Whitesburg KY

The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years



April 9, 1959

Explosions, apparently deliberately set, damaged equipment at two non-union coal company ramps in Letcher County this week. The latest incident occurred about 3:15 a.m. today at the Isom Coal Company Inc. ramp at Isom. A shaker screen, valued at $12,000 to $15,000, was blown in two. Owner Herman Combs Jr. has operated his ramp every day since the United Mine Workers of America strike began. He has never had a union contract.

A $195,000 school revenue bond issue to finance construction of the Fleming-Neon High School was sold here this week for 4.89 percent interest.

On April 21, there will be a banquet at the City Cafe to commemorate the setting of the first 1,000,000 trees in Letcher County. The banquet will be sponsored by the civic clubs of the county in cooperation with the Letcher County Reforestation Committee.

Four Letcher County basketball players won places on the All-Eastern Kentucky Mountain Conference Team. The four are Charles Hall, Whitesburg; Clarence Baker, Fleming; and Nicky Dann and Ross Chaney, Jenkins.

April 10, 1969

Work will begin next week on improvement of Whitesburg’s 16-acre industrial site near the west city limits. When the work is completed, the site will be about four feet above flood level and will be ready for installation of paved roads and whatever buildings and other auxiliary services a potential industry may want.

The family of Gary Pace was informed this week that he has been killed in Vietnam. Services were held here Tuesday for Pfc. Everett Tipton Culp, killed March 27 on duty in Vietnam.

Pork loin roast is 39 cents a pound at the Whitesburg A&P. Bananas are 12 cents a pound.

April 12, 1979

Beth-Elkhorn Coal’s Mine No. 22 will probably be in operation again by next month. About 45 workers should be back on the job there by the end of April.

The last day of school for students at Letcher Elementary and Letcher High Schools has been scheduled for June 1 by the Letcher County Board of Education. For all other schools in the county system, May 31 is designated as the last day for classes. The originally planned closing date was May 14, but bad weather made it necessary to close schools.

A sizable area of land encircling Whitesburg is included in a proposed annexation description approved by the city council Monday night. A major reason for the annexation, Mayor Ferdinand Moore explained, is to take in the proposed bypass highway which will connect KY 15 at the east city limits to US 119.

April 12, 1989

New coal-industry employment practices and changes in ownership are causing concern for hundreds of Letcher County miners. Employees at Golden Oak Mining Company of Whitesburg were busy this week undergoing company required physical examinations and drug screenings, while miners are Blue Diamond Mining Company’s Scotia Mine at Oven Fork were still adjusting to a new four-day, 40-hour work week. South East Coal Company is also experimenting with the “four days on, four days off” work week at some of its mines.

A landslide that narrowly missed a Jeremiah home may be “just the tip of the iceberg,” a state mining official said. Jim Mullins, chief inspector for the state Department of Surface Mining in Letcher County, said there are so many forgotten deep mines in eastern Kentucky that more and more slides can be expected as the mines collapse.

The Jenkins City Council will look at the possibility of building housing for the elderly. Mayor Robert Shubert brought up the idea Monday night at the regular city council meeting, saying the city’s population is rapidly aging and many older residents have no place to go.

April 14, 1999

A combination of bad luck and bad financial decisions may force the Letcher Fiscal Court to lay off county workers for the first time in five years.

Whitesburg Little Leaguers may soon be playing baseball on some of the most expensive land in the county. By the time the purchase of the property is finished, however, there may be little or no money left to develop even one good field on the property where three “first-class” diamonds are being promised.

Jenkins scaled back its senior citizens center by more than $79,000 after bids came in over budge in February. Consultation Dennis Elrod told the city council Monday night that the project has about a $20,000 cushion now that the cuts have been made. The low bid had been $59,000 over budget.

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