2008-01-02 / Speak Your Piece

Speak Your Piece

Tell us what's on your mind. No need to give your name. Call 633-7508 from 9 am Tuesday to 9 am Friday.

Tell us what's on your mind. No need to give your name.
Call 633-7508 from 9 am Tuesday to 9 am Friday.

E-m@il address
In addition to the telephone and the U.S. Mail, The Mountain Eagle accepts comments to Speak Your Piece by electronic mail. Our address is: mteagle@tgtel.com

I have been trying to locate my mother's family. They all came from Letcher County (Whitesburg). She was a Banks. Walter Banks was her father and Mary Ann Whitaker was her mother. I would love to find some family that is still in Whitesburg. I am doing a family tree on my mother's family. I cannot find someone who really remembers this family or is related to them. Walter Banks's parents were Frazier Banks and Rhoda Back. Please let me know if you can help. Blessings. Connie Lawson.

I would like to say hello to my family and friends in the Whitesburg area. I now reside in Alabama and have not seen my family or friends in many years. I am going to show up and surprise everyone. See you all in the near future. Your Alabama connection, DMG.

Please help save the animals. Join the program. Go to your local animal shelter and adopt an animal. Love your animals.

This goes out to 109#, 111#, 113#, 121#, 124#, 133#, 137#: We may not know we have it till we're well into the race, or feel we're really overwhelmed by challenges we face. But then we look much deeper for the power to succeed, and find we have an inner strength that meets our greatest need. Wishing you all the inner strength to see a brighter day and the wisdom that will guide you every step along the way. And in time, when you look back from new horizons, may you find you've been blessed with greater courage and a deeper peace of mind. Wishing you all the warmest wishing through this holiday season and the new year. Sincerely, 135#

You know, I truly have never understood why people hate to see couples happy. Is it because your life is so miserable? What else? So now, here comes Pill Poppin' Pete to the rescue. Quite hilarious. Did you all stumble to the phone to warn the person that I love that I would be coming her way? I didn't realize I had such a fan club. What is this, the Mickey Mouse Club or something? I know, let's all sing along 'M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E, Donald Duck. Hey there, hi there, hello there. What's that spell? Now, see ya real soon.' Now that wasn't so hard, was it? But hey, do not fear, the Kentucky Ridgerunner is here. Peeka-boo, I see you. Smile, God loves you. Me and my woman gonna settle down on the Tennessee River, where love and peace can still be found. Me, Blue and 'Outlaw Sadie' are here to stay. If you don't like it, then move to another state because this town just ain't big enough. We got enough gossipers running around a it is. Ten million comedians out of work and you want to be one. Yeah, right. Whatever. But I love you people; you are truly hilarious. Golly, Barney, ya reckon the bad guy will bother us? Why, if he comes around here, why I'll shoot his behind off. Well now, buddy, oh, by the way, if anybody needs their grass cut, land cleared off, trash picked up, toilets fixed, need any painting done, please contact the Ridgerunner. My services will be available free of charge upon release from the chain gang. The Ridgerunner.

To the Jeep: Jeep, this is the little car. Forgive me for giving you the impression that we were racing. I did not mean for my acceleration to trap you in the other lane. Humbly, I acknowledge that I may have provoked your behavior. Please forgive me. I tried to follow to your destination but had to turn back. No hard feelings? Residents of Whitco and Cowan, forgive me for disturbing your peace and speeding through your neighborhood. God's mercy reaches to even a fool's folly. Thank you all. The Fool.

I spy with my eye just this week. Late into the night and the next day a woman promised to another man cheating on her fiancé. What kind of morals and values are they displaying to our children and brothers abroad?

You know what I think downtown Whitesburg needs? More trees. There are only the two trees in front of the courthouse, and the ones in front of the bank, but I think it would be great to have some trees down from the Summit City Cafe to the bridge. Maybe we can have them on both sides of the road. It would clean our air, provide more oxygen and make the town look nice. What do y'all think?

