About 100 Utah-history buffs traveled to the Heber City area Wednesday to celebrate Utah's annual Statehood Day and to help Heber City officials launch that city's centennial observance.

Jessie L. Embry, oral history program director for the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, delivered the keynote address at the Statehood Day program held at Wasatch High School.Embry focused on the role community newspapers played in shaping and helping to develop rural western towns toward the end of the 1800s and during the early 1900s. She said Heber's weekly "Wasatch Wave," which is also beginning its centennial year of publication,played a key role in the city's development and in the growth of Wasatch County.

Embry said local weekly papers are a mirror of a community's soul, reflecting the area culture, social values and desires. She said the "Wasatch Wave" filled this role by calling for creation of the city's culinary water system, supporting a fund-raising effort to get a railroad spur into the area, urging beautification efforts and supporting a multitude of developments and improvements by citizens.

Embry said today's "Wasatch Wave" supports the concept called for in one of its early editorials - to make Heber City one of the "best little cities in America."

Lt. Gov. W. Val Oveson spoke of the need to protect Utah's historic heritage. He said knowing and understanding the past is a key to preparing effectively for the future.

At the Statehood Day banquet, Heber City officials talked about the city's history and future and launched the city's centennial observance.