town of Knightdale, many services are dependent on gasoline.
“We have a police department that runs on gasoline,” Town Manager Gary McConkey said. With a town split by a major thoroughfare, walking a beat is not an option for officers. So McConkey said employees are making the best of a bad situation.
“We’re telling our officers to try to conserve gas as much as possible,” he said. “We only budgeted about $40,000 for the year in gas -- and that’s counting on a $2.75 estimate for gas prices. The cost is going to be significantly higher this year.”
This year, Wendell budgeted more money for gas than a year ago, but the town did not expect prices to climb as much as they have, Town Manager Tim Burgess said. “We expected an increase, but not as steep as this,” he said, adding that he does not think Wendell was alone. “Who would have thought that gas would cost more than $3 a gallon by now?”
Officers are being asked to turn off their engines when stopped and to turn off air conditioning when the weather permits. “But it’s been too hot to drive without A/C,” McConkey said.
Twenty-five years ago, the lights went out on East Wake’s junior varsity football team.
It was the night the lights went out in Wendell. The eclipsing of last Thursday night’s football game between the East Wake High School junior varsity and visiting Enloe due to system malfunctions blacked out the contest at halftime.
At that point, the Warriors had the one bright spot – a smothering of he Eagle quarterback for a safety and a 2-0 advantage.
Lightning from an Aug. 29 thunderstorm zapped the overhead lights. The Warrior defense struck the Enloe offense, allowing them only one-half yard into East Wake territory.
Fumbles, meanwhile, shocked the Warrior offense, which penetrated within the Enloe 20-yard line on two different occasions without earning any points.
The game will be conlcuded at an unannounced date, though it will probably be a Monday evening late in the season.
Fifty years ago, headlines read: “Thieves Make Off with Car, Run Out of Gas.” But the actual story was even better than the headline.
Police recovered a 1961 Buick convertible several hours after it was stolen Monday night from J.M. Chevrolet Company.
Police Chief Willie B. Hopkins said the car was taken from the used car lot of the auto company here. He said some boys walking up the street saw two men drive the car from the lot and went barrelling up Highway 96 north of Zebulon.
After the police department had been notified by the boys, police gave chase and found the car abandoned several miles north of the city near Mack Perry’s store.
Hopkins said the car had exhausted its gas supply, causing it to be left beside the highway.
Bloodhounds were brought to the scene and the thieves were trailed as far as Wake Forest where the trail was lost.
Hopkins said the local police department feels the thieves were two escapees from a Raleigh road gang. He said there were reports from Raleigh of two escapees, and he felt it could have been them.