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'Barbara Hootman Day' declared on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016

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More than two decades of news reporting were recognized Dec. 5 when Black Mountain mayor Michael Sobol proclaimed the day Barbara Hootman Day.

The proclamation recognized Hootman’s contributions to the community in her time as a writer for The Black Mountain News. Hootman’s position was eliminated on Oct. 25 by Gannett, the company that owns 70-year-old newspaper.

“Barbara attracted legions of fans with her weekly ‘Whisper of Wings’ column,” Sobol read from the proclamation at the aldermen's regular meeting Dec. 5.

Hootman was not available to receive the proclamation. Accepting it on her behalf was Black Mountain News news editor Paul Clark, who relayed Hootman’s sentiments regarding the proclamation.

“She wanted me to let everyone know how much of a privilege it has been for her to cover the Valley,” he said. “On her behalf, thank you very much.”

Sobol told Clark that Hootman’s presence at the newspaper would be missed.

Aldermen Carlos Showers referred to Hootman as a “local legend” when he recommended the town find a way to honor her service to the community.

Hootman was one of the “jewels that makes Black Mountain special,” Showers said.

“I felt that Barbara had a great feel for the pulse of the community,” he said. “She was able to be informative and use humor when needed.”

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