2011-08-03 / Columns

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years

August 3, 1961

Funeral services were held for Clara Belle Salyer Fields, great-granddaughter of Col. L.H.N. Salyer who was an early settler in Letcher County and a colonel in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Mrs. Fields was the widow of L.W. Fields, a prominent attorney in Whitesburg. She and her husband set up housekeeping in Fieldcliff, the large white frame house which overlooks Whitesburg at the west end of Main Street from a cliff above the Kentucky River. The family left Whitesburg for several years but returned 26 years ago and lived at Fieldcliff until the death of L.W. Fields in 1951.

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The local Agriculture and Soil Conservation Service is offering to share the costs of conservation practices with local farmers.

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Members of Old Regular Baptist congregations in Letcher County are to begin their association meetings this week.

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The Letcher County School Board is taking bids for construction of two toilet rooms at Kingdom Come High School.

August 5, 1971

U.S. Sen. Phillip A. Hart of Michigan, a Democrat, was critical of Beth-Elkhorn Mining and the Surface Mining and Reclamation Association for ads which they sponsored proclaiming that the beautifully forested mountains pictured had been strip-mined when they had not, and ads claiming that a fishing and swimming lake (Fishpond Lake in Letcher County) was created out of a stripped area when the lake was in fact closed to swimming because of drainage of mine acid and other pollutants.

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The lowest bid on a proposed addition to Kingdom Come School is $150,000 above the project budget.

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Letcher County coal miners are seeking better fringe benefits in contract negotiations now underway between the United Mine Workers and coal operators.

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John Lyle Eads has been named head basketball coach at Whitesburg High School, succeeding Darrell Bell.

August 6, 1981

Both Letcher County school systems expect to be hit hard by the latest in a series of cuts in educational spending by the administration of Gov. John Y. Brown Jr. The 11.3 percent cutback in spending will take $312,000 from the budget of the Letcher County school system and will “create very critical operating problems” for the Jenkins school system, officials said.

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Bethlehem Steel Corp. said this week that “there is no foundation at all” to reports circulating that the company plans to sell its coal properties in eastern Kentucky to the giant Exxon oil conglomerate. Exxon officials also say they are not interested in buying the property. Beth-Elkhorn, a subsidiary of Bethlehem Steel Corp., owns 31,757 acres of coal properties in Letcher, Knott, Pike and Floyd counties. It is the second largest land and minerals owner in Letcher County, with 16,821 surface acres and 18,226 mineral acres.

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Columnist Mabel Kiser reminded readers that it was about time to sow fall turnips.

August 7, 1991

Letcher County Schools Superintendent Jack Burkich said the county’s population will no longer support three high schools. He is expected to ask the board of education to request a new survey of school facilities in the county. Burkich said he believes the school system, which now has three high schools, should change to one high school.

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Kentucky Education Commissioner Tom Boysen says he believes students’ homework should be tripled. Letcher County students and teachers aren’t so sure. Boysen said homework for students from seventh grade on should triple.

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The head of the United Mine Workers of America union says coal operators have continued to tamper with airquality samples despite a federal crackdown.

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Kentucky is among the top 10 states in cancer deaths.

August 8, 2001

Elk Creek, Gordon and Gilley were the hardest-hit areas of Letcher County Saturday morning, when officials say three to four inches of rain fell in an hour’s time, inundating homes and washing out roads and bridges.

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The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has cited a Letcher County coal company for a fish kill in Smoot Creek. Conservation Officer Frank Campbell said Nally and Hamilton Coal Co., working on a silt pond at a Premium strip mine August 2, released a deluge that entered Smoot Creek and killed fish, hellgrammites and crawdads.

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Highland Winery expects to sell the first legal glass of wine in Letcher County in more than 50 years on Oct. 1. That’s 60 days after the election last Tuesday that made it legal for the winery to sell its own products at the Old Company Store in Seco. Voters in the Seco precinct approved the measure by a vote of 121 to 64.

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