'Little darlin', come and walk with me/Up in the mountains high./We'll stop and gaze into a stream/And watch the hawks that fly./ /I'm sorry, Daddy, to tell you this,/But the mountains you loved are gone./Blasted away for their seams of coal/For some rich man to fix up his home.'

There isn't a lot of good timber left in this area. That is easily seen after the leaves fall; most of what can be seen is small - eight to ten inches, or less. Most of the remaining marketable timber is held by people who don't want to sell and that causes the demand to go up - from legal and illegal loggers alike, and that means that those holding the timber had better watch it very carefully.

'We might have strayed on to your land and got a couple of trees, but we'll make it good.' How many landowners have heard that? If you are one that has heard it, you probably have found that the 'might have' should have been 'did,' and that the couple of trees was a very optimistic assessment. You have probably also found that the people taking the trees are a lot more practiced at that than you are at dealing with people who take other people's trees. You have likely been told that you need to make sense of a deed that makes no sense, and that you will need a timber appraisal, and a survey, and that they both will be expensive. Those things are true, and while they may not be pleasant they should be appreciated because you will not hear the truth very often in this experience. Thieves generally don't let themselves be much inconvenienced by the truth. One piece of advice that has been given here before, and is worth remembering, is that the sheriff's office is a good place to start in trying to remedy the loss, because he knows a lot about this, and has a good sense on how to proceed.

To the people of Letcher County: I was born in Letcher County in the 1950's, but had to leave that area as a child because of circumstances beyond my control. Memories of my life in this place will always be one that I love and cherish forever. I have been reading a lot of articles from the Letcher County area on this thing that is called mountaintop mining and it has put a terrible grip on my heart. There was an article published on the Internet called the 'Black Mountain Massacre.' I was appalled at the pictures that were taken there. I understand that people have to make a living for their families, matter of fact my dad was a coal miner by night and a farmer by day, but I never recall the mountains being demolished as they are today. There has been an interest in the eastern Kentucky mountains as to like nowhere else in America, the traditions and experiences of the people from this region have inspired from books, short stories, music and songs to award-winning movies that have been made. I have not been back home for several years now, but after reading all the articles and seeing the photos I begin to wonder will it be the way I have always described the mountains to my family or will it be a place that is just held in my childhood memory. In closing this letter I would like to share with you a piece I had written at my last visit: 'As I make my way back home for a visit to a place I had left many years ago, it seems to me the mountains take on a magical life all their own and I feel a lonesomeness that comes to me in no way I can explain in words, as it still takes my breath away to behold such awesome grander and beauty of such a marvelous place.' If there is any way you can preserve your beautiful mountains, please do so, they are your heritage. Man can destroy but can never replace what God has given you from the beginning of time.

The WYMT news segments on the plight of the Potters was touching and disturbing. I wonder how many like the Potters haven't had their story told? The newspaper report was also good, and the media coverage probably provides the greatest deterrent to thieves, by shining a light on the situation.

To the person who wanted his full name: It's Barack Hussein Obama. Tell him I said hi!

Happy New Year, Doug and Ruthann

Oma Hatton, may the new year be as special as you are.

