Whitesburg KY
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The way we were

Clips from Mountain Eagle front pages over the past 50 years


 

 

April 21, 1960

Letcher County is in for a surprise at the drastic extent of its loss of population in a decade, if preliminary checks and informed estimates are borne out in the official figures compiled for the recent national 1960 census. The population of the county in the 1950 census was 39,522. Consensus of the estimates of loss of population in the 1960 census was at least 10,000 persons.

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A familiar note appeared at the bottom of the grand jury report Monday to Judge Courtney C. Wells in Circuit Court: “Condemn building and build new jail. It is in dangerous condition.”

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Miss Jean Hensley of Blackey was chosen to reign as “Miss Letcher County” of 1960.

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Gov. Bert Combs will be escorted on a tour of Pine Mountain, which is being urged as a state park, when he arrives in Whitesburg on April 29 for the dinner being given in his honor by the Whitesburg Chamber of Commerce.

April 23, 1970

Kentucky State Highway Commissioner Eugene Goss announced he has authorized a preliminary study to determine the feasibility of a Pine Mountain tunnel in the Whitesburg area. Goss said the study will extend along US 119 from near the Harlan-Letcher line some 11 miles to the intersection of the proposed Whitesburg bypass.

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Atty. Harry M. Caudill addressed an audience of Whitesburg students yesterday at the ball park as part of the town’s participation in “Earth Day”, the nationwide day of environmental activities.

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Chuck roast was on sale for 58 cents a pound at the A&P food store. Hamburger was 59 cents a pound.

April 24, 1980

A state official says Letcher County will have a debt of $400,000 when the new fiscal year starts on July 1. Al Howell of the state Department for Local Government has been supervising the county’s finances for the past several months since the county has been near bankruptcy.

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The federal Office of Surface Mining says it is considering an application from a Pike County coal operator that will allow his firm to leave a terraced highwall in conjunction with a plan to build a mobile home park. The plan has been submitted by Diamond Coal Co. under an “experimental practices” section of the 1977 federal stripmining legislation.

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Gas prices have risen three cents a gallon at full-service stations and four cents a gallon at self-service stations. The average price of gasoline is $1.23 a gallon at full-service stations and $1.16 at self-service stations.

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A group of 10 women interested in employment as coal miners toured a South East Coal Co. underground mine at Bellcraft.

April 25, 1990

A state Department of Education evaluator has prescribed sweeping changes for some parts of the Letcher County school system while giving high praise to other parts. Dr. Ed Wright hammer the board for politics, poor bidding practices, high attorneys’ fees, low local contributions to the budget, widespread use of school fundraising activities and too many unneeded non-teaching employees. However, Wright also praised the system for its school/community relations, its efforts to improve teacher qualifications, its dropout prevention program, and its financial management.

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Fire departments in Letcher County are asking the county to pass a fire district tax to support them.

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The Letcher County Fiscal Court has voted to make the Golden Years Rest Home a county institution so its employees can participate in the state retirement plan.

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A second convenience store has been robbed in two weeks in Letcher County. Police say a man entered Pine Mountain Market Kwik Mart in Whitesburg about 3:15 a.m. Monday and demanded money. He apparently got away with about $160, police said.

April 26, 2000

The state Office of Coal County Development has denied a request by Letcher County to dip into its coal severance tax money to pay for an industrial site at Isom. The request was denied because of an “extremely high cost per usable acre” and “environmental concerns of undetermined magnitude”.

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A list published this week by the Letcher County Fiscal Court shows that 1,091 individuals and 10 businesses own the county a total of $469,363.19 in past-due garbage bills.

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A memorial wall will be placed on the outside of the Neon City Hall/Water Company to honor residents of the city who have died. Each listing will include the person’s name, birth year, and death year. The cost will be $5 for each name. Proceeds will go to the Neon Days Committee.

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Emergency workers in Letcher County will conduct a drill Sunday to test whether they’re really prepared for the worst. The drill is being planned by the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

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