Whitesburg KY
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Clips from The Mountain Eagle’s front pages for the past 70 years




 

 

Jan. 14, 1943

Letcher County is the home of the youngest sergeant now serving in the U.S. Army Air Force. He is Sgt. Hagar Blair, 17, nephew of Dr. and Mrs. Boaz Adkins of Whitesburg. Blair joined the Air Force at age 15 after running away from the Pine Mountain Settlement School in May 1941. Now stationed at Lowry Field in Denver, Blair is one of five brothers serving our country during World War II. Don Blair is stationed in North Africa; Francis Blair is based in Trinidad; Bill Blair is training at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, and Dan Blair is located at Fort Ord in Monterey Bay in California. Hagar Blair said his ambition is “to go over Tokyo” as a gunner on a Flying Fortress.

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B.F. Wright, judge of the Letcher Quarterly Court, announced that a representative of the U.S. Employment Offi ce will set up in the Letcher Fiscal Courtroom on January 15 to take applications for work at the DuPont Company’s neoprene plant in Louisville. Wright says DuPont is looking for 500 laborers to help manufacture synthetic rubber at the plant, and will pay them 67.5 cents per hour for 40 hours a week. The average working week at the plant is 56 hours, and workers will be paid time-and-a-half for all hours over 40. Workers must join the American Federation of Labor Union.

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Officials with the Sixth U.S. Civil Service Region in Cincinnati have announced the need for general mechanic helpers and apprentices for the Army Air Corps in Dayton, Ohio. Men and women who agree to relocate to Dayton to work as helpers to sheet metal workers, propeller mechanics and engine mechanics will be paid $1,320 a year. Experienced workers can begin at a salary of $1,500 a year.

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Brother soldiers Carl and Frank Vertuca, sons of Jim Vertuca of Fleming, were pleasantly surprised when they met each other unexpectedly when the Navy vessels they were on were among a “great convoy of ships landing somewhere in Africa.”

Jan. 15, 1953

The Committee For Community Betterment has been organized in an attempt to stop the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company’s attempt to discontinue passenger train service between Hazard and Fleming. The Committee is urging citizens to be present in Whitesburg on January 28, 1953, when the Kentucky Railroad Commission will be present to hear the L&N’s request to remove the only passenger train left running into eastern Kentucky. In a separate editorial, Mountain Eagle editor W.P. Nolan said the passenger train would still be doing well if it had paid attention to cleanliness and modernized its cars. “While taking out a fortune from our coal in freight bills, the railroad company has allowed its passenger service to remain the same, showing no improvement over a 20-year period that we can see,” the editorial says .

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Whitesburg’s new 1,000-watt radio station WTCW-AM plans to go on the air the first week in February. The 276- foot radio tower has been completed on the Raymond Webb property at Mayking and construction is underway on a studio building. The station will have a staff of eight. The call letters stand for W-Trivette, Crosthwait and Webb.

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Ray Collins, a former school teacher and part-owner of the R.C. Cola Bottling Company at Ermine, has been named chairman of the Letcher County Board of Education for the next four-year term. Collins is married and has four children, all girls, and is a minister and pastor of the Thornton Regular Baptist Church at Mayking.

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The Sam Collins Land Auction Company announces that the Marcum Hotel in Whitesburg has been sold privately to Woodrow Dawahare. The purchase of the East Main Street building stops a complete auction scheduled for January 18.

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Twenty-eight Letcher County youths will report for preinducton exams on January 20, Draft Board 58 of Whitesburg announced. This is the fourth call to be issued by the board for the month of January.

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Charlie Wright of Whitesburg announced he would be a candidate for a second term as Letcher County Court Clerk.

Jan. 17, 1963

A meeting will be held in the office of Letcher County Extension Agent James Kendrick on Monday, January 21, to consider a proposal to bring back the old Letcher County Fair, which has not been held since 1951.

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Letcher County Judge James M. Caudill and J.S. Holbrook, Millstone merchant, will be in Washington, D.C., on Friday to meet with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials in an effort to get Letcher County included in the department’s food stamp program. Caudill said Congressman Carl D. Perkins had made the appointment in Washington for the two men. Caudill will represent the county government, and Holbrook will represent a group of Letcher County merchants, who have contributed money to send him. The food stamp plan would replace the present commodity distribution program.

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Coal production in the Hazard Field, of which Letcher County is a part, amounted to 124,620 tons during the week ended January 12, 1963, bringing the total for the year to date to 236,730 tons — a decrease of 7.95 percent under the 257,180 tons at the same date last year.

Jan. 18, 1973

The Whitesburg City Council voted to begin legal action in an effort to stop Adams Construction Co. from opening a rock quarry at Pert Creek. Council members say they fear a quarry would endanger the small Kentucky River reservoir that provides Whitesburg’s water.

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The policy of closed meetings of the Appalachian Regional Commission in Washington was challenged again this week, but the issue is unresolved. Two reporters, one from The Mountain Eagle and one from the Louisville Courier-Journal, were asked to leave a “states” session of the commission by John Whisman, the states’ regional representative. The Eagle commented that it is long past time for the ARC to move closer to the people of the mountains, to listen to them and to let them take part in the making of decisions affected their lives.

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Sheriff Lewis Hall received praise from Neon area ministers for halting the showing of X-rated films at the Cavalier Drive-In Theater at Jenkins.

Jan. 20, 1983

The Lady Yellowjackets basketball team of Whitesburg High School won the University of Kentucky Lady Kat Invitational Tournament. The team beat Lexington Bryan Station in the first round, went into overtime with Lexington Henry Clay, and then beat Casey County in the championship game.

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Unemployment in the nation’s coalfields has spread until an estimated 35 percent of the United Mine Workers membership is unemployed.

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Letcher County officials are planning to redistrict and franchise garbage districts in the county as the first step toward curing the county’s garbage problems. One magistrate commented that Letcher County has become one of the two dirtiest counties in the state.

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President Ronald Reagan signed federal legislation into law which means many jobless Kentuckians will be eligible for another four weeks of unemployment insurance benefi ts. An estimated 40,000 Kentucky residents will benefit as a result of the bill

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Kidnapping is suspected in the disappearance of Kathy Osborne Niece, 23, of Isom. She has been missing since she left her two young children with a friend and went to run errands.

Jan. 20, 1993

Whitco and Cowan residents should be drinking city water within a year, according to Whitesburg city officials.

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South East Coal Co. resumed work after officials resolved workers’ compensation problems and the state pledged financial aid for a new company which plans to buy the beleaguered operation.

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Work is to begin in May to construct an industrial site and recreation area in Whitesburg on an abandoned mine site at the west end of town.

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The Jenkins Independent school system will not be able to drop its utility tax in order the let the City of Jenkins impose a utility tax of its own, said Superintendent of Schools Parker Tiller.

Jan. 22, 2003

The Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department arrested one man on charges of trafficking drugs within 1,000 yards of a school after a raid at the Housing Authority of Whitesburg.

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Thieves broke a window out of the Chevron Food Mart at Neon Monday morning and stole a Kentucky Lottery machine. Letcher County Sheriff Danny Webb said the theft occurred sometime between midnight, when the store closed, and 5 a.m. Monday.

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The Burdine Freewill Baptist Church will celebrate its 75th anniversary on January 25.

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“I thought the weathermen on TV were just overreacting again when they said we were going to get four to eight inches of snow, but this time they knew what they were talking about,” commented Jeremiah correspondent Delana Banks. “Once it set in to snowing it didn’t let up until we had about six inches of snow.”


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