To all you tree huggers: I'm a strip miner and I work six days a week to keep you alive so wake up and go back to school and make something of yourselves and leave us alone. Here is a list of things we do to let you live a happy life but you are trying to make our life miserable by running your mouths all the time. Trying to stop mining. Go to California get a Sierra Club to stop mining. Every one of you has made money off of mining in some form or fashion. Wake up. The list is: coal taxes to schooling to try and teach you stuff and your kids, power to run your house and pumps to run the water that you flush your commodes to put all the crap back into the streams and water for the power for treatment plants to make clean water again from all your straight pipes and sewers, the lights you see by to read this, the TV to watch and see how pretty you are on TV standing there with your leather coats and gloves on (poor cow) see animal rights what they are wearing, money to blacktop so your Caddies and big cars won't drag when you cross railroad tracks that you ran the trains to haul the coal to the power plants, brings new and better healthcare to the area to treat you and your family, business and restaurants to get your leather coats and eat your steaks with. Whoops sorry, animal rights people, I didn't want you to hear this. You all need to stop using the Lord and a place to worship as a meeting place to go against mankind. Does anybody think I can get in heaven praying to the Lord will you kill all the treehuggers that are trying to put me and my family out of work feeding my kids and their kids and providing all this to them? No. Pray that you all wake up and put a stop to more important things, drugs, drinking and driving, straight pipes from sewers, crime, etc., and most of all lack of love and peace on this earth from people like you all. Look at all sides of it, not just yours. Yes, we take mountains down, put rocks in the valleys, but look, fresh water comes from it flowing over rocks and through them. Let's look at one gallon of water from a rain that just hit. Let's call it life. It goes over our rocks we put there. It travels down past Jon's house in the stream a mile from our job, where he just flushed his commode and his waste leaks out of the ground and mixes with life and goes on down where Uncle Jon just sprayed his drug patch to kill bugs that get with life, waste, and now bugkiller. They go where Johnny just had a wreck. His car is in the stream from being so drunk. So life, waste, bugkiller, and now gas and oil are traveling along the stream. Poor little Tom, tired from working all day at the mines, needs a drink of water. He can't get one because there is more to it than just life, like it started out as. It's with all other things and it turns life into death. Stop blaming strip miners and deep miners; blame yourself for making life not like it started out as we improve and we provide. Stop all the crap and work with us, not against us. I pray for you, not against you like you do us. I use the Lord the right way. Peace, love, happiness, not money, drugs, crime, waste, hatred and no love.

Hope Santa made it to your house. I did not see him, but he sure did leave a mess under the tree. We did have a good Christmas. Jonathan is home for a week and we are enjoying his company. He gave me a scanner, printer and copier. Just hope I can learn to use it before he has to go back to Ohio. Send me a letter sometimes. Love ya, Judy

Roland and Ellen, someone thinks you're very, very special.

School taxes are becoming a real burden on Letcher County, and I don't see any relief if the new school's plans and activities aren't cut back to some realistic level. The county population is going down, and because it's an old population; the school-age population is going down even faster. People can't afford this escalating burden, and there soon won't be enough students to even come close to filling the classrooms. Why aren't the school board and the fiscal court making a study of this obvious problem, and doing something to correct this tax load?

I've stopped talking about timber theft matters to my neighbors because some of the details are so bizarre and outrageous and unjust that people who aren't from eastern Kentucky, or haven't been involved personally, can't grasp that such things could happen in this country. Consider: a couple catch two people cutting logs and doing bulldozer work on their land. When discovered, the people run away, leaving the bulldozer. The couple who lost the timber try to get assistance from the law and are told that the bulldozer owner is blaming them because he left his dozer, and may sue them for his lost bulldozer time. Another example: a man from out of state comes to Knott County because relatives have reported someone cutting his timber. He checks out the report, finds it true, goes to the law, and finds that someone has beaten him to the punch. A warrant has already been issued against him. Now, in addition to looking for his lost timber, he must defend himself. I know that there is lots of timber in Ohio, and I imagine there is in Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, but I don't hear of timber being stolen there, and I certainly don't hear of the strange legal situations.

You know, I have not lived in Letcher County for about seven years. Thank God. I know names cannot be printed but if for some odd reason certain people would die, Letcher County might start thriving. The RN strike was odd. There are some jobs that just should not strike. Law enforcement, any branch, including prisons, military, wow! what would happen there? and ummm oh yeah, healthcare professionals. Holy cow! Do your job! If I was living back up there and my nurses said I should not cross the picket line, I would ask where I am supposed to go for ER treatment for my son? Hello? Is it just me or is that stupid?

I was recently arrested at the Mountain Heritage Festival for public intoxication after drinking two beers. They would not administer a Breathalyzer, even after my request for one. Luckily, money is no object for me and the $150 fine I received was pocket change. However, I know for a lot of folks around Letcher County it is not. My question is, are the Whitesburg police going to sit outside all of these new establishments that can legally sell drinks and arrest everyone who walks out after having a drink because they are walking on public property, let alone driving?

To the caller who was complaining about having to pay a few cents extra in restaurant taxes even though she doesn't drink any of the alcohol being served: Selfish jerks like you are the reason this area can never have anything nice. I get tired of people like you who never want to contribute anything toward making our community a nicer place to live. You should be thanking the officials in Whitesburg for having the good sense to tax the alcohol. This tax already has provided beautiful new Christmas decorations for the city, and will do much more for us on down the road. So you paid an extra dollar and twenty cents on a huge food bill. Do you complain about this same type of tax when you eat out in Lexington, Kingsport, Hazard or Norton? All towns worth a darn charge taxes on food and alcohol. Instead of always complaining about something, you should sit back and enjoy the ride as you watch good things continue to happen in Whitesburg.

The best description I have heard of the mess that is now University of Kentucky basketball is 'uncoached confusion.' Let's all hope that Billy Clyde Gillispie can right this ship. It's hard to be positive, though, when you're losing to teams like Gardner-Webb and the University of San Diego. I have never seen a Kentucky basketball team look this lost. I don't know and don't care who we should be blaming for this mess, but a UK team should never be steamrolled by walk-on freshman who had taken only five shots in his previous ten games. Obviously, this team has a failure to communicate with its coach. Or vice versa.

I was just wondering how many people out there - men and women - have taken money that should have been spent on their kids and bought drugs and beer and liquor with it. I think it's a shame.

Why do parents buy their young boys and young girls big fine cars and other things to make them feel like they are better than other children at school? Most of the time, when these same children get out of school they end up working in a grocery store or a gas station.

I wonder just how long America thinks it can thumb its nose at God and get away with it? I'm asking all you brothers and sisters in the name of Lord Jesus Christ to fast and pray for America. There's a change coming and I'm afraid it's not for the good. So please fast and pray for America.

To the person who made the comment in the December 26 edition about a man needing to leave his trashy new girlfriend for his old girlfriend: Well, maybe the new girlfriend isn't trash. Maybe the man loves his new girlfriend and you need to go on with your life and leave us alone. Do you understand? This is his other woman and he loves me very much. You need to get on with your life, because he does not want you and he does not plan to come back to you. Actually, we are going to be getting married very soon.

Is it proper for a person who works at the Blackey water plant to drive a water company vehicle to his home in Knott County? I don't think government employees should be allowed to drive company vehicles to their homes.

To the drug dealer on Cram Creek: The cops have been watching you. If you sell to my kids your behind will be mine. You know who you are and you know what you are selling. Everybody else does too. So the best thing you can do is get your behind out of the county and get a job.

Benjamin Franklin said, 'For the want of a nail, the shoe was lost; for the want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for the want of a horse the rider was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for the want of care about a horseshoe nail.' I think about three nails when I read this. Something to think about.

(That's a good rhyme you're quoting, but it wasn't written by Benjamin Franklin. While Mr. Franklin did publish a version of it in his 'Poor Richard's Almanac' in 1758, it is believed to have originated in England in 1390. The rhyme was also made into a cool rock song by Todd Rundgren in 1989.)

The people who run the Letcher County Water and Sewer District should explain to the public what happened to the five- million dollars of additional funding for the Camp Branch/ Indian Creek water project. The agreement for the 29 families states, 'If the water lines are not completed within five years, but in all events no later than November 2, 2007, then the money shall be divided into 29 equal parts.' Some families have not water or lines at all.

Over the weekend I was watching TV and saw where they had a big drug raid in Harlan. I was just wondering why Operation UNITE and the Kentucky State Police had a big raid in Harlan when they needed to be right here in Letcher County, especially in the Jeremiah, Isom and Blackey area. It seems that certain people in our courthouse don't want anything done to these drug dealers.

There she goes. Run, run, run as fast as she can toward the gates of hell.

I would like to say something: This is the worst Christmas I have ever had in my life. This is the first Christmas I have ever spent alone. There is someone I love very dearly, and I would love to have her back. Honey, I do still love you. No matter what's going on, I want you to know I love you more than anything in this world. I didn't have you with me on Christmas, and it's just about killed me. I love you.

I think it's a shame that Magistrate Archie Banks is sticking his nose in things that don't concern him, including jumping on county employees and all sorts of things. Archie, go back to Colson where you belong.

(You didn't mention anything specific, but doesn't 'jumping on county employees' sometimes go with the job of being an elected official?)

The Letcher County child molester from Neon is going to be back on the loose again pretty soon. Everybody look out. And all you women better watch out for your men.

To a certain man who is married: Your wife harks on you about the affair you had for three to four years with another woman. Ask her about her affair that's been going on for the last year. I have seen the white car and the red pickup coming out from Carr Fork Lake. Why don't you ask her what she's doing up there by the lake?

I'm sitting here reading the top stories of 2007 in college basketball. What's interesting is that Tubby Smith leaving the University of Kentucky and Billy Gillispie taking his place is the number five story in college basketball for 2007. I don't see anything in here about the University of North Carolina. That's rather shocking. Or what about Ohio State? It might have been handled the wrong way, I grant you, but the bottom line is that in Lexington if you don't win you have to leave. Tubby had plenty of time to win and put it together. I don't know why everybody's starting to get down on UK President Lee Todd and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. They stuck with Tubby Smith for years, but they got tired of hearing all of the alumni and fans going nuts to bring a winner to Lexington.

Just have patience. That's all the Kentucky basketball fans need to do. Billy Gillispie will have great teams in Lexington that will shock the SEC and the world. He will bring great trophies to Lexington once again.

Christmas has come and gone. A lot of us can remember what penny candy was, especially in the general stores in the mountains. I had a chance last week to visit Birt's Store in New Weston, Ohio. He is almost 88 years old. His son, who is 48, runs the store for him. He has 500 varieties of penny candy in this store. It is in the center of the western border of Ohio, about an hour and ten minute drive from Dayton. Can you imagine 500 brands of penny candy in one store? Unreal. A dentist's dream. It was definitely worth the drive going up there. Penny candy doesn't sell for a penny anymore. It is sold by the pound these days.

(We read about Birt's Store in a recent edition of the Dayton Daily News. It must be a busy place if it can, as the story said, sell 1,100 pounds of orange slices in a Christmas season.)

Hello. I was calling to try to get in touch with an old friend. She lived in a trailer on the right going toward Isom and her boyfriend called her Grasshopper. If she sees this I hope she responds in next week's Speak Your Piece.

I am responding to Barney, the caller who said the coal company party at Whitesburg Middle School was unnecessary. Well, it wasn't. That party was fine. Maybe he's just jealous because he didn't get invited. Barney needs to shut his mouth and live his life and stay out of everybody else's business. He had no concern with that party, nor should he be commenting about it. He needs to just shut up.

To the person calling in about a tanning bed appointment: I am a customer of the lady. There is a sign on her door with the phone number and hours she is in. If she isn't there all you have to do is go to Apartment Two over the tanning beds and she will open it up for you. She has gone in for me as late as 10 p.m. Her beds are the best. I have used them and I love them. My sister drives all the way from Pikeville to use these beds.

I see she's done you the same way she's done her exhusband. Get used to it.

What has Mitch Barnhart done to deserve his new fiveyear contract for $475,000 a year? He's directing UK's athletics alright - directing it all right down into the ground. I don't see how our basketball program can stand five more years of Barnhart and his star employee Billy Gillispie.

I wish I could have warned you. I see you got left behind. Did you not have it to give?

I am offering a reward to anyone with information about the break-in at my home up here in Love's Branch. Someone stole a 9-millimeter pistol and fireproof box with coins and stuff in it. Anybody with information is asked to call Doug Lucas at 855-0212. Thank you.

I live in South Carolina, formerly from Whitesburg, and I am looking for a recipe for what my mom called old-fashioned stack cake. I know it was made with thin gingerbread layers, and the filling was made with dried apples cooked with cinnamon, I guess. If anyone has this recipe I would dearly love to have it. Thank you.

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